Thursday, September 23, 2010

epic blogging FAIL & the reform of Green Party science policy


So, I started a rant against this post on Liberal Conspiracy in which I repeated my oft stated criticisms of the antiscientific policies of the Green Party. There was then an extensive interval in which I had dinner and drank some beer and some more of last year's sloe gin. During this period several posts appeared in response to my initial rant lead by one from Sunny Hundal in which he linked to a LibCon post from back in February that completely contradicted all my rants. Back then Jim Jepps- the author of the post that initially grabbed my attention- posted on his own blog and then at LibCon how the Green Party conference had voted to abandon pretty much all of the fluffy, antiscientific crap that was clogging up the MFSS. This included the broad opposal to vivisection, the endorsement of alternative medicine and the absurd pledge it proposed be required of all scientists and technologists to "respect the earth and life upon it".

That was back in February. I seriously have to apologise to all Green Party members for failing to report this in detail and crow about being a member of what is now unequivocally the most awesome political party in the country. I am a tiny, tiny little prick.

Interestingly the reform occurred in the days immediately following the Sarah Goldsmith debacle. Could it be that the glare of publicity surrounding that episode convinced the attendees at the Green Party conference that reform was the only option to maintain the party's integrity. All I can say is that if it did it seems to have worked. More of the same! (More evidence-based policy, that is. Not more epic blogging fails from yrs trly).

Once again, apologies to Jim Jepps for posting bullshit criticisms on his LibCon post and to all Green Party members. Thanks to Sunny Hundal for putting me right.



  1. No need to apologise to me, although corrections are always welcome and healthy. I certainly don't take offence.

    I wanted to make a comment on this; "Could it be that the glare of publicity surrounding that episode convinced the attendees at the Green Party conference that reform was the only option to maintain the party's integrity."

    I think it was simpler than this, although it's something that surprises many non-party members. People didn't know what the policy documents actually said and so when journos pointed out the more ridiculous stuff members basically said "Oh - my - lord - that's - mad. Let's change it." So we did.

    There were *some* defensive reactions from people who didn't like being criticised (who does I suppose) but I was pleased that these people were a minority. For me the key thing is to have good policy. If it loses us votes sometimes so be it, but I certainly don't want to lose votes because I ignored criticism when it was correct, which in this case it was.

    So the answer to your point is that although people will have been aware that there was an electoral need to change the policy, the debates were characterised by the fact that members just didn't like the current policy anyway because it didn't stand up.

    Those who spoke against change tried to characterise the move as unprincipled change to policy to suit journalists - but that didn't fit the reality to my mind and certainly it wasn't my motivation for getting involved in changing policy.

    I should say too that although it's lovely to have all this praise (and it was good work) we've still got more to do before we've deleted all the bad - and introducing the good will always be a work in progress.

  2. Re: Sarah Goldsmith. Whatever the reason for the policy change, I think you saved the Green Party mega –embarrassment locally and nationally.

  3. As a former GP member I was encouraged by the change in direction for a more evidence based approach, and was thinking that I might be tempted back. However, actions speak louder than words - the shine was taken off when Caroline Lucas signed up to EDM 284, supporting the use of homeopathy in the NHS, contradicting the new evidential approach to health in the party policy. That issue has yet to be resolved, especially as from outside it seems like she's making up policy on the fly.

  4. People didn't know what the policy documents actually said

    That is a rather alarming state of affairs, Jim. Some policy wording should be familiar to every party member. Together we can check the entire thing for policies that are poorly supported by available evidence. I wonder how the current sitution arose? No rigorous objective critique have ever been made of, for example, animal testing; because of the clear and significant benefits for human health associated with the practice. Another aspect of animal testing that I can personally endorse is the use of animal models in environmental health assessment and ecotoxicology: Without vivisection we would not at all familiar with the biological effects and threat presented by endocrine disruptors, for example.

    Caroline's support for EDM 284 is a stunning example of a regressive step for the party. As with Brian, I can't imagine what drove her to support the frothy-mouthed rantings of a fucking space cadet like David cocking Tredinnick. I can only imagine that she bowed to pressure from an excess of homeopathic chakra-aligning wankers in her constituency. I know its probably harder for her than any other MP in the house, being both party leader and the first and only elected Green MP. HOwever, pandering to popular support for something as evidently useless as alternative medicine is both an indictment of the political system she is part of as well as of the free-thinking capacity of the electorate in her constituency.

    I've always respected Caroline but that's an even bigger FAIL than mine.

  5. yes, mind-boggling stupidity. And again it makes me think that many of the party are under the surface still of the same beliefs and that a motion at a conference doesn't change deeply-held beliefs about loony theories on homeopathy and nice fluffy bunnies being held in higher regard than my child.



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