Tag Archives: evidence-based policy

Progressing with evidence-based politics

The Liberal Democrats are the party of evidence-based politics. We form our policies not based on blindly-followed ideology, but by proposing workable solutions to society’s problems. In my view this is what makes our party great. With this in mind, I broadly welcome our approach to the public versus private sector debate, which I’ll address in the latter part of this post.

However, Conference’s vote to approve fracking in Scotland is concerning in comparison to the party’s renewed opposition in England. I welcome this opposition for two pragmatic reasons.  Firstly, there are serious short-terms risks to fracking, such as water pollution. This is a serious risk, because the private companies which frack love to cut corners, as has been seen in the US. Until such time as there is fracking regulation with real teeth, supporting fracking is a massive.  Simon Oliver recently wrote an excellent explanation of findings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh report here on Lib Dem Voice.  Basically, fracking could be done well in the UK, but won’t be due to the weakening of regulations. Selective citation of the report in the Scottish debate seemed to use the evidence to justify a response, not having a response based on the available evidence. That isn’t how our party debates should work.

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments

Is evidence-based policy losing out to populism?

Populism always sounds good, but in the long-run it usually hurts those it is supposed to help.

In the UK, interest rates used regularly to be cut to stimulate an artificial boom before an election. This was good for the ruling political party, but the country paid a heavy price later. In the nineties, the Liberal Democrats championed the idea of making the Bank of England independent, and, in 1997, Labour implemented the policy.

As a result, inflation has been controlled, and business and international investors have more confidence in the UK. It’s no panacea. It didn’t stop serious mistakes being made over bank regulation. But, I think, it’s proved a real success.

In 1997, the Labour party proposed a National Minimum Wage. Many were deeply concerned that, by not allowing the existence of low paid jobs, this policy would price some low skilled workers out of the job market.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 58 Comments

Mandatory work: if we believe in evidence-based policy it’s probably best to pay attention to the evidence

Four months ago, when the political row over ‘workfare’ was at its peak, I wrote here on LibDemVoice that liberals needed to progress the debate beyond ‘the simple and simplistic ‘left/right’ attitudes currently on display, and start grappling with how best we can empower the individual to make the best of their own lives — including, and especially, those who appear to have settled for a life on benefits, and reject all other offers of help.’

Avoiding dogma, embracing evidence

Key to this, I suggested, would be avoiding the dogmatic approaches of the Tories — who appear to believe that every …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 16 Comments

The unintended costs and consequences of legal aid cuts

Inevitably when policy-makers design cuts packages they look at the short-term – savings achievable in particular department budgets within the spending review period. More holistic assessments, looking at where other public services ‘pick up the tab’ for another budget’s austerity measures, and the ‘displaced demand’ or ‘knock on costs’ that arise, are left for another day. This has been brought home with the Government’s legal aid reforms now before Parliament; an Independent report from a Kings College economist suggests the contribution of these cuts towards “deficit reduction” will be negligible, owing to the public costs of unresolved legal …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Alcohol minimum pricing should be this government’s first bold evidence-based drug policy

One of the most common arguments I read against the government control and regulation of the currently illegal drug markets is that we have so many problems with alcohol. Were cannabis for instance to be “legalised”, authors presume its use will increase and create new social problems to rival those that alcohol inflicts.The simple counter-argument employed by myself and other drug policy reformers is that alcohol is a very poorly regulated drug. Were any of the other currently illegal drugs to become regulated by the state, the alcohol model is one model it would be extremely unwise to replicate. Alcohol …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 61 Comments

Conference gets its wish – drug policy review announced

Liberal Democrats are always looking for distinctive ways to show that the party is making a difference in government – things we can proudly point to and say “look, we made this happen.” This week’s announcement that the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee is to launch a new inquiry into drugs policy is one that activists, MPs and Peers alike can rightly point to as an example of the positive influence Lib Dems have on public policy.

There is now widespread recognition that the UK’s drugs laws are ineffective and expensive, with MPs of all parties signing …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarjayne Mansfield 25th Aug - 12:58pm
    The latest YouGov poll in today's Sunday Times appears to confirm that the Boris Bounce continues. When are those who claim to be opposed to...
  • User AvatarNigel Quinton 25th Aug - 12:52pm
    It is hard to argue with those that quite correctly point out how far behind the rest of the world our infrastructure is, and there...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 25th Aug - 12:49pm
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenga
  • User AvatarDavid Harris 25th Aug - 11:47am
    @Nartin I assure you, that as a retired Maths teacher of over 40yrs I do understand statistical error. I suppose really I was trying to...
  • User AvatarCharles Pragnell 25th Aug - 10:27am
    The issue of opinion polls is two fold! The margin of era is 3% either way. So in a G Election our poll rating could...
  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 25th Aug - 9:56am
    Anyone drawing big conclusions from current polls - or worse still extrapolating those into seats - is setting themselves up for a huge fall. Things...
Thu 29th Aug 2019
Mon 9th Sep 2019