Thursday, 9 July 2009

Where are the scientists and the doctors?

Some interesting reading produced by a good friend of Breast Cancer Campaign’s, John Lehal, Insight Public Affairs, “The Next Generation: Parliamentary Candidates to Watch”.

The reason why I mention this is not only because they are a very astute bunch at Insight, and if they think that these are the people to watch then we should watch them, but also because of the dearth of scientists, doctors – anyone who has any knowledge or interest in medical research – on the list. (Just looked up dearth in my thesaurus and suggest you focus on the lack or absence part of the definition rather than the shortage or scarcity!).

Just as I don’t think you have to be a woman in order to understand issues around maternity benefits, I don’t think you need to be a scientist to value medical research. But if there are no scientists, no doctors, no researchers in Parliament – how will we ever have a balanced and informed argument. We are very fortunate to have some excellent people in the Lords who understand science and research – Lords Turnberg and Winston to name two but we could do with some in the Commons as well.

I hope that David Cameron’s ban on second jobs for the Shadow Cabinet after the end of the year will not extend to all MPs. I would like them to have second jobs – not highly paid consultancies where their political connections add value but rather as part-time GPs or, working in the voluntary sector so that they remember what it is like to have a job outside the rarefied air of Parliament and to deal with the execution of all the policies which come at the rest of us thick and fast.

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