Julian Huppert in five minutes

How can you possibly compress Cambridge MP Julian Huppert into a mere five minutes? Well, one of the LSE’s blogs has attempted that and here is a sample of the outcome:

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem PPC for CambridgeYou have mentioned that you would like to see more scientists entering Parliament. What advice would you give to those who might be tempted to consider a career jump into politics, and why do you think it would be important for more academics to move into politics?

We need more people with a scientific background in Parliament; there are very few MPs who have any sound scientific knowledge. I would encourage other scientists considering a political career to do so. Formulating policy based on hard scientific evidence rather than just on gut beliefs is how it should be done.

We also have a great number of career politicians, lawyers and economists in Parliament. But we need to encourage people from a diverse range of careers and backgrounds to enter politics so that we have a mix which is more representative of the people that we have been elected to serve.

Read the full post about Julian Huppert here.

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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  • From personal experience, I couldn’t agree more.
    I was a university lecturer for 30 years before being elected as a city councillor for 12 years. Having worked on the effects of environmental pollution on plant physiology I was trained to assess evidence both objectively and numerically. As you cannot talk to or survey a plant, you must base you conclusions on evidence from available observations (and unambiguously designed experiments). Having edited a scientific journal also helped assess manuscripts on topics one was not directly involved in. Applying this to Council officer’s reports – especially on topics new to me – help in objectively assessing briefs on transport, reports on equalities issues, spotting a missing £40,000, chairing committees on environemtal pollution, etc.
    Even though involvement in politics calls for an entirely different set of prioities, timescales, outcomes, etc. a background in a scientific discipline certainly adds a different and positively beneficial perspective.

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Apr '12 - 8:53pm

    I’ve been a university lecturer in a science/engineerting subject for 23 years, for 12 of those also a London Borough councillor. However, it was impossible to do both jobs properly. When I started off as a councillor, university life was easier, job security was high, you could do other things if you accepted that meant you wouldn’t get promoted. However, nowadays not only promotion is dependent on a high research rating, job survival is – university lecturers who don’t churn out research papers face being sacked for not being “research active”.

    Being a ppc is a daunting task. It seems these days if you want to be one, you are expectd to be a semi-full time constituency organiser, putting in a huge amount of effort for months or years before the election. I know I just could not do that and stay in my job. I can’t affrod to leave my job, I have bills to pay, and if I did I would find it impossible to get back in.

    In reality, it does seem that being a ppc now is an option only really open to a certain sort of person, someone with plenty of money and time on their hands, as well as the gift of the gab (I did try to get on the approved list once, but was turned down on the grounds I was a “poor communicator” or something like that).

  • Richard Dean 29th Apr '12 - 9:12pm

    As an ex-lecturer in engineering, now consultant and writer, I like that. But you have to wait so long – I have to wait a year before the LibDems would accept any knd of application in relation to parliamentary candidacy. I suppose it’s sensible, but I may prefer to go independent anyway. LibDems don’t seem too coherent.

    Scientific people can have a disadvantage of expecting things to be verifiable by experiment, so that decisons don’t need to be built by consensus, but politics and social science has action research which is not quite the same. On the other hand, some career politicians seem to have the disadvantage of not understanding simple facts.

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