back to article Is Mandy right to cut science funding?

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is to investigate government plans to take an axe to science, technology and engineering funding. Lord Mandelson has repeatedly said that spending on such subjects should be strongly tied to stuff which is likely to make money. We have pointed out the difficulty in knowing …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. N2

      But how can this be true?

      Gordon Clown said "Britain is leading the world out of recession..."


      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        To finish the line:

        ...and into depression.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I can think of better things to cut funding for... pointless wars and trident.

  3. Martin 10
    Paris Hilton

    Science, Science, Science!

    Sounds about right for this morally and financially bankrupt regime!

    First it was Education, Education, Education - they appear to have bunked off class for that one!

    The 10 year Integrated Rail Transport Strategy announced should have been Finished in 2007, you cant even bunk the fare on that one.... as it also got derailed...

    Now, today when other media reports are highlighting the need for UK Plc to go out and compete in more foreign markets based upon the (German approach) of "making real stuff" that gives "Real Money" opposed to the huge financial confidence trick of recent times.... we are supposed to can the engineers, technicians and scientists who would drive this new industrial revolution

    Mandleson is a ****, Paris - as she recognises a big c**k when she sees one!

  4. Steve Crook
    Big Brother

    Cut to the bone

    After all, with an economy based almost entirely on shopping, what possible use could we have for science and technology anyway.

    Darkness is the de-facto standard. Make a virtue out of necessity, Forget what we said last week/month/year, this is the new truth.

    Did anyone vote for this?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Science following the money

    I can't help thinking that the "Science research must deliver what market wants" attitude that has developed over last 10-20 years may well have been a factor in the "climategate" revelations .... if the UN comes to you and asks you to advise them on the dangers of climate change then there must be some implicit pressure to come up with findings that support the basic premise.

    1. Charles Manning

      Got to tout for funding

      It's getting to be like USA... Scientists competing for funding sex up their applications by trying to make them current etc. Scientists spending time doing talks and building up their image/reputation rather than getting on with the science.

      No wonder the practice of science is far from the ideal of dispassionate search for the truth. Instead it's secrecy, back stabbing and character assassination that looks more like politics or a gangland turf war.

      If this is what modern science is, well bugger it. No point in publicly funding it. May as well privatise science and leave it to the corporates.

  6. Ed Blackshaw

    If you ask me, there are better things to take an axe to...

    ...and Peter Mandelson would be fairly close to the top of the list. Preferably, this would not be a metaphorical axe.

  7. Craig Vaughton

    There's another reason.

    Given the fall in education standards since this lot took power, I'm surprised if there's enough people capable of doing any worthwhile research.

    Actually doing the research also pre-supposes we have an manufacturers left to use it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Decline has going on for years

      Ever since number of pupils obtaining As, Bs, Cs etc became political fodder the standards have been decreasing.

      The purpose of exams used to be so that employers and Universities could distinguish between between applicants and take on the brightest. Now it seems the purpose is to make the pupils feel good about themselves.

    2. Red Bren

      Where did all the manufacturers go?

      And who was in charge when they went?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Another bloody Mandy FU.

    Of course he's not right. Nothing the man says or does is right.

    1. Beelzeebub


      GB is not called 'Jonah' for nothing. Everything he touches or wishes luck to goes pear-shaped.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I see!

    If we can cut science funding and add £25 tax on every internet connection, then we MIGHT be able to sustain the entertainment industries for another three years, maybe two.

    Doesn't matter that this might turn us into a third world country, we'll still be able to pay £1 to buy a song released 50 years ago (which should really be in the public domain).

    Totally worth it, I say. Let's all vote Labour just to see what other utter shite they'll come up with next. /sarcasm

  10. Matt 116

    He is not even an MP.

    I still find it funny that a man who isnt even an MP gets to have so much power. He seems to have his fingers in more pies and have more power than Brown himself, but then again no one voted for Brown to be in charge either so at least its consistent.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    You've got a week and a bit to get your s**t together, otherwise I'm blowing Mandelsnot sky high!!

  12. Eponymous Cowherd

    Track Record

    Given his track record, If Mandelson say we *should* do something, then that is the best reason in the World for *not* doing it.

