I’m not one of those people who is already sick of the election, rather I’m fascinated by it as the first General Election that I’ve been fairly engaged with. In 2005 I was in Canada, and didn’t have time to organize a postal ballot. In 2001 I was a student in the final weeks of my degree (and too busy to care) and in 1997 I was sitting my final exams of high school and working part time as a waitress – I remember the chef posting a sign in the kitchen saying that there were no popadums because Labour were now in power.
I am interested in the big issues – health, tax, employment, and the ones more personal – education, funding higher education, funding science, but I am especially interested in how our MPs tackle issues concerning science. And I’m not alone in this. The Times Online has an excellent guest post by Christine Ottery on their Eureka Zone Blog discussing questions that we might ask our parliamentary candidates concerning their position on issues of scientific importance. She suggests that we should go along to the Hustings and ask pertinent questions, recording the answers for dissemination to the interested via Facebook and Twitter. I’m possibly not that organised, so instead I will contact the Parliamentary candidates for the constituency in which I live (which is not the constituency in which I work apparently) by email with some questions (see below).
I’m emailing these questions in the hope that the candidates may be able to produce a considered answer, rather than being put on the spot. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. I intend to post the email to this site, and will also post any answers received. If anyone else wishes to use these questions (or better still – write your own better ones), please let me know in the comments or by twitter. I’d love to read the answers.
My Questions (based on the blog post linked above, some responses on twitter, and some meddling by me):
1. Should creationism be taught alongside evolution in school science lessons?
2. What are your views on the role of alternative medicines in the NHS?
3. What do you propose that we do about climate change on a national level?
4. What role should scientific advisors play in the Government?
5. What steps should be taken to safeguard the United Kingdom’s research base in the face of widespread funding cuts?