Friday, 7 May 2010

My least favourite result

By a heartbreakingly narrow margin, Evan Harris* lost Oxford West and Abingdon to Nicola Blackwood, a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, an organisation that seeks to put prayer at the heart of government.

Harris, in contrast, sought to put truth, evidence and freedom of conscience at the heart of policy making, as Ben Goldacre pointed out before the polls opened:

The antivaccination conspiracy theorists hate him [Evan Harris], because he drove for more and better evidence on the MMR and autism hoax, and helped expose it through the GMC. The animal rights protestors hate him, because he has dared to stand up for necessary and well-regulated animal experiments, an unpopular cause even among those who quietly benefit from their results. He is despised by fundamentalist christians, because he defends stem cell research and a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body when she is pregnant. Homophobic christians (not all christians, but the homophobic ones) despise him, because he is clear that if you run a B&B, you have to let a gay couple stay, the same as any other (and although nobody ever mentions it, if you’re gay and run a B&B, you have to let a christian stay too). He is despised by homeopaths because he dared to examine the evidence for their magic beans, he is despised by climate change denialists for the same reason, and alongside all of this, he has led the field on libel reform and on free speech, on disentangling church from state while remaining respectful on religion, he has stood up and been a clear thinker on the role of scientific advisors and evidence on policy, and much more.

A defeat for clear thinking and a victory for people like Mid Befordshire's inexplicably re-elected screaming nutter, Nadine Dorries, who tweeted triumphantly:

Do my eyes and ears deceive me? Has Dr Death really lost his seat?

Unfortunately, Nad, although they deceive you about practically everything else in the real world, they are tragically right on this occasion. Now get back in the attic, you wretched loony.

*Post corrected - I originally made bizarre mistake of writing "Evan Davis", when I should have written "Evan Harris" (see comments). I clearly listen to the BBC too much and don't concentrate enough!


Irim said...

I am equally gutted about this result, as an Oxford West resident. Flipping gerrymandering.

BTW, I think you mean Evan HARRIS. xx