Josh Matthews

Meta: Josh is stepping down as ALDES Chair

When my predecessor gave me a 3-hour pitch to consider the ALDES Chair at our last in-person Autumn Conference - despite having sold me 20 minutes in - I had no idea just what we’d be able to kickstart over the past two years.

We’ve met with MPs, Lords, formed working groups of world-leading experts, linked up with other Lib Dem groups including Lib Dem Women, Young Liberals, LGBT+ Lib Dems, the Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality, and many many others across STEM and beyond. We’ve also established a Discord forum where ALDES members and other liberal STEMM enthusiasts are active every day.

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Chris Lomax

"Washing day is here!"

Round our way there always used to be knocks on the door from folk selling pegs, and there was always laundry that needed putting out on the line, and inevitably, bringing in when it rained.

Maybe those were simpler times, but if you dry your laundry outside, you have a keener sense of the weather. In my view, that’s something that we could really do with learning afresh. With an ever-increasing proportion of our electrical power being dependent on the weather, it’s not sufficient only to have a “smart meter” if the ways we are attuned to use power aren’t “smart”.

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Progress on tackling Climate Change and reaching broader sustainability goals continues to be inadequate. In order to get a grip of this problem, data and its use in tracking our progress (or lack of) will be vital. Several technology and service providers are emerging with useful tools for tracking our climate and sustainability efforts. Liberals in all walks of life may benefit from investigating how to record and demonstrate progress on sustainability goals to pressure others to follow suit.

As Liberal Democrats we could take a leadership role on measuring, monitoring and reporting our climate and sustainability actions, perhaps in the councils that we lead or in our ‘day jobs.’ Daisy Cooper MP has recently commissioned a ‘climate policy dashboard’ to monitor the government’s policy progress on the Climate Crisis and there is more we can all do to drive this approach more broadly in society.

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James Belchamber

Using Discord to bring the STEMM community together

In January ALDES partnered with justLiberals, a blog and community, to further one of ALDES three aims: "To create a good fellowship amongst the STEMM community within the Party, and develop a better understanding between said communities and politicians". We started inviting ALDES members to their "Discord" - essentially, a group of chat rooms - and we've been using their platform to bring together Liberals that care about Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine.

Six months later I am excited to report on both our successes and the lessons we learned along the way.

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In a previous article I was scathing about this government's approach to education - a regressive insistence on churning out compliant automatons while employers demand creative, self-directed and specialised workers. But in their approach is a logic - that learners all need to be calibrated to a common criteria. This plays out in a national curriculum - literally, everyone learning the same things at the same point in their lives - and comes with the values (uncritical obedience and an unwavering respect for authority) that are required of any system that tries to achieve this.

I no longer believe that should be our goal.

It would not surprise you to know that, as a Liberal, I believe everything starts with - and comes back to - individuals. But education should not just be focused on the individual based on an abstract idea - we need to ground it in the practicalities and intent of education.

So let me convince you of an alternative goal: a much expanded "national curriculum", that every learner progresses through at their own pace and in their own order - and that no one person should ever come close to completing.

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