Geek Manifulster

The GeekManifulster Pledge reached its target! But there is still a lot of work to be done.

geek manifestoThe idea behind the pledge is to have a copy of the Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters on the desk of each MLA in Stormont. 56 people have now pledged that they will send a copy to an MLA of their choice, though there are 108 MLAs in Stormont.

The book is written by Mark Henderson, Head of Communications at the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health by supporting the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities, while the book sets an agenda for how science should be much more central than it is to government and the wider national conversation. Science and critical thinking should be at the forefront of government and political decisions — the current state of affairs is from from this, and no less so in Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK.

And so with this in mind, we have the “GeekManifulster”, as coined by Shane McKee.

In Northern Ireland we have our Legislative Assembly with 108 elected Members (MLAs), largely elected along the lines of the traditional parties who have tussled and wrangled over Our Wee Country for the past 45 years (a time that has not always been happy). Political rhetoric in Northern Ireland is often based along religious faultlines, and people seem reluctant to toss that aside in favour of a more inclusive and evidence-based future.

The #GeekManifulster Pledge sets out to help change the culture in Stormont. We want to give each MLA a copy of the book, and let them know that science-minded people (whether they are actually scientists or not) form a major part of their constituency. If they want our votes, they need to show they are ready to take on the challenge.

Northern Ireland’s economy was once built on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We built ships, from the Titanic to the Canberra. We built planes, generators, turbines. We developed textiles that helped win World War II. Our scientists split atoms, unlocked the mysteries of thermodynamics, discovered quasars. We have nothing to be ashamed of, and science can help pull us out of this recession.

What to do now?

  1. If you haven’t read The Geek Manifesto, do!
  2. Join the Geek Manifulster Facebook Group.
  3. Share with friends on Facebook, Twitter, email etc.
  4. Then pick which MLA you would like to send a copy to… (perhaps try to pick someone who you may not have voted for in the past, or whose views you might normally disagree with – go on – get out of your comfort zone!).
  5. You’ll need to add your name beside an MLA on the spreadsheet.
  6. Start thinking of ways you might be able to enhance the profile of science in the public sphere

Science is vital, and science and reason have never been stronger within Northern Ireland.
Let’s make this happen.