Since my last post there has been a push from European scientists for Austria to reverse its decision to pull out of CERN. Indeed this seems to have worked and Austria are now back in.
What is interesting is that there does seem to have been a worry about a possible domino effect. Reassuring words from our very own STFC:
A spokeswoman for the Science and Technology Facilities Council said: "The STFC, on behalf of the UK, has no plans to pull out of Cern."
I do actually believe them. It makes little sense for the UK to pull out of CERN at the moment, but then I'm not convinced that 'sense' has any place in decision making. I still think that the particle physicists need to be (and I am sure that they are) looking ahead to a couple of years down the line when pulling out of CERN may look more attractive to STFC.
Of course, little alarm bells in the cynical portion of my brain go off when I see phrases like
'has no plans'This is a beautiful weasel phrase employed by politicians down the ages. It means nothing.
"Today we have no plans to do X", yet tomorrow we find that X is done. Just because you do not plan to do something, it does not mean that plans cannot be drawn up and something done. Must respond to the changing landscape you know.
So if ever you hear or read , "we have no plans to..." don't get too comfortable.
ps. bonus points for getting the reference in the title.