Jun 8, 2012 - Long posts    4 Comments

Why I support the Green Party Science Policy

Recently I tweeted that the area I always tended to disagree with the Green party was its health and science policy (Jenny Jones, the Green Party’s candidate for London Mayor in the recent election caused controversy last week by voicing her support for a protest against a trial of a new strain of genetically modified wheat). Some took this as a dig against the science green party policy , but in actual fact I consider the GP science policy to be the best of any of the other major parties. Its progression is what allowed me to change my vote in the last election. If I disagree with any part it isn’t a criticism of the Greens policy, but more because it’s the subject I am most familiar/opinionated about with (being a biochemistry graduate). I am very open to debate in these areas, and I am able to alter my views if the evidence is there.

When I was at University, I remember watching Caroline Lucas talk – this was before her MP days and might have even been before her MEP days. I found a lot of her talk very gripping (as they always are!) but was dismayed that her only mention of science was the toxic levels of chemicals used in everyday objects (I remember some story about a towel) and in healthcare was that it needed to be more complementary – which at the time I saw as very basic and (if I’m honest) suggested to me that the party was “anti-science” or Luddite.

In contrast, when I read this article in The Guardian about Green science policy before the last general election, it fully transformed my vote from an anti-Labour protest vote to a party that I actually fully supported and wanted to be a member of.

Why do I think the Green party science policy is so good?

  • It relies heavily on evidence based science (rather than personal opinion and party preferences – see David Nutt
  • It recognises the importance of science and the necessity of funding
  • It doesn’t ignore or support the massive wrongdoings of multinational companies (such as withholding negative clinical trial results)
  • And of course it recognizes the need for renewables, the impact of climate change, and many other important environmentally related issues.

My point being that the Green Party science policy isn’t simply a “green” policy but actually has a strong evidence based policy. I may disagree with some areas of the policy or with opinions within the Green Party. For example I’m not against GM foods and I’ve no idea where I stand on nuclear power, but I believe the GP science policy is the strongest and most progressive out of any other party. As any scientist will tell you – the scientific process (and thus too the policy) should be based upon evidence.

I read @AdamRamsay’s post today (http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2012/06/greens-must-get-better-at-communicating-our-support-for-science/) and I agree that it’s so important for the Green party to promote the great science policy it has and constantly challenge the incorrect perception of the party being Luddite or anti-science.

You can read the Green party science policy here.

4 Comments

  • You mean trial instead of trail.
    This is not “a dig against GP policy”, in fact it’s completely in line.
    The GP is against GM, the dodgy corporate-controlled science it depends on, the systemic approach it adopts sending farmers into spiralling debt and the goals of patenting life and dominating seed supply.
    Instead of complimentary you mean complementary. The Greens aren’t fighting for the NHS in order to turn it into a series of alternative health centres! It’s precisely because it
    There’s good reason to be against GM foods (as are the majority of the public) but you need to read about Puzstai, I-SIS.org.uk, and Jeffrey Smith’s Genetic Roulette, to really get why. Even if the science were sound, its application, where it contributes to 20,000 farmer suicides in India per year through debt, means it may as well not.
    As for nuclear, Fukushima really ought to focus the mind except that there are major industry messages (backed by government) to underscore how safe it is… and attacks on people well-versed in the biological effects of radiation, like Chris Busby. The best commentator by far is Arnie Gundersen who underlines how deceptive TEPCO and the Japan government have been, and just how serious the situation there remains, let alone the biological effects on their way. The free ride nuclear gets from government is also worrying as is the tie to defence industries that use the waste in their weaponry, to devastating effect, poisoning people and land.
    It’s not science Greens have a problem with, it’s where it’s not good enough, or hijacked by corporate interests, or pretends to do things that it in fact doesn’t. Pure science is under heavy attack these days, by vested interests who will take what they can and make a fast buck. That’s not always in people’s interests.

    • Thank you for the corrections, will update! I appreciate your comments. It’s true that technologies can be abused, but this does not mean we should stop research in these areas. It’s important to monitor how the advances are exploited and respond appropriately but allowing fear to prevent research is exactly the kind of anti-science sentiment I disagree with.

  • And that dimwit above from Hull Green Party believes 9/11 was a conspiracy. Check his writings. Astoundingly ignorant of science.

    How anti-science do you need to be? Seems your party is happy with those sort of opinions being expressed

    • People’s views don’t necessarily reflect those of the party. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

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