Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Who will rid me of these pesky scientists?

Here's something to write to your MP about.

A year ago, Professor David Nutt was thrown off the government's Drugs Advisory Council for saying some science-based things that didn't accord with political dogma: he was its chair. Several more scientists resigned in support.

The new government has announced a new direction in evidence-based policy-making. It's agin' it. That's right. They're throwing all the scientists off the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. In future, we won't need any of your 'facts', or 'science'. We got all the facts we need, right here in our guts. And in our PR advisers.

It might sound like me going on and on once more, but this is really important. Drugs are often dangerous. Sometimes they aren't. I'd like a scientist to tell me what's what, not a bunch of political placemen. What area of society will they remove expertise from next?

Experts are so last year.

Dear Paul Uppal,
may I ask you to urgently raise in Parliament the amendment to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility bill which removes the requirement to have scientists on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs?
I gather that you are an expert member of the Parliamentary Group on Urban Development. I therefore assume that you recognise the need for expert guidance in crucial areas of policy development, for the purpose of sound policy-making and to retain credibility in the eyes of the public. Removing scientists from this committee suggests that awkward opinions will be silenced. 
No doubt the minister will claim that removing the requirement to include scientists does not mean that he will actually do so: I urge you to resist this logic and to lobby for the automatic retention of expert advisers.


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