Ideas behind the launch of morale-saving scientists

June 30, 1995

In your "News in Brief" item (THES, June 16) you state that the Labour Party has launched an initiative - Scientists for Labour (SfL).

This is not an entirely accurate description of the genesis of the group.

Although strongly supported by a number of Labour MPs in its formative stages, Scientists for Labour has been established - independently of the party hierarchy - by a group of scientists who felt that our science infrastructure was being seriously eroded by the Government's infatuation with free market ideology.

It soon became evident that our concerns were shared across the spectrum of scientific disciplines and the numbers joining were sufficient to justify the formal launch to which you alluded.

We now feel that we have an ample range of expertise to interact effectively with the Labour science team and to play a role in the formulation of science policy for the next Labour government.

Moreover, this aspiration has been encouraged by the science team and Scientists for Labour has been enthusiastically endorsed by Tony Blair in his message to the launch.

Hitherto, scientists have been relatively apolitical, taking it for granted that the Government of the day(of whatever political persuasion) would be aware of the necessity to support the science base - an essential component of any mature industrial society.

This premise is no longer valid and Scientists for Labour is striving to ensure that the Labour Party (and its members) will be aware of the need to refurbish our scientific infrastructure and restore the morale of the scientific community.

Willie Russell

Chair: Scientists for Labour

School of Biological and Medical Sciences

University of St Andrews

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