Hi reddit,

Three months ago I did an AMA with you guys and I had an absolute blast.

The range of questions you fired at me and how engaged you all are with politics was wonderful - thank you!

So myself and my team (all volunteers, by the way) decided I should come back and answer some more of your questions.

This is not only an opportunity for you to question a Parliamentary candidate, but also a chance for me to listen to you and find out your views.

For those who missed the AMA last time, my name is Duncan Enright and I am standing for the Labour party in David Cameron's constituency of Witney, Oxfordshire.

If you want to read more about me and the campaign - or donate to the campaign - you can do so by visiting our website: http://www.duncanenright.com

AMA, reddit!

Proof: https://twitter.com/duncanenright/status/556831383382147072

Edit: thanks everyone for the questions. It has been busy and testing, but fascinating too. I've learnt a lot and will try to do another before the election. I've run out of time, but why not follow me on Twitter @duncanenright for more?

Edit: logged back in to see if I can answer a few more.

Edit: more questions answered. 18/1/15 11pm

Edit: answered some more this morning. 22/1/15 1pm

Comments: 1808 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

nok00001007 karma

The last time you did an AMA you were asked about internet censorship and you honestly admitted you did not know much about the issue but would research it more.

Do you have any plans now to reform internet censorship laws?

DuncanEnright1406 karma

Thanks for remembering. I was given links to a variety of sources last time, and have followed up and read them all. This is also timely given David Cameron's comments about limiting encryption. I'm with Obama on this: we need a healthy regard for civil liberties when we discuss the internet.

There are various elements to this debate. I am right behind net neutrality as a foundation stone for the web. I am convinced that if communications are banned or deleted or regulated or controlled, then it will mererly drive illicit comms further underground.

It seems to me that decisions about accessing content should lie within a family and be taken by individuals rather than by governments. I am not happy with a situation where the UK is listed as an "Enemy of the Internet" by Reporters without Borders. We need to value freedom of the internet as we do freedom of the press.

CreepyOctopus814 karma

I'm with Obama on this: we need a healthy regard for civil liberties when we discuss the internet.

I hope you realize that President Obama is largely paying lip service to civil liberties with regards to the Internet. Even aside from the fact that NSA is by far the leading agency when it comes to online spying, consider what Obama said yesterday:

If we find evidence of a terrorist plot… and despite having a phone number, despite having a social media address or email address, we can’t penetrate that, that’s a problem

He has very clearly supported the notion that all encryption should be breakable by the government, even if he is not going as far as to support Cameron's complete opposition to encryption.

DuncanEnright625 karma

Good point. I should say I don't agree with Obama on everything!

Our government leaders are all shocked and reacting to the events in Syria, Iraq and France I think. Clearly there is a big push to combat extremism and take measures to shore up security. I am not convinced the measures being discussed will work. I hear the NSA guy who said "the last thing you need, when looking for a needle in a haystack, is more hay".

fuckswithducks462 karma

DuncanEnright1120 karma

It isn't the place of government to rule on what is acceptable. I thought we left that behind after John Mortimer and allies fought the "Lady Chatterley's Lover" case back in the 1960s.

DuncanEnright1268 karma

Isn't it creepy to think of a civil servant ploughing through porn to decide what's acceptable? Urrrr!

jdscarface526 karma

ploughing through porn


On another note, "Urrrr!" sounds a bit violent. I think we might have to ban "Urrrr!" from pornography so nobody confuses it with violent sex or rape. Censorship is the only reasonable response.

DuncanEnright521 karma

I meant to say Yeuch!

[deleted]-5 karma


DuncanEnright10 karma

I'm going to do my best to answer as many as possible, regardless of subject

naraic42425 karma

What's your stance on the European Union? Should we stay in, get out, or shake it all about?

Also, what is your stance on hate speech laws, and twitter users being arrested for being offensive?

DuncanEnright801 karma

Shake it all about! The EU has been in place during the longest period of peace in Europe's history and I don't think that is a coincidence. In a global economy with big players like USA, China and India, we need UK in the EU to strengthen the voice and bargaining power of both. EU is a bulwark for liberal democracy. But it needs to devolve decisions to nations and below where appropriate, and be more accountable and democratic.

nok0000271 karma

What is your stance on nuclear power production and how it relates to greenhouse gas emissions?

