Ben Bradshaw criticises policital 'gadflies' at Westminster after meeting university scientists
Thinking at Westminster is “short-term and superficial” according to Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw.
The former Culture Secretary blamed the system for creating politicians that were “like gadflies flitting from one issue to the next, always with an eye on the next election”.
The Labour MP made his comments after meeting scientists at Exeter University who were involved in long term studies lasting several years.
He visited the physics department as part of a pairing scheme run by the Royal Society, which aims to bring together scientists and politicians and give each a better understanding of the other’s work.
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Writing about his experience in the current affairs magazine Total Politics, Mr Bradshaw said: “It was one of the most extraordinary, inspirational and humbling few hours I have spent for many years.”
And he felt there were lessons politicians could learn from the world of science.
He wrote: “My afternoon at Exeter physics department, meeting people who are working on projects with timelines of several years and policy applications even further into the future, made me realise how short-term and superficial so much of our policy making is, even when it is based on sound evidence.
“Our system creates politicians who are like gadflies flitting from one issue to the next, always with an eye on the next election.”
He added: “A few hours at Exeter University reminded me of the importance of policy makers and scientists working closely together for the long term.
“We need more scientists at the heart of policy-making and more politicians who know about and understand the importance of science.”
During his visit he saw the wide range of pioneering research being undertaken at the university.
This included the use of the miracle material graphene which has the potential to revolutionise electronics.
Students are also doing research into making objects invisible, which has already attracted interest from the defence and security industry according to Mr Bradshaw.