  13. Efros
    Thumb Down


    Is hardly ever right, and he definitely isn't about this one, why do we have someone with a degree in PPand E in charge of this sort of thing. If this goes through it will be on a par with John Harvey Jones' decision to slash R&D at ICI, great in the very short term but absolute disaster for any future products, or in this case graduates. Mandy needs to realize that without scientists and engineers and the products they research and develop the E in his PPE is fucked, trying to predict which piece of research is going to be the basis of a new area of industry is like pissing into the wind with the full expectation of staying dry.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real problem is

    Mandelson is concentrating on immediate gains in relatively well understood fields where Britain will be competing against other countries - most of which will still have large manufacturing bases ready to commodotise discoveries. So even if we do find something cool, we won't be able to make it.

    He should be doing a DARPA and funding seriously blue-sky research in the full knowledge that things might not work out - but if they do, we will have a field more or less to ourselves.

    In short, John Naughton is bang on the money.

    Oh and the majority of money will still go to the Russell Group of universities whether they deserve it or not.

  15. MinionZero

    So much for them investing in the future.

    Maybe we could have a fire sale for the UK instead, to find the money to pay off their huge government debts. Because by the time this bunch of out of control tyrants are finished finding ways to screw up (and screw over) the UK, we won't have much remaining other than effectively a burnt out former version of the UK. :(

    I know, how about the two faced, traitorous, Lord tyrant Mandelson being charged with treason against the UK.

  16. Dan 10
    Thumb Down


    Despite being unelected, this idiot seems to be running the country now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could be (slightly) worse

      It could still be the one eyed Scottish idiot. At least the decor will be tasteful if Mandy's running things.

  17. Graham Dresch

    What to cut

    Lets double science funding and cut Mandelson ( into hundreds of pieces )

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Ed Blackshaw

      I'll pretend I didn't understand that

      but the sad fact of the matter is, I did.

  19. Matthew Hale

    Because we all need...

    ....morons like Mandy telling us what's best. Science is only good if it makes money. Dick. He sounds like that money grubbing arsehole Drayson. At least Drayson seems fairly bright though.

  20. Martin Gregorie

    On the misunderstanding of science

    I would have thought that even a fool would know that if you understand something well enough to predict that you can make money from it, then the research has already been done.

  21. Michael H.F. Wilkinson


    nuf said

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Mandy who?

    Mandybum shouldn't even be in a position to make these decisions! How the hell does such a disreputable, hugely-hated, unelected politician get to have such power in a supposedly democratic country?

    With science currently regarded as little more than inscrutable magic by most of a technically-dyslexic population (including politicians) - not to mention the increasing influence of religious fundamentalism - it must be clear that science education is more crucial than it's ever been.

  23. Nomen Publicus
    Big Brother

    Mandy or Maggie, who can tell?

    I remember Maggie Thatcher saying almost exactly the same things.

    I feel an Animal Farm quote coming on.

    "No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Down

      Vive La Difference

      Maggie was elected. By the 3rd time the Electorate knew *exactly* what they were voting for so there can be no excuses. Irrespective of whether her policies were good or bad, she *did* have a mandate from the Electorate.

      Mandy, on the other hand, is an unelected stooge who twice disgraced himself when he *was* an elected representative.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    enough people capable of doing worthwhile research

    There are some university departments in the UK doing world-leading research, but if you look at the post-graduate students there you'll find that more than 95% of them are from abroad. Increasingly, a large proportion of the lecturers and professors were educated in other countries, too. However, as the UK continues not to invest in basic education, to what extent is this sustainable?

    (Why do these clever people from all over the world come to the UK to work? In many cases they come from countries that are poor or politically unstable so there is no possibility of doing advanced science at home. Usually they have to learn English to read scientific papers, so coming to a country where they can use English outside work, too, must seem like an advantage. I would guess that it is cheaper and easier to get into the UK than into the US, and the UK is probably more friendly towards foreigners than the US, particularly if you are a Muslim or look like you might be a Muslim. However, I don't think these advantages are enough to prop up UK university research indefinitely.)

  25. BlueGreen

    Actually there's something in this but it works both ways

    I've had experience with both academia and industry (more in the latter) and there's an attitude in academia often of being indifferent to the applications of their work, sometimes even scornful (yes, really). So they don't push their work over onto the dirty, real-world, side of the fence where it would be stressed, mangled and generally tempered until it was either improved and used, or finally shown to be nonviable. There's too often too much theory without practice there.