DuncanEnright802 karma

My degree is in physics. I know therefore that nuclear power can provide part of the short-term solution, though fusion holds out greater long-term potential than fission, with its concomitant risks. However our energy problems will be solved by more powerful solutions: demand reduction through technology, microgeneration, renewable sources and so on.

huberthuzzah253 karma

The UK Governments since 1979 have been completely or partially anti-science. When a scientist gives an evidence base that demonstrates that drug policy is nonsense; or, when it is demonstrated that UK University Science departments need foreign students in order to "do" science; or when evidence shows 50% of A&E Doctors migrate to Australia because of working conditions in the UK; the response of Politicians has nothing to do with the evidence. It is always some ideological axe being honed. This has resulted in a country that is happily destroying its own science base. I am not talking about Big Science or Industrial Science - but actual Simple Science - people understanding things such as vaccination or even just gravity.

So the question is: are you going to take notice of science even when the advice of Science goes against your ideology?

DuncanEnright291 karma

Yes. I am a physics graduate, from Wadham College, Oxford. I am also a trained science teacher though I didn't follow that route, instead opting for scientific publishing. As a publisher I have the highest respect for evidence-based decisions and have set up my own company to champion this idea.

blackwatersunset69 karma

I've got an offer for physics and philosophy at an Oxford college. I still feel a bit intimidated by the whole place (and unsure if I should take the offer up). How was your experience?

DuncanEnright86 karma

Fantastic. Go for it. It isn't as intimidating as it seems, and there are students from all over the world. And great facilities and teaching.

claire0189 karma

What, in your opinion is the most pressing issue facing the UK at the present time? What are you most passionate about?

DuncanEnright562 karma

Inequality. The richest 1% in the UK own 14% of the country. Globally this is worse. Locally what it means is that some local villages are owned as investments while local people surf sofas because they can't afford anywhere to live. Inequality drives lack of empathy, and symptoms include cynical attacks on the poor and powerless, blaming them for society ills. This can't continue.

scampifry183 karma

And what do you intend to do about it?

DuncanEnright350 karma

Locally I will champion building affordable homes including social housing, press for better infrastructure to support more local jobs (that means superfast broadband as well as roads etc), raise minimum wage. Public services free at the point of need e.g. NHS also provide a bulwark against inequality, as do strong employee and tenant rights.

HankIsNotMyRealName156 karma

Where do you intend to generate the money from for this? Every politician can say, oh we need more affordable housing, better pay packets, better infrastructure, a better NHS, but as a country we have to live within our means don't we? Won't there be cuts to public services whatever happens after the elections in May?

What's the labour plan, and exactly how much money will you generate?

elliam11 karma

Pay now for the housing so you dont have to pay as much later in health care and policing costs. Having a decent place to live also helps people to be more productive.

Pisoo17 karma

You still have to pay for the housing - the money has to come from somewhere. Where would that money come from? (Asking, not trying to attack)

DuncanEnright7 karma

Councils have reserves that can be invested in housing providing a better return for the taxpayer than other investments. Some houses will be developed for sale and the challenge there is to find land on which to build. Regional development including infrastructure and economy makes a lot more sense than current developer-led approach.

nok0000182 karma

Quoting a good unanswered question from last time by /u/mil24havoc:

Can you speak a little more about your view on the current strength of press freedoms in the UK? What is your opinion on the propriety of compelling the Guardian to destroy hard drives containing documents from Edward Snowden? Was this action justified and does it in any way impinge upon the freedom of the press? Also, does freedom of the press extend to all persons or do you define press more narrowly (i.e. established periodicals with some lower threshold of employees)?

DuncanEnright296 karma

The footage of Guardian staff taking a hammer to hard drives makes you think of oppressive regimes, not liberal democracies. Not edifying, and not getting us anywhere. I don't know about you, but my files are in the cloud anyway!

