The Official Guardians of Public Health on Earth, The World Health Organisation has released a list of 13 urgent health challenges for the next decade and the world-wide problems brought about by biological aging did not make the list. To re-phrase: age-associated chronic diseases, today undoubtedly the biggest killers of humans in existence, were not important enough for the World Health Organisation to prioritise interventions against them. Check whatever world-wide top 10 list of mortality and morbidity, or if you are lazy, just check the top 5.
The MEP elections in May, 2019, has seen the birth of cross-European healthy longevity politics, but what happened since then? My question is focusing on all-European (cross-European) representation, including the big EU political arena, not on individual countries.
Here’s a new starting point to think of in politics: 1 in 500 voters support healthy longevity politics or at least prioritising aging research dramatically if you consider 0.2% of all valid votes in Germany went to The Party for Health Research (71,000 votes) & 0.2% of votes (3230) in East of England Region went to this person writing this very post.
The German Party for Health Research (Partei für Gesundheitsforschung) has been founded in 2015. You can read my interview with its founder Felix Werth here. They have been working hard to raise the profile for aging research and the demand of developing effective medicines against age-associated diseases ever since. The 71,000 votes backing them in EU elections are a very significant number, but unfortunately they would have needed to reach ~200,000 votes in order to send their candidate to the European Parliament.
And there’s me who stood as the only independent MEP candidate in the East of England Region, a complete political rookie, unknown outside of the still small world-wide longevity community and proteomics bioinformatics circles. Also a continental European science immigrant in the the extremely polarised UK.What made me confident to stand for the message of advancing healthy longevity for all is not just my longevity biology background but this being combined with my philosophy background. I spent most of my free time last year to draft a book on the (largely political) philosophy of longevity. The fact that in my constituency I was able to get 0.2% of all the votes with a ~2 week, minimal budget (spent <100 GBP for 4 mini fb campaign the day before elections), grassroots campaign shows the potential.
To enable, accelerate scientific and technological innovation political innovation is needed. What you’ve seen here in the EU elections were the first steps of the political innovation around healthy longevity as a scientific, technological and societal opportunity, that is coming your way.
Dear 3230 individuals, I feel like I should individually reach out and thank you personally, one by one (still doable I think :). You made the actual effort to understand what am standing for and without any previous exposure to longevity politics. You voted to this particular individual talking here, serving as a medium for this message: thank you, you understood the future, that the health of everything else should be enabled by robust individual health till close to the end. I expected 0.1% and 0.2% is double of that expectation, starting literally from a political zero couple of weeks ago.
And think of the backdrop of your vote: you live in an incredibly polarised country and you have voted to a continental European science immigrant with a weird name and a strange accent. You have already passed the test of genuine openness, so congratulate yourself. And this openness is going to be the key of our future.
I can safely say that the whole point of my MEP candidate campaign was to make some people consider the strength behind the opportunity of a healthy longevity politics. From a simple thesis, lots of things follow and a whole political world view can be built upon it, if framed properly. As a complete political rookie, standing as an independent, underdog candidate the main drive behind my campaign was to get positive responses out of individual people and certainly not career politics. Here I’ve selected some comments from around social media. Thank you! Will continue this one way or another.