    And to our the business side - they are so busy getting stuff done that they are ignorant of useful prior work and do it again badly, or are outright scornful of theory (yes, really, I've heard the disparagement from this side too). Sometimes theory is just scarily hard and would involve, you know, doing some reading etc.

    There are plenty of exceptions but still comprise a small minority. Both sides need to build bridges. Basic research matters of course, but not as much as getting them co-operating and using what's already been done, and in this I have to blame business more than universities.

    1. BlueGreen


      I'm talking mainly about the IT industry.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not everything really has applications

      I was recently asked how I could "monetize my research to develop industry partnerships or spin-off companies" or some such bollocks.

      I'm a fucking theoretical astrophysicist.

      1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

        Monetize your research...

        ...and build me a goddamned warp drive.

        Stargates and or gravity manipulation tech are also acceptible.

        Either that or conclusively prove Hawking or Higgs right. Either or, let's just get moving on this allready! I'm getting old, and I want my flying cars on other planets allready.


  26. HFoster

    The worst part

    The worst part of this British governmental FUBAR is that there IS no decent opposition.

    Conservatives: led by a two-bob knock-off copy of Blair

    Lib-Dems: utterly toothless

    If I burn my British passport, how long would it take me to naturalise as a German?

    1. JohnG

      How long would it take me to naturalise as a German?

      Eight years and you have to learn German.

      Of course, you don't have to be a German citizen to live in Germany.

  27. Steven Jack

    Cuts are never popular

    Is Mandy right to cut science funding? Hmm, let me think no one is going to say yes, I'm really glad science funding is being cut, it's just what the doctor ordered.

    Cuts are bad, and there will be more to come, the political reality is that savings have to be found, sadly science funding is an issue that not all that many people care about so is less politically damaging than cuts elsewhere.

    We have a large public sector deficit and budgets everywhere are under review, these reducing aren't the first and if they didn't happen now they would have happened after the election no matter which party wins.

    For those of us to care about science funding we have responsibility to lobby for the money back plus real increases once the currently public sector squeeze has eased, but that is likely to be at least 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Cost of Science

    Lord Mandelsons current salary is around £104,000. I recently costed a 3 year research project to study potential treatment targets for untreatable cancer at £150,000 or half a Mandelson a year. As with most research in the UK this project was submitted for peer review and funding, in this case to a prominent cancer charity. The proposed research was found to be of high quality and that it could provide treatment targets for cancer patients however there was not sufficient funds to support the research.

    It is a constant struggle to find funding for research in the UK already even for relatively cheap projects, despite this the UK still has 4 universities in the top 6 in the world. Cuts in science funding would threaten one of the few areas that the UK is still leading the world in.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We should definitely cut science funding

    This country needs to focus on it's strengths, the sectors that bring in money: manufacturing, industry and banking!

    As if any country can bring in money from research and innovation. Ridiculous!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Banking, a strength, that's the funniest thing I've read all day, and I've been on The Onion...

      The only think banking is good for is bankers! As for Manufacturing and Industry....could you let me know exactly what are strengths are in those fields?? Cos the last time I checked we didn't have much of those things left here either. Doesn't China do most of the manufacturing ?

  30. Julian Bond


    How about we collide Mandy with a large hadron?

    Mine's the black one with the hole in the pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It'd take too long to clean up.

      I'd prefer it if we could collide him with a large truck. At least that way we could jetwash the stain off the tarmac.

  31. JohnG

    Public borrowing & spending

    I'm not agreeing with the Dark Lord but public borrowing is way too high and the only way to reduce it is to cut public spending. Like it or not, the axe is going to fall everywhere and that will include publicly funded scientific research.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward


      "Public Borrowing"

      Hmmmm, love the word public in their, like it's `us` that's borrowing.

      Are you referring to the billions stolen from the average serf to prop up snakes and thieves in the banking world? Or the millions poured into destroying tin pot countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and shortly Yemen, Pakistan...

      Yea, the `axe` will fall everywhere but on the very wealthy. Nothing to see here, same as it always was!

    3. Dale Richards

      Axe falls everywhere

      Is the axe also going to fall on the publicly funded War On Vapour?

  32. seanj


    I'm guessing the Labour policy-makers want less of their type getting in the way of good policy-based evidence.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So we have an £800bn hole in the national finances due to Brown bailing out the banks. That would be the banks he encouraged, as chancellor, to lend lend lend.