Press freedom is a pillar of our democracy and should not be taken away. I am not certain about extending to all people - though I am sure the government shouldn't decide. What's the issue about size? How far would you extend this?

oatcrunchie45 karma

Press freedom is a pillar of our democracy and should not be taken away. I am not certain about extending to all people

Did a Labour Party candidate seriously just suggest that the freedom of the press shouldn't be extended to all people?

DuncanEnright196 karma

I do think all people are entitled to free expression.

But that isn't the same as freedom of the press, is it? I am not sure what was meant by the question "does freedom of the press extend to all persons". Freedom of the press includes different things beyond freedom of expression. I'm asking for more clarity here. Can you help?

nok000010 karma

I think the original intent of the "freedom of the press" was clear and it is one I agree with. People should have free access to use the "printing press" to say whatever they want. The redefinition of "press" to mean a corporation that disseminates news is disingenuous to me. I feel that people should be able to express any view they wish and if you disagree with that view then you can respond in kind - with more words.

The fact that you do not think all people are entitled to free expression is shocking.

DuncanEnright51 karma

Freedom of expression extends to everyone. Freedom of the press is slightly different in that it also includes measures like protection of sources (agreed), qualified and absolute privileges, responsibility to the audience, as well as the libel and slander laws and so on. I am thinking about the Hacking trials here as well.

ironheart_helix164 karma

I'm a recent graduate and prospects for my generation seem really really slim. Jobs are fewer and increasingly centralized in London - which means the rents are absolutely criminal. If I were to even try to seek my dream career I'd have to move to the city, where in all honesty I can't see myself getting on the property ladder for many, many years. It's essentially a really bad time to be somebody my age in this country, and the Tory government has done nothing but make it worse.

But I'm wondering what Labour would do differently for people like me if they were in power? Could you explain?

Thank you for doing this AMA by the way. It's a real credit to see a politician that's talking directly with the public when there aren't any TV cameras to see them do it.

DuncanEnright125 karma

Pleasure re the AMA, you are dead right that if you stand for election, you need to get out and answer questions (NB Cameron, do the leader debates!)

Don't despair. In fact of course, your country needs you and your talents. It just doesn't feel like it right now.

I hear what you say about London - magic city, but sucking all the economy out of the rest of the country, and very expensive. I commuted there for five years, and it cost a lot as well as tiring me out. But London is the best big city in the world.

I want to see regional development, by devolving Westminster powers to the rest of the UK. I want real freedom to grow the economy around Britain. That's what the old metropolitan councils used to have the power to lead - and I want to see that again.

I also want to build houses. Labour will build 1 million more by 2020, and that will make a massive difference whether you rent or buy. I'd like to see them passive too to reduce energy bills and living costs.

ThatMarsGuy104 karma

What's your opinion on the green party being excluded from the TV debates? Do you feel that they are a big enough party to be included? And what do you think of the party in general?

DuncanEnright153 karma

I have answered elsewhere, but this is rightly a decision for the broadcasters not the political parties. My personal view though is that we should include the Green Party in the leadership debates.

was_shadowbanned103 karma

I'm sure you've read about the war Cameron has declared against encryption. What's your opinion on it?

Supposing you become the Prime Minister, what do you plan on doing about it? What if Obama forces you to follow the footsteps regarding what Cameron is doing/will do about encryption?

DuncanEnright81 karma

I'm with Obama. Civil liberties are a major concern.

I'm standing to become a Member of Parliament, not PM, but would argue the case.

CwnAnnwn101 karma

Why do politicians argue for a particular agenda before the election and enact a different one after? Would you support an initiative to hold politicians to account for what they promise before an election? Perhaps with fines or criminal punishment?

DuncanEnright100 karma

There are some good things we should do in politics to make clear what we intend to do - and Labour has used "pledges" in this way before, and will do so again. The first two have been announced - and more will come. You can see them at labour.org.uk. I will stand by these. I am in favour of using independent bodies to hold government to account, and for instance would like the Office of Budget Responsibility to cost out the proposed programmes of all the main parties in the run-up to the election.

cdmchn75 karma

What is your opinion on a reform of drug laws in the UK?

Following some instances of legalised and regulated cannabis in the US, could you ever see something like this occurring here any time soon?

Also what is your opinion of Professor David Nutt?

