Britain’s leadership in many fields of science and technology has been squandered over the years, none more so than in the aerospace industry. Back in 1965, Barnes Wallis, the inventor of the bouncing bomb, spoke about a vision of “a new Elizabethan age with Britain at the centre of a global transport network based on aerospace technology and, ultimately, hypersonic flight which would create new economic horizons”. We need to recapture that pioneering spirit.
“In the 1980s, the pro-European Union duo of Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine abandoned our hypersonic programme, classified the patents (preventing civilian development) and made clear they preferred European integration to an independent global role based on technological exploration.” (Dominic Cummings, Director of the New Frontiers Foundation)
The New Party believes that it is in the national interest to fund pure research in addition to the current emphasis on applied research. A vigorous programme of research would in itself attract funding from other countries for UK establishments which employ scientists and technologists. We would reverse the current trend away from these subjects in schools and university courses and give a new impetus to technical innovation that Britain could sell all over the world.
We would provide special incentives to encourage ‘incubator’ projects and science parks and we would underwrite low-cost development loans where appropriate. We would also ensure that Britain takes part in the type of international projects which often produce positive spin-offs for industry and the research community alike.
The New Party’s proposals for university research, as well as student recruitment, would underpin our commitment to science and technology.