back to article Aggrieved boffins to march on Whitehall

Thousands of white-coated boffins and their supporters are expected at a rally in London this weekend to protest against expected cuts in science funding. In common with most areas of government activity, science and engineering research funds are expected to suffer in the Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday. The …


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  1. Groaning Ninny
    Thumb Up

    Just do it!

    Cutting funding in this area is frankly insane. Once cuts are made and research (and teaching) suffer it'll be hell to build up to the levels we've managed to attain in the last few years. Basically it won't happen, and the country will have failed yet again.

    I find it amazing that people think that any cuts in this area could ever be a good thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I take it then

      you'll be turning up to the demo? :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Given police tactics...

        ...I'd not even recommend being within 20 miles of any demo for any reason

  2. Spanners Silver badge

    Be aware

    It is just possible that not all/many/any of the cuts are for economic reasons.

    I have heard it discussed that we could have had a £500 billion government surplus and we would still have had tax cuts in areas including NHS, education, science, welfare and anything else that is disliked by the Conservatives.

    1. Marky W

      Perhaps, but....

      ...just because you have money still doesn't make wasting it (or, if you prefer, 'using it inefficiently/ineffectively) a good idea.

      And BTW "I've heard it discussed" is almost as lame as "experts say" as a way of shoehorning "I think" into a comment.

  3. The BigYin

    How about...

    ...not letting a certain large mobile phone company avoid paying about £6billion*? How much research would that pay for?

    The ConDems are happy enough to see children in poverty and the middle classes squeezed, but heave fore-fend that their pals in Big Business should ever have to pay their fair share. Hence all the cuts in benefits and the increase in tax investigation - but not against the biggest tax dodgers.

    Labour would have been no better, mind you.

    Those three parties in summary:

    Labour - you will obey the machine.

    Tory - do as you are told, peasant.

    LibDem - er, well, yeah, but no, but yeah, but no, but...

  4. Richard 81

    LASERs on the head of anything you want

    I good example of the short sightedness of cutting funding that doesn't have immediate commercial potential is the LASER. They were just tools for physicists for ages, and no one had much of a clue what to do with them. Now they're one of the fundamental technologies of our economy.

    So good on 'em.

    Also, anecdote time: My dad worked in a research laboratory in Hinxton until it was shut down. They showed the local MP around the labs one day, with demos of their tunnelling electron microscopes etc. At one point the man turned around and said, "So, remind me. What's an atom?"

  5. Tom 38


    What an apt name you have.

    If we had a £500 bn surplus, the Tories would not be slashing public services, they would be slashing taxes. Let's face it, you 'heard this discussed' by Tarquin and the rest of your SWP friends.

    From the tone of your post, I'm sure you are right behind the delightful Mr Crow, who not only believes that we should have no public sector job losses, despite the country being broke, but that we should also increase public sector pensions and keep the retirement age as it is.

    Having spent the country into the ground, idiot socialists like yourselfs now carp about having to make cuts. If your union powered overlords had not spent every surplus since 97 on nanny state 'obey us' projects, laws, quangos and wars, we may have not ended up in such a shit position.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Na. Na. Na. My assholes are better than your assholes...

      From the tone of Tom's post I can only assume that Tom is spending too much time hanging around with psychopaths, or as they are more politely know as, economists.

      We ended up with our WW2 sized debt because of reckless banks that --- over the course of two decades --- spent and lent money which only existed after the UK government stepped in to underwrite the Banking's massive fuck-up.

      Under NuLabour the underwriting resulted in a pants-wettingly large chuck of government debt. Under a Tory government our underwear would still have been damp since we would have pissed away surplus-funded tax breaks on more of whatever else we wasted our money on during the 90s and the 00s.

      Now if we had bothered to invest any imagined surpluses in science and engineering we might have been spared the depressing sight of the Met spilling shocking quantities of nerd-blood on the streets of the capital, and we might now have a stronger economy like one of the few western countries not in a massively shit position, i.e., Germany.

  6. Anonymous John

    What do we want? Money!

    When do we want it? Now!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: What do we want? Money!

      You expect that with a load of scientists from different disciplines? What would actually happen there would be:

      "What do we want?"