DuncanEnright127 karma

See my answer elsewhere in this AMA. David Nutt was a highly respected advisor and expert at the BNF where I used to work. I want to follow the evidence in this area, and reckon decriminalisation is the first step we should take.

popNfresh9173 karma

What are your thoughts on Scotland's recent election to gain independence and how would you address the current lack there of that they've been treated with so far?

DuncanEnright168 karma

The government assumed they would win the referendum easily, and then panicked.

There is no doubt Scotland is a nation. I'd like to think that Scotland has shown the way for the rest of the country (as so often before). What the referendum decided was that a majority still wanted to be a nation within the UK, though the debate made it clear that many held Westminster in low regard (and most of the UK agrees).

I think this is an opportunity for devolution across the UK with Scotland continuing to show the way, but I hope we all remain within the UK umbrella.

One more thing - apart from a few outliers, both yes and no camps espoused a society which is far more equal, cohesive and tolerant, and forward-looking than the current government is offering. Hear hear to that, sign me up for the future.

grogipher24 karma

devolution across the UK

In what form do you think this should/could/would happen?

DuncanEnright10 karma

Horses for courses. In my own area I think we need to devolve to the Oxford metro area for some planning decisions including transport planning, and Thames Valley for others. It will need public support in each area.

Hoobleton61 karma

One assumes that Cameron stands in the safest Conservative seat. If you actually wanted to get into Parliament and make a difference, wouldn't it be a better idea to seek the nomination in another constituency?

Like no offence, but surely Labour isn't fielding candidates they actually want/need to get elected in safe Conservative seat?

DuncanEnright110 karma

Actually it isn't as simple as that. The local parties select candidates so Cameron got this by chance - he doesn't come from round here.

I want to represent Witney, where I have lived for nearly 20 years and where I have raised a family, in Parliament. It isn't a matter of travelling the country looking for "safe" seats.

I am the first Labour councillor ever for the area where I live. There is no such thing as a safe Conservative seat any more!

GroundHeroics20 karma

Duncan, do us a favour and answer this one as honestly as possible. We would appreciate politicians just admitting whatever machinations go on behind the scenes, rather than just imagining some sick version of House of Cards mixed with The Thick Of It

DuncanEnright54 karma

You're right, it isn't like that. Local parties make decisions about candidates, and lots of people like me just want to make a difference where they live.

big_evil_idiot39 karma

When and why did you decide to become a politician?

DuncanEnright74 karma

Hmmm to be honest, I still feel a bit uncomfortable being called a politician, as it isn't something that pays my wages! Nor do I think it defines me (like being a father or a friend). But I have always been interested in politics and the power to change things in my community. I joined Labour in 1979 as a teenager in Yorkshire. I was president of my college student union, and became a county councillor in Oxford in the 1990s. I was elected in 2011 to Witney Town Council and then the following year to the West Oxfordshire District for the area where I live. I guess you could choose any of those dates.

BigLittleSloth37 karma

I'm 17 and live in the UK. I obviously won't be able to vote either way in the election. What are your thoughts on lowering the voting age? There are people in my school who are very involved with politics but can't vote yet.

DuncanEnright84 karma

I'm in favour of lowering the voting age to 16. I was delighted when we managed to make this official Labour policy - so if Labour get in there will be votes from 16 from 2015 onwards. At 16 you can fight for your country, get married, work full time, have babies, pay tax, so why not vote? At 16 you also have a chance to discuss voting and political ideas with classmates and teachers at school, which has to be good. People often say issues affecting young people are ignored by governments because under-18s can't vote. Looking at the uni-fee-tripling, EMA-scrapping Tory-led government I'd say that was right, and it has got to stop.

pocl1333 karma


DuncanEnright7 karma


5236435 karma

What is your stance on tuition fees?

DuncanEnright73 karma

I think they are too high and should be cut, but we have to find the money somewhere credible if Labour is to be believed in making a promise to cut them. The team are working on it.

In principle there is some justice in sharing fees between the country and taxpayer, and the individual, as both benefit. But it has to be at a level that doesn't put people off, and right now, including high living costs, students are accruding debts that are too high. Not good.

manudattaraya27 karma

Here's a genuine political question about you.