    So what do we do? Cut spending on almost everything. How about telling the banks that they've got to pay back all that money instead Mandy?

    Anyway I thought this unelected and seriarlly corrupt dickhead was business secretary. What the fuck has that job title got to do with funding for science, education or research. The morer I see of the government the more I am drawn to the innevitable conclusion that Mandy is actually in charge and Brown is his sock puppet.

    Any party can have my vote if they promise to outlaw the practice of giving ministerial posts to unelected individuals. Funny isn't it that Labour spend years telling us they want to abolish the lords, but are quite happy to use it to put unelected (and indeed unelectable) individuals into positions of power?

  34. David Pickering


    a cock-end.

  35. Amazed

    What strengths are these

    Hello anonymous coward

    Manufacturing...on its way out due to lack of investment in R&D and unable to compete with the big boys a few non financial British industries and apply the above comment

    Banking....having to be bailed out by the government.

    What is about the British that it seems a matter of pride to claim that they cannot understand what all this science stuff is about.

  36. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    It's simple

    Mandy and his NuLab firends carry out a scorched earth policy - destroy anything of value that you cannot put into your own pocket before the General Election so as to leave their successors in as big a hole as can be dug.

  37. Roger Jenkins

    British Manufacturing

    I am getting pretty long in the tooth and have a reasonable memory. I would like to share some historical memories with you.

    Just after WWII, I remember we used to scoff at Japanese goods, tin toys etc. 'The Japanese, the are ok at making stuff but no threat because they can't innovate'. That was the current thought.

    Britain had a thriving motor cycle manufacturing industry. My mate and I used to go to Brands Hatch and watch the bikes, AJS's, BSA's Nortons etc. great bikes. Then the Japanese came in. 2-4 and even 6 cylinder 2 stroke/4 stroke, 4-6-10 even 15 gears on 50cc, 125 cc and 250cc bikes. What a laugh, ho ho ho. R&D? We don't need it, we make the best, look they win everything.

    What happened? The Japanese were doing R&D and we laughed. They win everything now and Britain has a failed motorcycle industry. The foregoing is a lesson in failure to take seriously the value of R&D.

    1. JaitcH

      British Industry?

      There is no 'industry' in Britain, they don't even make screws here anymore, let alone complete assemblies, unless they are supported by the taxpayer.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Although your point about the LibDems being toothless is fair however I fear you miss the two man issues relating to the LibDems at the moment:

    (1) They have reneged on pretty much all the policies that people care about.

    (2) They still want PR (although Clegg seemed rather embarrassed about that on Andrew Marr's show Sunday)

    So, in short, although the LibDems may not have a track record of government to beat them over the head with they cannot even keep their promises when not only do they not have to now (they are not in power) but they also won't have to keep them any time soon (they won't get outright elected in June anyway) - add this to the fact that PR will allow the loonies in (BNP ~10% at last elections = ~60 seats and possibly the balance of power) then I think the original sentiment was rather apt.

    Remember kiddies, a vote for the LibDems = seats for the BNP.

    1. Beelzeebub


      What's wrong with voting for the B&P?

    2. Dave Ross
      Thumb Down

      Doesn't matter...

      you are still voting for lizards.

  39. NigelS


    Weren't the government not so long ago trying to encourage more children, graduates etc to "get into science" yet they cut the budget so when they've spent all those years doing science degrees and PHd's there's no jobs in science in the U.K .. backwards? .. muppets

  40. Dave 142


    Meanwhile France is boosting science spending by 35 billion Euros. Great stuff Mandy.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Better places for axes to fall...

    Government spending needs drastic cutbacks if this country is to be brought back from bankruptcy. Future growth requires investment. Since ZaNuLabour don't seem to know the difference between investment in future growth and showering their clients with free cash, I shall make some suggestions on how to fix the budget deficit:

    * Leave science's already paltry budget alone. Without manufacturing base (the unions broke that by making it uncompetitive, Maggie did the right thing by refusing to support a broken business model) we need a vibrant knowledge-based sector.

    * Savage the benefits bill. We give out more money to those who don't work than income tax raises from those we do. Abolish tax credits.

    * Raise the personal allowance to 12k. This is approximately the average hours worked at minimum wage. People genuinely poor enough to need tax credits are too poor to pay income tax. Let's not take their money from them only to inefficiently give it back.

