An early start this morning in Whitechapel in the East End of London chairing a meeting of the management group of Centre of the Cell, a fantastic children’s science educational centre about biological and medical sciences being developed inside the heart of the new medical school buildings at Queen Mary University of London . The Centre, which looks quite amazing, like a huge orange group of cells, is slowly taking shape and the team are busily testing out the interactive displays with schoolchildren, updating the website, which is already a successful educational site and finishing off the very ambitious structure. Initiatives like this, to wow local children with the exciting possibilities of scientific and healthcare careers, are vital to getting a wider range of students into medicine and the sciences, especially from east London communities but also from around the UK. Then I took a very swift tube journey to Westminster for a day of heavy listening and voting.
The Banking bill (see Lord Norton’s blog) is still ‘ping-ponging’ while I write this, hence a short break while it does its rounds in the Commons after being amended in the Lords. It’s the 150,000 small share-holders I feel most concerned about, not the big hedge fund investors and so on but the folk who received small amounts when Northern Rock was demutualised and don’t have many other savings to fall back on. It doesn’t look very good for them whatever happens. I didn’t participate personally in the debate, far too many experts in the Chamber on all sides of the House but I listened carefully and stayed for the voting at Committee stage and hope they’ll get around to the Report stage before I need to leave for a prior commitment, with Monitor, the NHS Foundation Trust regulator, on which I serve as a non-executive director. Monitor will feature in my future blogs. Almost all peers have a range of other commitments, paid and unpaid and juggling one’s responsibilities to other organisations and parliament is a constant struggle. Must go, Banking Bill is back in Chamber….