Do you expect to win ? What are the odds ? Why do you think that you might dethrone the PM ?

DuncanEnright70 karma

I never "expect" to win, but I will work hard to do so. I will also argue for what I believe in, and try to make hearts and minds change during the campaign. Locally I think I can offer more than David Cameron has in 14 years. I live here, and will work hard for my district.

joetromboni27 karma

What would your reaction be if Canada decided to remove the Queen from our money?

DuncanEnright104 karma

You would have people saying "Woah, where's the Queen gone off the money, bro?" Up to Canada I think. But don't put Mike Myers on, or Bieber.

nothingtodowithme27 karma

What are your thoughts on TTIP?
Most of it seems to be going on behind closed doors
National governments seem very reluctant to talk about it
Elizabeth Warren (an American, I know) was quoted as saying this last year

“From what I hear, Wall Street, pharmaceuticals, telecom, big polluters and outsourcers are all salivating at the chance to rig the deal in the upcoming trade talks. So the question is, Why are the trade talks secret? You’ll love this answer. Boy, the things you learn on Capitol Hill,” Warren said. “I actually have had supporters of the deal say to me ‘They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed."

Generally I think Europe is a good idea, but if things like this are able to be passed through without any public consultation (or, apparently on a significant level, not even public knowledge) - then I worry

EDIT: went to the pub for lunch, so sorry if a bit rambling
Also.. hello & thanks for taking the time for this :)

DuncanEnright15 karma

I answered this elsewhere. TTIP has potential for good, but needs dragging into the open and close scrutiny. Also hands off NHS!

tweepcat22 karma

Labour describes themselves as "Britain's democratic socialist party" on their website. Do you feel that this is fair, considering that they haven't done enough to oppose the Tories ridiculous austerity measures (which is based broken economics) by providing a fair and coherent narrative that supports public spending as an effective way of boosting growth? I get the impression that defending public spending which benefits everyone in society seems like too difficult of a task, even though it really is at the heart of what a socially democratic party really should be advocating. Is it really fair for a party to describe themselves as socialist, when they won't even nationalise key natural monopolies such as energy and transport?

Sorry if these questions are somewhat loaded - please do correct me if my perception of Labour is somewhat wrong. It's just that there's a lot of people out there that like what Old Labour did, and do not feel that New Labour represent the left properly, and are turning to alternatives such as the Greens (which hurts, because some of their policies aren't exactly fantastic!).

Also, what are your thoughts on Universal Basic Income?

DuncanEnright33 karma

Labour is a democratic socialist party. You might argue that Labour people in Westminster have not done enough to oppose the Tory economic lie, but it isn't for want of trying. I don't think we did a good job of protecting our record either, as it was not at all bad (rejuvenated public services for example) and the credit crunch was more to do with US mortgage lenders and global banking than the action of the UK Labour Government. Try this thought experiment: if Labour caused the crash by overspending, how come it has hit every country in the world? Actually like all governments we didn't regulate the banks enough, but Tories were calling for even less regulation!

Labour has promised to abolish privatisation in the NHS and champions a public sector train company. I'd like to see more publicly owned cooperative solutions for a range of services including rail, and regulation of transport like buses (bus and coach travel isn't really a natural monopoly though).

I am interested in Universal Basic Income, but want to see more research into the economic impact. Living Wage seems a more important fight to fight for right now.

bhalp122 karma

What are the most important issues in UK politics that Americans wouldn't have really heard about or understood?

DuncanEnright21 karma

I guess this whole AMA is studded with issues like this. But you should really take a look at the issue of public services I think, and the NHS in particular, for differences you can see clearly.

mothernaturer22 karma

What are your plans on education, particularly at GSCE level? Also, how do you plan to promote STEM with young people?

DuncanEnright47 karma

I'm a governor at my local school, where both my children go and my daughter is taking GCSEs this year. My wife teaches there.

I favour a period of calm after the ideological storms that have hit in recent years. I also want to see professionally trained teachers leading the way. Schools need to be supported to work together, not compete, so every child has the best possible education and all young people get the best opportunities.

