Author Archives: Duncan Stott

Opinion: we must force the Tories to follow the evidence on khat

I feel sorry for the Academic Council on the Misuse of Drugs. It’s this panel of drug experts’ task to try and inject some sense into our country’s failing drug policy. Sadly, in the latter years of New Labour’s reign, it became the default option to ignore their advice on drug classification. On magic mushrooms, then on cannabis and then again on ecstasy, Labour couldn’t resist ignoring the ACMD, opting instead for populist posturing in an attempt to appear ‘tough’.

The Labour government’s unscientific urges on drug classification were deeply frustrating to Liberal Democrats, and this led us to a 2010 …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 30 Comments

Opinion: Monetary policy is political, so where’s the democracy?

We are in extraordinary economic times, which have led to extraordinary measures from the Bank of England in its attempt to help steer us out of the storm. The Bank appears to be terrified at the prospect of deflation and the depressive effect it could have. Not only have base interest rates been pinned to a historical low of 0.5% for well over three years, the Bank has also used Quantitative Easing to pump £325 billion of newly created money into the economy.

We now know more about the effect that QE is having and it should send shivers down the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 25 Comments

Opinion: We can’t let councils discriminate against house-sharers

With the option of becoming a first-time buyer becoming ever more elusive for young adults, increasing numbers are turning to the Private Rented Sector (PRS) for their housing. Nationally there will soon be more tenants living in the PRS than in social housing. In areas with high housing costs and in university cities with a young population, the PRS has become a major part of the housing mix.

This shift in occupancy type has led to rather rapid changes to some communities, which has …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Digital Economy Act – The fight isn’t over

It’s difficult to quantify the mess the Labour government left us in. Sure, the £158,000,000,000 annual deficit they left behind was one big quantity. But there were also the thousands of children being held in detention, our civil liberties in tatters, university finances out of control, record low levels of house building… the list seems endless.

But seemingly this wasn’t enough for Labour. In their dying breath they created yet another mess for the next government to sort. The Digital Economy Bill was forced through Parliament in its last week before recessing for the General Election campaign.

Grassroots Lib Dems made their …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Private sector tenants are disenfranchised

There has been a lively debate on Lib Dem Voice this week on housing policy. Well-argued articles from Alex Marsh, Mike Tuffrey and Stephen Gilbert have ignited equally interesting debates in the comments. All sorts of intriguing policy ideas have been proposed to address the growing crisis in housing supply.

However, a great idea is just the starting point on the long journey to create a successful policy. For a mainstream party with ambitions to form the next government, it is crucial that ideas enjoy popular support with voters. Housing development invokes strong feelings amongst the electorate, both …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 13 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 5th Jul - 2:24pm
    My issue with long term objectives is that circumstances change both external in events and internal in poll ratings etc. As long as the objectives...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 5th Jul - 1:55pm
    Peter Martin: I'm not talking about any sort of pact, much less unilateral ones. In any case, I understand that the Labour party constitution doesn't...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 5th Jul - 1:46pm
    This is good work by the Libdem MPS. Spain has already introduced a minimum income guarantee covering around 2.3m low-income people in 850,000 households. The...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 5th Jul - 1:32pm
    We need a sea change in our attitude to property. We should be less attached to our physical surroundings so we are more likely to...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 5th Jul - 1:28pm
    When facts especially about the future are scarce, politicians tend to rely on their political instincts. With the Conservatives this will be protecting their voters....
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 5th Jul - 1:05pm
    @ Alex Macfie, "....an informal agreement between Lib Dems and Labour to keep out of each other’s Tory-facing battlegrounds" I can see how it would...