      <umpteen different responses>

      <massive punchup>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think they would all agree on "more money",

        if not what to spend it on.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weasel politicians

    It's amazing how many of our (ha, ha, cough, snort) politicians refuse to sign EDMs for various pathetic reasons. We really need to start checking voting records, etc before voting. The whole party politics thing has got just a tad tired. I think I'm going to start ignoring the party names and focus on the person (which is, of course, exactly the opposite of how the system should work).

  8. Anonymous Coward


    boffins could just make some of their own.

    I do.

  9. MinionZero

    Science should be our number one investment priority.

    Its a competitive world. If we don't invest in our future we fall behind others and so don't have a prosperous future. Science is our future.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Ok then

      If that is the case then why did we never have our own space programme?

      Have you noticed that NASA are now hitching a lift into space using Russian rockets? even the Americans can't afford a fully fledged space programme.

      In the UK the problem is not so much lack of funding, but lack of capitalising on the results. Breakthroughs are made and then the idea sold to the US.

      Not to mention that under Labour foreign ownership of UK companies increased from 25% to 75%. So there's not many UK companies you could sell the technology to anyway.

      1. MinionZero

        @"If that is the case then why did we never have our own space programme"

        We did have our own space programme!

        We had the technical capabilities, even working rockets, just not the political will to push it forward. (Same story repeated with HOTOL and again with Skylon). It was the political elite who intentionally obstructed it and held it back. (See no real gain for the political elite when they can instead spend the money on things that far better benefit their greedy careers). So we the UK made deals with America and Europe instead. :(

        @"Breakthroughs are made and then the idea sold to the US."

        Yeah and who really gains out of these deals? ... certainly not the scientists and inventors of the technology. But the political elite gain by making deals and powerful friends, especially when they are also rewarded with directorships when they leave politics.

        @"Not to mention that under Labour foreign ownership of UK companies increased from 25% to 75%. "

        Didn't know it was that bad, but anyway it felt something like that. :( ... The thing is who really gains from selling off all our companies (which are really income assets for our country). ... Once again its the same group of rich and powerful people, basically Labour had a fire sale of the UK assets for their own Narcissistic gain and the gain of their rich Narcissistic friends. The rest of us are left to suffer in a mess of their making.

        The industrial revolution transformed this country. We could make a lot of money again (like some countries have done) but the rich and powerful obstruct any chance of us building long term value into this country again because they are instead intentionally holding everyone else back (a typical behaviour of Passive–aggressive Narcissists) while they go for short term gains like selling off the UK for their own gain.

  10. JaitcH

    It's all a matter finite budgets and infinite demands

    Whilst science research might be deserving of government financing, so do the arts and all the other demands assisted by government budgets.

    The sad fact is what with fighting Blair wars, the Wall Street fiasco, Brown's sell-off of gold at a market low point many governments are strapped for cash.

    All strata of society have to share in the pain of austerity, although pensioners needs deserve leniency.

    Sorry, guys, you'll have to suffer with the rest of us. Mind you it would be nice if bankers faced the same cuts.

  11. Tom 13

    If Science is Vital,

    it can't be left in the hands of the government.

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Bletchley AI @ ITs Work ....

    .... in the Post Modern Enigma .... with Turing MasterClasses for Budding Students

    This is what science has done for you ......... Posted on 10/8/2010 12:17:28 PM ....

    You don't really want to be anything but real nice and accommodating with bright boffins, for that which they can do, you have trouble believing.

  13. The Stainless Steel Cat


    The "arts" are going to do B. all to generate economic growth, and I'm unconvinced that the Olympics will contribute either. Better to suspend funding for arty stuff and jumped up sports days and pour the money into something useful.

  14. max allan

    Given a choice?

    OK, so you've got a choice between police and firemen today or no police/firemen today and a wonderful new anti crime/fire robot thingy next year, maybe.

    I'd rather have the safety today thanks.

    Of course, you could probably make some cuts somewhere else, but that's what the gov will propose as the only other option. Something you need vs something you'd like.

    At the end of the day, they'll do whatever they want anyway.

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