A couple of days in Hove at the Green Party Autumn ticked all the usual boxes, though this year jokes about beards were given a fun edge by Sue‘s buzzword bingo game. Thankfully a lot of the unfortunate posturing around Green Party Executive (GPEX) elections died down as it became clear that most members couldn’t be bothered with it, leaving space for some good policy debates.
Science and technology finally got its day, with two fringe events giving the nerd core a chance to work out how we can avoid this kind of (quite valid) coverage. I’ve high hopes that we can begin to overhaul some fairly ancient and shaky policy, not least because we got such strong and wide agreement that policy should be – golly – based on scientific evidence, as should decisions about NHS treatments. But never mind that “on the back foot” stuff, I’m most excited about the possibility of putting out some really strong messages around science and technology that should resonate strongly with scientists, technologists and the general public.
Keeping the NHS public, in the face of money-wasting PFI schemes; reforming the national curriculum to improve teaching of basic scientific and statistical methods, in the face of popular public science scares and hoaxes; using public funds to promote and expand the place of open access publishing, in the face of threats to public-interest research.
Just some random ideas there… we seem to have a great team working on this now so I’m feeling a good deal less embarassed than I was when the science bloggers pulled some of our policy apart back in May.
On another positive note the Campaign in a Box resources I’ve put together with help from Kate Hand, Sam Smith and Hannah Goudge went down a storm. All the copies that Jon Nott and I managed to bring were picked off the stall within a couple of hours, leaving some slightly sad black & white display copies. Members can grab them from the soon-to-be-overhauled members’ web site, but I am pondering putting them somewhere more public and making a bit of a splash. All rather depends on what the new Campaigns Coordinator and his Campaigns Committee want to do with them, as I might end up making this a solo effort whilst they stick to the “man the barricades” stuff.
I’m now left waiting on the internal elections results with some trepidation, hoping (with some confidence) that the Party pulls together around our 09/10 aim of returning the first Green MP to Parliament!