Politicians unable to understand Science

We have an economy which is increasingly dependent on Science, and an electorate which is quite well-informed about it, thanks in some degree to the internet. But we still do not have the politicians to match.

For example:

    When the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee found that use of homeothapy by the NHS does not provide value for money, a local MP in the East Midlands led an effort to get the report's conclusions dismissed.

    He also bought astrology software and training in its use.

    Last month he told the local paper, the 'Leicester Mercury' that because health care systems in India and China have linked medicine and astronomy for centuries, the UK should consider doing the same.

I am not criticising this MP; he is a good constituency man, and there is nothing wrong with an individual having a personal interest in alternative therapies, but in Government we also need scientifically literate representatives, or we will not get sensible policies in scientific areas - medicine, energy production, genetically modified crops, food production, transport, aerospace technology, defence, drug manufacture, animal testing, organ transplants, and so on.....

In the last parliament, 27 members out of 650 had a science degree.

584 said they had no politicial interest in science and technology.

In the words of Roger Highfield1, in this technological age, where science constantly poses new opportunites and new challenges, a 'luvvieocracy' of graduates in arts, economics, PPE and humanities is not fit for purpose.

We are not going to recover from the recession by relying on astrologers and homeopaths. We need scientists, engineers and innovators. We also need intelligent scientific thinkers involved in the political process - as elected politicians.

ND, Habitat21.

1. Editor of New Scientist; article in Daily Telegraph, 27 Apr 10.
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