    * Re-incentivise wealth generation by reducing tax. A flat rate will eliminate a wide array of tax dodges and 95% of HMRC's spending on calculating who should pay what. The government will take more money overall if they set the tax level right (look up the Laffer curve) and can get past this country's bizarre idea that people on higher incomes should pay higher rates of tax.

    * Scrap the final salary public sector pensions. The private (wealth creating) sector's pensions have been massacred, the public (wealth destroying) sector can follow suit.

    * Scrap the NHS. In the NHS's history it has never been copied by any other country. Everyone else leaves this to the private sector which provides better service than the NHS and generates money at the same time.

    All this would leave plenty of cash left over to invest in the things only a government can realistically provide: defence, energy and science. Sadly what would be good for the country wouldn't be good for the politicians or their clients so none of the above will happen.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Sorry, Old Bean ...

      ... I had to vote you down. I was getting ready to vote you up, until the comments about scrapping the NHS. Just becausue no-one else does it doesn't mean it isn't right, or even one of a range of right answers. I'll never support anyone that wants to bring in a corrupt insurance-based system such as the terminally flawed US one. I am more than happy to pay lots of tax in order to ensure that no-one in this country has to go without health care because they can't afford it.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Fix what's actually broken

      You should *NOT* scrap the NHS because it provides a vital service. Maybe not for you, you might have Bupa or somesuch, but for those who can't afford private medical coverage, it is there.

      Or would you rather poor people (which, looking at medical cover websites, would be a lot of minimum-wage workers) puking in the street and practically dying on their feet because they can't get assistance? It could be argued that a large number of minimum-wagers ARE the backbone of what industry remains. Trashing them a little more would eventually be counterproductive.

      But, there's a lot of room for improvements. How many administrators does a hospital need? Is middle-management that necessary? Kick out the whole bloody lot and bring back matrons. I mean the ones with the folded hats and the ability to bring a first year intern to her knees just with a look. Oh, and bring back the cross-over pinafore top. Before my time, but definitely cute. :-)

      MPs pay rises should be in line with inflation, no more. If they think they need more, it should go to a public vote (haha, ITV Saturday night, hosted by Ant&Dec!). No more "expenses" for stamps and stuff. A jobseeker has to pay for their own stamps, so should MPs. If they don't like this, they can sod off and get a real job. ABSOLUTELY no expenses for second properties. Got a problem? Move. Or commute. Just stop whinging and actually, like, _try_ to represent the people once in a while. You know, the job description?

      Absolutely NO publications to be made available except in English; except for Wales/Scotland where Welsh/Gaellic can be alternatives. If a family speaking Urdu needs help, there ought to be a translator somewhere in the country that they can call, but no handling out all the paperwork in anything OTHER than English. I expect, as a resident in France, to be spoken to and receive papers in French. It would sometimes help to have stuff in English, I'd estimate I can understand around 70% of things, but I'm afraid if stuff was given in my language, I'd probably hand it back. You either try to integrate, or you don't. And if you don't want to, you're here because...? How much money is being lost making and providing these translations and the support services that go with it? (remember, a form written in <insert language> will be filled out in <language>!)

      I think by clearing up the muck you'll find a surprising amount of money. Perhaps enough to revive British Rail for a good commuter network is a useful benefit to business. A certain country beginning with 'J' that I shaln't mention <grin> has a train system that works to the second. France isn't far behind, our local trains are only late if they hit cows/people/cars that get in the way. Britain? Welcome to the country when the trains _NEVER_ run on time. Maybe it's more perception than truth? I don't know, it's been a long time since I used the Guildford line, and at times it wasn't only late, it didn't run at all. I gave up looking at the timetable and used to just wait for the next train. Sometimes I'd get on even when it wasn't going where I wanted to go because it was less boring than sitting there like a lemon. What does that say about the country?

      I know having smart people runs counter to Labour's paranoid delusion, but anybody with half a brain would INCREASE funding in science, technology/IT, and re-introduce languages. Who are the big trade partners? When I did some college, the hot thing was German and Japanese. Should we now be learning Chinese and Arabic? Then again, how about teaching people some English first?

      Oh, and a final point - back to the NHS.

