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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today's evidence session

I did not get to hear all of the evidence session - a scheduled appointment prevented it. I did hear from colleagues that it was somewhat dis-heartening.

The 'future is bright' argument was wheeled out again.

Lots of hiding behind Haldane.

More on the percentage increases (a colleague of mine reckoned that the minister would not have the gall to trot that out again - hah!).

It seems that all the negative reaction has been orchestrated and so should be ignored. Now that is a compelling argument. Organisation = lies and exaggeration. Is that why we should trust STFC? They are so disorganised that they obviously must be above reproach.

The impression is that the dissenters are just fringe elements. The complainers I suppose. As a colleague says, I wear my angry scientist badge with pride.

Continuing commitment to the future of Harwell and Daresbury though it was far from clear that they had any clue of what was going to be happening there. But they were committed, so that is good. Except for all the people who are going to lose their jobs. Oh well, 'rocks on the road to a brighter future' and all that.

I am told that Prof. Sir keith O'Nions also said that other countries would be grateful to be in the position we are in. That is true, I am sure there are lots of third world countries who would love it. But as one colleague said, it is a ridiculous argument; it is like shooting someone in the kneecap and then telling them they are lucky they aren't in Darfur, where they would have been killed.

Lots of talk about how healthy physics is in the UK. Some nice slight of hand it would seem. Another of my colleagues used medical research as an example of how idiotic this argument was:
Let us imagine that it is the MRC that finds itself short of funds. It has to make tough decisions, so it decides to invest in cancer research and slash research into heart disease. Do we think that in a situation like that anyone would suggest that medical research was healthy? I think not.

There was some stuff on STP that I will not go into now. Suffice to say that there is a big disconnect happening somewhere...


Anonymous said...

"There is no crisis in physics funding and the Science and Technology Facilities Council's £80 million deficit is a "myth", Ian Pearson, the minister for science and innovation told the House of Commons Innovation Universities and Skills Committee this morning."

I just saw this news release. It seems pretty hopeless when the government claims we are making the whole thing up.

Kav said...

Not seen that yet.

It might seem hopeless but I am far from giving up, it just makes me angrier. If this is meant to shut everyone up I think it just shows that they really don't get us.

If Pearson thinks this is the case, then one has to wonder who is telling him this and why?