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Politicians shrink from science

作者:谷梁讯蜗    发布时间:2019-03-03 08:11:07    

By WILLIAM BOWN British MPs have cancelled a new select committee on science – due to a lack of interest. Despite being empowered to set up a subcommittee on science and technology last July, the Education, Science and Arts Select Committee is still one MP short and it is now unlikely to inaugurate the science and technology subcommittee before the General Election. ‘It is very disappointing,’ says Gerard Vaughan, chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and a member of the education committee. ‘It just shows that my fellow MPs have minimal interest in science.’ There are 650 MPs in the House of Commons. The science and technology committee requires just four members willing to attend, at most, four meetings a month. However, as a subcommittee, its members must also sit on the education committee – another four meetings. Existing members of the education committee, who are mainly ex-headteachers, are unwilling to sit on the science committee. Equally, the few MPs interested in science are unwilling to sit in on education meetings. The result is a stalemate, with the education committee one MP short of its full complement of 13 and unable to get the science committee going until it is up to strength. ‘There is this great apathy,’ says Vaughan. ‘Very few people with a scientific background even enter the House of Commons.’ Since 1979 the education select committee has conducted just three inquiries into scientific matters. In 1981 the MPs looked at biotechnology, in 1984 they looked at the government’s science budget and last year they examined the European dimension of science policy. By comparison,

 

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