Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Its unfortunate, but I seem to live in one of those ridings where the electorate is either red or blue, with no room for other voices.  How else to explain why the Lib Dems, who seem so energetic in other places, have such a lacklustre campaign here?  Its one of the unfortunate effects of the first-past-the-post system that voters in non-marginal constituencies are essentially ignored. 

I sent an email around to the various local candidates to see what their opinions were on the cut in university funding.  No response from the Lib Dem candidate, and the Green party candidate wanted to confirm that I lived in the riding (and why would that make a difference?  This is a national issue, not a local one!).  The Labour candidate replied, but only saw this as an education issue, while the Conservative candidate saw this as an issue of poor management of resources. 

Personally, I think this is an issue of short-term thinking. By not funding the research posts in higher education, a generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists will be lost forever to this country... some will go overseas, but most will simply drop out of their fields to find paying work in business.  Besides being a tremendous waste of educational investment, it also means that the brains this country needs to help pull this country out of recession will have gone elsewhere or long since left the cutting edge of their fields when the recovery occurs.  Its said that once a person leaves the sciences, they leave for good... I know personally that this is true, even if they want to return... and we are dooming a generation of newly-minted PhD's to essentially chuck away their expensive tax-supported education for lack of any other options.

Unfortunately, I don't think any of the parties really grasp that.  There are very few scientists... in fact very few people with any post-graduate technical education in the House of Commons.  Instead we have spin-doctors and party hacks, with no appreciation for the long-term future of this country

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