      Please read

      See also

    3. The Original Steve


      As with Pothead above (or below - can't remember how this 'forum' works), with you all the way until the NHS point.

      Access to health services should be (if it's not already) a basic human right, and I would agree with everything you say but pay a reduced National Insurance to fund just the NHS.

      A country full of unhealthy citizen isn't a healthy country

  42. John A Fotheringham

    Same old, same old

    Back in the 1980's the Kendrew report looked into funding of UK particle physics. They concluded that we won more Nobel prizes per capita than any other subject or nation, delivered large scale projects on time and on budget (those were the days!), and were producing interesting science.

    They also concluded that funds should be cut by 25% and came very close to taking us out of CERN. That was what made me decide to abandon a career in science. It sent the clearest possible signal that science wasn't valued in this country.

    Politicians can't see science for the money involved. They're like accountants, they see the money first, and only dimly percieve what it's being used for second. They have very limited short term vision (they seldom look further than re-election in 4 years, and often don't look that far). In short they shouldn't be trusted with the year-to-year allocation of funds to science projects, and they certainly shouldn't be allowed to play politics with it.

    They're certainly no judge of what will pay off. In the same way that you have to trust that "more education" is a good thing, we should hold to the faith that R&D is a "good thing" will pay dividends, even if we can't yet see how.

  43. JaitcH

    Mandelson is FAILURE epitomised!

    Mandelson is, personally, a failure, whose immediate career path will hopefully come to an abrupt end.

    He doesn't know much about his job as can be discerned by reading his proclamations.

  44. Sillyfellow

    way to destory local innovation

    just realise that when an inventor in England has ideas worth researching and developing, then they can expect no help or success whatsoever in their home country.

    and so then what happens next? i'll tell you. they either: try to develop this on their own with very limited resources and support, or...

    they spread the word around a bit about their ideas and predicament (UK will not support innovators) and (just maybe) others in other countries will see the potential and resulting opportunities, make an offer, and then it's goodby england. who will benefit from this and who will not?

    England and it's useless government will loose out on any revenues (tax) from such work being done in another country, and it's resulting profits. as well as any other benefits like being able to say england has great innovators. because they won't have any longer.

    one word can sum up this ridiculous situation: Idiotic.

    Dear Government

    thanks for Nothing !!

    i'll call you from Germany, Japan, or even China. and LAUGH at you and what you could have had, when the time comes. and remind you that it was all your own doing.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Astute Classy Movements in Post Modernist Admirable Fields of Fleet AIResearch Arms

      How very perfectly expressed, Sillyfellow. A rotten to the core mole in the pay of a bent foreigner could not do any better than a unelected Lord at the heart of dodgy intellectually lame and visually strategically impaired government in a time of a serial national crises. Criminal Incompetence and Treason are not words which fail to reflect the Gravity of a Decade of Crass Ignorant and Arrogant Vacuous Spin.

      However, there is much afoot and Opportunities Galore to Right Wrongs and Rewrite Histories containing the Grinning Blare of Bad Memories in Glaringly Bad Decisions with Novel Innovative Chapters which Create Brighter Futures rather than Bogging One down in the Blight that Fights against the Unveiling of Truth. ........ but Every Cloud has a Silver Lining and some Sparkle with Brilliance in the Sunlight. And what is Concealed and Protected within, is Always a Beautiful Mystery of Nature, with only an Educated Entertained Guess at what the Future Phormations would be....... which is not at all, dissimilar to this Stealthy Virtual Servering of NEUKlearer Trigger Information for Prime Targets of CyberIntelAIgent Engagement ....

      TitanICQ Rain for Perfect Tempestuous Storm Clouds ...... Tuesday, 19 January 2010 at 09:51 am (UTC) ....

      And so full of the Eastern Mystery Currency that Powers Peoples' Potential in Promising Emerging Technologies and Novel Methodologies with Advanced Analytical Algorithms. ........ which is sometimes cloaked in the Voodoo Guises which are Mojo and JuJu with Yin and Yang and Ego and Id with all Casting their Spells for Ascendance and Elevation into Play with Valuable Lessons for Super-Ego.

  45. Britt Johnston

    like football, like science

    Science and engineering, like football, were something Britain was good at in the early days.

    When Brits stopped doing much, and only talked about things, they had to bring in foreigners to get results.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good game but too much micromanagement in later stages.