Fab question about STEM. I don't think we make best use of the internet in this regard, and also I'd like more help from the wider media - Jemma Simmons on Agents of SHIELD is a role model for some, but how about more programmes? Also better links with our science and medical base. Did you know that work experience in the NHS is not available until you are 18? I think that should be much younger.

ChipmunkSub21 karma

What are your views on the "War on drugs" in the UK?

DuncanEnright46 karma

Not going well is it? I used to run something called the British National Formulary (BNF) which is a guide to prescribing. One of our advisors was Professor David Nutt. There we were extremely keen to follow evidence in making our judgements. I still follow that rule. Evidence shows other approaches may be more successful in limiting the damage done by "drugs". If you look at my last AMA this was discussed in some detail.

Fert1eTurt1e20 karma

What are your views on the UK in the European Union? Should the UK be more integrated, or should the UK be moving father away?

What are your views on the largely forgotten Ukrainian war, and how the west seems to have abboandoned them?

DuncanEnright28 karma

UK needs to be at the heart of the EU, but "integration" isn't the right term. We need to use our influence for economic growth, fairness, environmental protection, global democracy.

Ukraine: terrible situation. We should stand by the forces of democracy. Got to find a diplomatic solution with Russia, as Ukraine pays the price if it is in a tug of war.

DuncanEnright2 karma

Answered elsewhere in this AMA

eskimobrother31914 karma

Not from the UK, but I think this question applies to a great many people, how do you see the UK's role in NATO in the future, will it change or largely stay the same as it is?

DuncanEnright20 karma

I reckon UK will need its allies even more in years to come. NATO has changed a lot in the last 20 years and will change more in the next 20, but remains our core strategic defence alliance.

garyu6913 karma

Hi Duncan. Nice to see you doing an AMA and embracing the use of modern Technology.

I'm a Witney person, born and raised. My question is what can you offer to Witney residents that will help many torie voters switch to Labour?

Any plans for improvement in transportation is something that interests me. I work in London and travel on the S1 then the Oxford Tube just to get to work. I would have loved to still have a train station in witney or a faster mode to connect with Oxford train station.

DuncanEnright13 karma

My number one is A40 (and surrounding roads as a result). If you look at my website you will see that I have been running a campaign on this. We MUST increase and use capacity (including Shores Green junction) to bring relief at rush hours. I reckon redesign of Eynsham, Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts are the top priority, but also including a bus priority lane where easily possible is a good plan. I'd also like to see demand reduction, by creating new local employment so we can cut commutes; also car pooling and flexible working hours will help. Finally alternatives like new rail options will be part of any solution.

Next: housing. We need affordable homes and that means action to build houses locally. However the current developer-led approach stimulated by changes in planning law is not a solution. I'd like to see every parish and town consider where and what sort of homes they need for the next 50 years and have the lead in making that happen. I know Carterton wants to grow and invest in the town centre for instance. But also smaller villages risk losing schools, shops, pubs and churches unless they have sustainable plans.

Next: local jobs. We don't want to be a dormitory, so we need to bring employment to our area. Too many commute out right now.

Finally: inequality needs to be tackled. That means national action on the living wage, but also reform of the economy so it works for everyone, not just the superrich. See Ed Miliband's recent speeches on this.

featured_spectre11 karma

Question 1. Why do the labour party pander to political correctness?

A prime example is that at work, I'm now no longer allowed to call a black person black, if I am to describe them, I now have to say afro-carribean.

Question 2. What was the thinking behind allowing mass immigration without proper checks? (and yes I'm aware that it was starting to get fixed under Gordon Brown).

Question 3. Why are politicians so pro European Union when the general consensus is that over half of the general public wish to pull out of Europe? (studies by various universities across England, Wales and Scotland polled the public and 56% on average wanted out).

Question 4. What do you feel you can offer over David Cameron (or anyone else for tour constituency).

Question 5. What is your background before politics?

Question 6. If you could affect one policy and have it put in place today, what would you do and why?

DuncanEnright41 karma

One person's political incorrectness is another's racism or sexism. We all need to take responsibility for how we address others, and take care not to cause offence. What is OK for you may be deeply offensive to someone else. Political correctness is a term often used in abuse - what we all need to do is show respect. Simple as.

