It’s the election tomorrow and I want to ask your help to get one MP re-elected for the good of science in the UK. In an era when so many of our elected politicians have acted out of self-interest, dipping their fingers in the till, Evan Harris has stood out by being smart, hard-working and informed, but more than that, by being genuinely brave in taking on causes in science and human rights that many believe in, but few would have the guts to stand up for.Recently we were comparing hate mail, and it occurred to me that you could only really pay tribute to the vital contribution Evan has made by listing all the groups who despise him, and the vicious hate campaigns they have mounted. The antivaccination conspiracy theorists hate him, 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.
In return for taking a stand on issues like these, which I think you care about, Evan has been repeatedly subjected to unending unpleasant and personal attacks. Anonymous individuals in this election have paid for hate pamphlets to be posted to every household in his constituency. Evan, sadly, does not have a billionaire in Belize, so it falls to us to support, from a distance, his work in Oxford West and Abingdon.
I’m giving him some money for a final push on leaflets, expenses, cars, taxis, phones, and badgering. I don’t really care what party he’s from but it just so happens that he’s a Lib Dem, and they are at least the least odious of the bunch.
This is how you can help:
1. If you can help to telephone constituents to encourage them to go out and vote for Evan, any time today or tomorrow, email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will get almost by return a script and some numbers.
2. If you live nearby you can deliver leaflets email@example.com
3. If you want to donate, with a guarantee that your funds will only be used to overthrow the religious anti-science state, then you can do so here:
4. If you know anyone who lives in Oxford, ring them and ask them to vote for Evan, and to tell their friends to do the same.
Things like this really do make a difference, and Evan really has made a difference, more than any MP I can think of. I can guarantee you I wouldn’t do this under any other circumstances, and frankly, being this nice about someone doesn’t really come easily. Please help to keep Evan Harris in parliament any way that you can, with money or time.