    It seems Mandy learned about the world by playing the Civilization series. He thinks there's a map of technology we don't yet have, what it can do for us and what to research now to get it.

  47. davenewman

    Stop funding mental masturbators

    There are plenty of things we need to do now to save the world: on the environment, financial crises, and making people happier. This needs innovation that cuts across disciplines: not lots of money spent on going over the same thing again and again so it can be published in journals nobody reads. That's just mental masturbation.

    Years ago the theoretical physicists produced a bomb. Since then they have received lots of cash in the hope that they can repeat that, while teaching only 8 students per teacher. Let's cut off their money and spend it on applied areas like engineering, management, accountancy - and in particular on interdisciplinary projects to solve important problems.

    Where I disagree with Peter Mandelson is what is important - projects to save people from starving, or dying in earthquakes are more important than ones to make rich people richer.

    1. Rockandrollsuicide

      @ davenewman

      ?? Spend more on management and accountancy ?? The reason we're in this mess is due to worthless managers and accountants.

  48. David 45


    That man shouldn't even be put in charge of the skin on a rice pudding.

  49. Robert E A Harvey
    Paris Hilton


    "Is Mandy right to cut science funding?"

    Can you make me a list of the last six things Mandy was right about?

    Paris: she has more integrity

  50. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Remember Michael Faraday's words to a politican

    When asked what's this "Electromagnetism" good for?

    "I don't know, but I'm sure you will tax it."

    Just a thought.

  51. heyrick Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    They won't want my suggestion...

    ...that Mandy should just f**k off.

    iHate icon 'cos there's no Mandy-with-horns icon so this is the best I can do.

  52. zooooooom

    Its not just science

    This (or the tories for that matter) regard education and research as a vehicle to generating business people, business ideas, and innovation. Those things are by products of a strong university sector for sure, but the guys in charge will destroy the immense asset and strength that we have in our universities in the process of turning the sector into a product and profit centre, something better suited to the private sector and industry. Mandy's a fool. He doesn't understand why people want to be researchers, or what the benefit ot the country is when they do.

    John Smith - they did indeed tax electromagnetism :-D

  53. Anonymous Coward

    NHS Funding

    The detail that follows was left out of my original post as it was long enough already but since people have picked up on the NHS scrappage, I will elaborate.

    The NHS costs the country 100 billion a year to provide a piss-poor service. It is manifestly obvious that it is incapable of managing itself properly. This is because there is no incentive to be better due to there being no competition. Scrap the NHS and create a healthcare market to create competition and provide the service without the staggering waste and incompetence we see currently.

    If we apportion NI into equal parts for NHS and pensions that makes 5.5% of gross income (less pitiful personal allowance) for healthcare. Compare that 5.5% with the cost of private healthcare. Not looking so good now is it? The reason more people don't have private healthcare is that while paying for private cover, they still have to pay for the failure of the NHS. The answer is to have a state-sponsored cover scheme (using NI contributions) that buys basic cover from the private sector. All employees must either be part of the state scheme or opt out of both state cover *and* NI. That way you have both universal cover and a market to drive better services in a way that state-imposed top-down target culture never can.

    A similar argument and solution can be made for state and private pensions. An employer-linked final salary scheme (prior to Gordon Clown's incompetence closing most of of them) would typically have employee contributions of 3-4% of salary and there would be a definite link between contributions and pension income in retirement. Compare that to the 5.5% contributions that give a flat rate state pension. The state system's looking a bit shit again isn't it?

    The solution I favour isn't far from what has already been suggested as a solution to the trashing of the pension schemes. By a government sponsored study no less. Each person should have their own state-managed pension account so their contributions are used to benefit them.

    The thrust of scrapping the NHS would be a major step towards the small state, low tax regime that we desperately need for prosperity in this country. The perception is that healthcare is free. It's not, as I've detailed above, it's staggeringly expensive and inefficient but the British public have this blind spot for the NHS that protects it from its miserable failure. It is an article of faith for the public that "NHS is good" and that belief is unassailable and will be irrationally defended in exactly the same way that religious belief would.

    Ditch the inefficiency of state-managed healthcare and we'll have a great deal of money to pay down Labour's accumulated debt and properly fund things like defence and science.

    After all that, Mandy's an ignorant, short-sighted fool who should be boosting science spending not cutting it ;)

  54. Rockandrollsuicide

    New car anyone?