DuncanEnright33 karma

Q2: Since the late 1980s there have been whole new reasons why people might want to move - the UK is not the only country that has struggled to get to grips with this. Of course there have always been checks to prevent those trying to escape justice, but these need to be reviewed constantly to stop criminals. Britain has always benefitted from new people coming to the country, and nearly all families have this in their history (mine does). There's a net contribution to the economy and social benefits too. But we really need to get on top of exploitation and Labour is committed to ending employers undercutting local wages, gangmasters profiteering on migrant labour, and jobs advertised only abroad.

Q3: There's a mix in politics - Farage isn't pro though EU pays his wages and expenses! But I think there is no settled view against in the country. Most people don't like what the EU does right now, and want to see reform; but don't want to wreck the economy either so are nervous about exit.

Q4: A Labour Government is what I can offer, but locally I am much more prepared to get my hands dirty tackling local problems. I'm campaigning to get investment in local roads, particularly A40 and A44, which are a blight. I will agitate for local jobs so we aren't a dormitory. We need affordable homes some of which will bring new life in villages so they aren't just weekender retreats for Londoners. I want to see better sports facilities as we have fewer pitches and leisure centres than most parts of the UK.

Q5: I have worked in publishing all my life - scientific publishing and medical publishing.

Q6: Living Wage - or Minimum Wage of £$8 - would slash poverty, cut welfare bills and stimulate the local economy at a stroke. Labour will do this in the next Parliament. Locally? It is fixing the A40: increasing capacity, providing alternatives and cutting demand.

VillagerAdrift10 karma

Following legalisation of cannabis in multiple U.S States, what are your views in regard to the U.Ks potential for legalisation?

DuncanEnright17 karma

It doesn't seem likely to happen soon. It is a pity we can't review our policies sooner as the benefits of a different approach seem clear. See other answers and previous AMA for more discussion.

zv_ZeroCool_vz8 karma

What are thoughts on Russell Brand, not as person but on his political stance and his opinions that he airs publicity trying to sway a notion that revolution is the key to change?

DuncanEnright4 karma

Enjoy Russell Brand's contributions. He's a great entertainer, and to be honest though he may not like it he has probably generated more debate and therefore interest in voting. I think he is wrong, but would defend his right to be wrong! He also does seem to do it for the right reasons.

23yearoldfinanceguy7 karma

What do you think are the two most important issues for the upcoming election?

DuncanEnright12 karma

Inequality and the NHS. See answers above for details

chipperzz6 karma

How do you feel about the recent privatisation of some of the UK's essential services? (Royal mail, NHS and Prisons). And would you want to see any sort of reversal?

DuncanEnright14 karma

Not good is it? In Witney we lost our dedicated Post Office and now have a smaller one at the back of W H Smith. The staff do a great job though and the service is still pretty good, including Sundays.

It is absolutely crucial that the Royal Mail retains the universal service across UK (all letters delivered everywhere at the same affordable price) and I worry that as a private firm it will be more difficult to defend this. I think the competitors also ought to be forced to offer a universal service.

The NHS should be a single integrated service with social care, and privatisation has failed already in a few places. I think it has no place in our NHS.

I am not a fan of private prisons either.

But to argue against private provision, we need to look at the evidence in terms of quality of service, answerability and so on. All the evidence doesn't look good so far, so I favour well-managed and run public services.

Mr_Again5 karma

Do you believe that Ed Miliband is a strong competent leader?

DuncanEnright8 karma

I know he is. Example: who is the only modern politician to stand up to Murdoch press? Ask yourself why they are leading a campaign to paint him as weak.

Clouvendy4 karma


DuncanEnright12 karma

I live locally, my family have been brought up locally and my children are currently in the nearby comprehensive school. I think I have more time to offer to be a better MP. I also think I have a better perspective as a local resident.

PolaroidBook3 karma

What's your view on the rise of the Green party?

