Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Scientists in Parliament

I'm not at this late stage going to break my rule about not commenting on individual cases re MPs' expenses (except for the occasional exclamation of a moat?! a duckhouse?! a mortgage for a man with £30 million in the bank????) But with Ian Gibson being deselected by Labour's star chamber and Doug Naysmith standing down at the next election, Parliament will be losing two of a rare breed: MPs with a scientific background. (As well as two of a less rare breed: Scots who represent English seats. Actually make that three, Ian McCartney's going too). Between them they covered all the bases, on health and science and technology, serving on numerous committees and All-Party groups, and speaking authoritatively on issues such as stem cell research and GM. Maybe we should have an all-scientist shortlist in Norwich North?

9 comments:

Emma said...

Will the last MP out of the House of Commons please turn off the lights.

JYD said...

I think this is one of the reasons why people are so annoyed - yeah, a moat, a duckhouse and someone with that much brass claiming for a mortgage is pretty messed up, but no more so than what the Labour & Lib Dem MPs have done. It's all about making the others look bad. It's just about clinging to as much power as possible.

It's the same with electoral reform. Everyone's proposing their ideas for electoral reform that will benefit their party. No-one in Westminster seems to be proposing electoral reform that will benefit the country.

Despite being interested in politics and having been a volunteer on campaigns in the past, for the first time in my life (and my first opportunity to here in Bristol where my vote might actually matter more than it ever did in Blackburn) I won't be voting. What's the point? Whoever I vote for isn't going to keep their promises anyway. They never do. I'm just sick of it all.

Glenn Vowles said...

Interesting point about few MPs having a scientific background. I think its very important that we elect people with a number of backgrounds, not least scientific. People could always vote for me of course, I'm a scientist and I'm not like that current lot (a big bonus because I'm a Green!!

Kerry said...

Well that made us laugh.

David Love said...

Not sure having one or two scientist MPs is helpful - as opposed to access to good scientific advice for all MPs. Like most other professions, scientists can be very parochial or have an excellent grasp of the big picture. Depends on the individual. I'm a scientist and I'm not standing...

thebristolblogger said...

Yeah. Vowlsie's a scientist and I'm an award-winning journalist.

Paul said...

I have a degree in Astrophysics - some of us are in the gutter but we can still look to the stars etc etc - and I know how a nuclear power station works and that it costs us a small fortune not knowing what to do with the waste

Fred Trellis said...

David Love has it about right.

Science is about how the world works. If you don't know that, how are you to make effective decisions?

You don't need either to be a scientist, nor have a scientific background to develop an understanding.

That 2 or 3 leaving should dilute the house's competence on scientific matters is a shameful indictment to the capabilities of those that remain.

Alex said...

This is one of my grumbles about the current cohort; it seems to be stuffed full of people from the legal profession and professional politicians (i.e. those who probably read politics at uni, took a sabbatical to run in the SU, etc).

I'd like to see a much wider diversity of professions and backgrounds represented in the commons.