    Instead of cutting science research we could just stop giving wealthy people £2 grand to scrap their perfectly good used car (which they could probably sell for a similar price) in order to save 80 jobs in the west midlands. While we're at it we could stop giving subsidies to motor manufacturers who threaten to move production elsewhere. They won't move very far if we start taxing their imports.

    And before anybody starts whining about unemployment or new cars being better for the environment - those 80 people could be re-deployed building a proper road network around London. The engines of the perfectly good 10 year old cars could then burn at higher efficiency doing useful work instead of spending most of the time idling on the <insert number of your local traffic jam here>.

    Hey presto! Economy, environment and science all saved.

  55. sgt101

    R&D in the UK

    I have an advantage over you lot - I am a paid scientist in a large UK commercial company.

    Here are my observations in case anyone reads them.

    The University sector in the UK is extremely good, in the US it is much better. European universities are no where in comparison.

    UK academics are foolishly smug.

    A great deal of the research undertaken in UK universities is total cock. The peer reviewers know it is going no where - in the sense that not only will it never impact on the life of the people who are paying for it, or the lives of their children, but it will never be of interest to the other people working in the field beyond the narrow community that the proposing team and the reviewing team are working on. This could be fixed by building larger teams (3 per key subject area in the UK) and funding them to do what they want and allowing them to be publically humiliated if their research is poor. This is how good science actually should work, the peer reveiw process is much better than the government deciding, but I say use it once every 5 or 10 years to decide on who does what in a general area (for example PEV research or AI or Software Engineering) and then leave the PI's to spend the f'ing money how they see fit. If they screw up and don't create and maintain a team that is recognised as *the best* in *the world* then they can *get lost* and *find something else to do*

    The EPSRC and other colleges are parochial and provincial; they cannot be relied on.

    My belief is that if this was done the 3 or so teams in each area would forge strong links with UK industry and would produce genuinely high quality work - driven by curiosity and a deep and developed understanding of what is important.

    It takes 10 years, at least, to get good at something - R&D is no exception. The problem in the UK is that we are not building a system that can provide that time and then exploit the result to the full.

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Personal Experience

    Cut Science Funding my personal experience.

    After the funding cuts of 2001/2002 to the UK Research Councils I was made redundant in 2003, my age 56 so the chances of a job in the UK in my speciality was remote. After a year without work I found a position in a European Research Institute, where I am currently still working. My wife came with me. Thanks to Gordon Clown my income is almost doubled after his sterling work to ensure the pounds parity with the Euro.

    Current score:-

    2 uk university graduates now working abroad.

    My eldest son graduated from a UK university, after 3 months he found work in Europe in the subject he graduated in. He is currently living in Australia, has done for the past 5 years. Still working in his graduated subject.

    Current score:-

    3 uk university graduates now working abroad.

    My youngest son has just finished his PHD in the UK, and has accepted an offer from a research institute in the USA, he starts in June.

    Current score:-

    4 uk university graduates now working abroad.

    My daughter and her husband are both UK university graduates, she was made redundant 15 months ago.

    She currently works part time as a university lecturer, she would like a fulltime job.

    Her husband currently works in a call center, he very nearly didn't get the job (he speaks Chinese Mandarin, his joint degree includes Chinese, they spent a year in Shanghai) because of his language skills he was given the job!. He also wants a full time position (my advice to them "Go to China" working for an expat organisation).

    Current score:-

    6 uk university graduates - 4 working abroad and 2 part time in the UK

    Do you see a picture in this?

    UK science and engineering degrees are well regarded internationally, so the UK can educate as many scientists and engineers as they like but if the jobs don't exist in the UK (due to funding cuts) these people WILL move abroad.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    at sgt101


    The University sector in the UK is extremely good, in the US it is much better. European universities are no where in comparison.


    Sorry but I beg to differ on this subject. if you have a look at the list of the Nobel Prize for Physics

    and/or Chemistry, you will see a lot of European universities/research institutes represented.

    The UK is only how starting to fund some of the facilities (Diamond Light Source ) which the Europeans have had for years. In fact the Diamond Light Source shows how bad funding is in the UK as other physics projects are almost decimated by the funding needs of Diamond.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how many regtards posting here in apparent defence of science

    ... are the same tools who dominate threads to deny that climate change is happening?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like