In my mind it suggests Labour need to be more radical

DuncanEnright3 karma

I think Labour needs to get our radical ideas a better airing. I've experience of the Greens in Oxford. I share some ideas with the Green Party but others not so much. That's what politics is like I suppose!

peatoire3 karma

Hi Duncan and thanks for the AMA. A lot of people believe that we would have faired a lot better in the financial crisis if Gordon Brown hadn't 1. Borrowed so much and 2. Sold off all our gold reserves at a low.
What are your thoughts on this?
I personally find it a bit rich when I hear labour MPs criticising Tory economic policy when they seem to ignore questions about this.
I feel I could take Labour more seriously if this was broached.

PS I'm a fence sitter at the moment but I think the Tory economic policy was a gamble but it seems to be working when the likes of ed balls made such a scene of rubbishing it from day one.

GroundHeroics7 karma

Hi peatoire, I'm not Duncan but I am a Labour member and Economics student and can try and explain some of this

Q1 - Borrowing a lot of money as a government (especially to spend stimulating the economy) does not make a recession or slump worse. There's no mainstream reasoning that would support this. What it does do is build up government debt that has to be paid off when the country is in better shape. Some economists (Keynesians) suggest its a good idea because if government isn't spending in bad times, nobody is and therefore will make the recession worse.

Q2 - The sale of our gold reserves at a low price was an eye-opening event. A mistake, most probably. But it isn't related to the financial crisis years later, or how well Britain coped.

I'm not a Brown fan, but his handling of the crisis when the shit properly hit the fan was amazing. Few politicians in the world are capable of such a level-headed response to the crisis (he essentially made sure that banks remained stable and didn't bring the global economy down with them), and indeed he proved that in the moment.

My opinion is that Brown is partly to blame for leaving the financial sector unregulated and not repairing the defences that Thatcher took down. But his management of government spending did not endanger us or cause the economy to tank - this is an important point. Again, there is no mainstream reasoning to support this myth. Spending and debt were within reasonable levels until a crash in America spread across the world and decimated our tax revenues.

The Tory economic policy was to cut, cut, cut. They are (rightly or wrongly) uncomfortable with the size of the state. They reduced government spending in an attempt to shrink it and pay our debts. The negative impact this would have on the economy was underestimated by even the IMF. The economy has picked up, in my opinion, because that's what economies do after slumps. It would be difficult as an academic to claim that coalition policy has caused this. What we do know is that some of it has come from population growth and some more from financial services dangerously expanding again. Meanwhile wage growth is anaemic and so this recovery seems unbalanced and not beneficial for most people. A Labour government with higher minimum wages and control on the cost of living is almost certain to address this. Let's also not forget that the Bank of England has all the while been keeping rates record low and introducing money into the economy through quantitative easing. They deserve more credit than anyone.

It makes me rather sick that Cameron and Osborne are taking credit for growth, but politicians are almost always taking credit or abuse for the economy when they don't deserve it.

DuncanEnright2 karma

Thanks GroundHeroics! I agree with what you say. On gold reserves, hindsight is a great thing. Tory cuts are ideological opposition to public spending and services, rather than a rational economic response.

lol_poor_people_suck3 karma

Who is your favorite football club and why do you hate Manchester United? (we all have a reason)

DuncanEnright6 karma

Leeds United. I should hate Man U more than I do, but...I still love Alan Smith. Enough said.

MereGear2 karma

Do you think Edward Snowden did the right thing?

What is your stance when it comes to whistle blowers?

Have you read 1984?if so do you think the UK is becoming too much like it? With the Internet censorship via the "porn" filter. The prosecution of people for "offensive" tweets. The mass surveillance.

Do you think you could beat David Cameron in a game of basketball?

DuncanEnright2 karma

Tricky one. I think I would have advised Snowden to go another route, but in retrospect I think he did the right thing. Whistleblowers are always in a difficult situation and need particular support. Last week I met some NHS whistleblowers who have been very brave and treated badly. We always need to listen to those who see wrong in our governments and services, as that way we can continue to be true to our democratic values and seek to improve.

I have read 1984 but a long time ago (before 1984!) I was worried then that UK was too like it, and it still concerns me. I guess that's why Orwell wrote it. I am involved in politics to combat that.

I do think I can beat David Cameron in basketball. I'm taller. A bit. Better at pool though.