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Friday, November 06, 2009

The appliance of science

The sacking of David Nutt as the Government's scientific advisor took a new turn today with the admission by Science minister Lord Drayson that the scientific community is right to be upset by the decision.

According to the Guardian, Lord Drayson has committed the government to producing guidelines by Christmas to ensure the independence of its scientific advisers. Although he defends the right of the Government to ignore David Nutt's advice, the promise of new guidelines amounts to an admission that the sacking was wrong:

He said the events of the past few days had brought the concerns of scientists and their relationship with government to the top of the agenda. "If I had been consulted by the home secretary [before he sacked David Nutt], I would have had an opportunity to have said to him that there is a rumbling concern within the academic community with regards to the independence of scientific advice."

Drayson was in Japan last week when Nutt was sacked and returned to the UK on Tuesday. He has spent the past few days in meetings with cabinet colleagues, government science advisers and members of the scientific community in an attempt to find out why he was not consulted about the sacking and also how the government could come up with a solution.

The minister's initial response, leaked in an email earlier this week, was to say he was "pretty appalled" by the decision. But he later said that both the home secretary and the prime minister had assured him they understood the importance of independent scientific advice and academic freedom.

It seems that Labour have forgotten how to present a united front, either that or the government really is starting to disintegrate under the weight of its own contradictions. It is just as well that the Government has somebody like Lord Drayson to bring the scientific commuity back on board otherwise the whole system of independent advice would fold beneath them.
It's the same as an MP if an MP knows something to be wrong I'd expect him to say so, because after all we need to know when a government is making a mess of something. Same as these special advisor who are unpaid, if they know something to be fact and the government ignored it then sadly they have to inform the public.

Drugs for about two years I helped out for free at a drug rehab unit, boy tell you something it opens one eyes. But not once in two years did I see anyone asking for help from using canabis.
The Drugs side of this blog is a whole new can of worms....

On the subject of science; there has been a complete and utter dropping in standards in Science, it's been very much pushed to the back (bunsen) burner. While the number of students going to university has rocketed, the numbers going to do the sciences and engineering have remained roughly the same levels as the 1980s.

Manufacturing Industry has shrunk and very much been transferred to the third world and Eastern Europe, only to be replaced by Telephone call centres.

In October 2005 I went for a job paying a mere £9,000 per year, the shortlist consisted of five people, three of which were Science graduates (including myself). Such is the demand for scientist in Wales that graduates are forced to work in poorly paid jobs which doesn't involve using the skills and knowledge that have been developed whist at University.
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