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Melvyn Bragg talks science cuts

A few weeks ago I met up with Melvyn Bragg to talk about his appointment as an associate fellow of the Royal Society. Discussions quickly turned to funding cuts, a subject about which he evidently feels very strongly. And he knows who to blame:

“I worry about politicians. Not enough of them are well enough educated in science,” he told me. “I think they have smattering but they’re not sympathetic to what is the most necessary area of our future and probably the liveliest area of our intellectual life. It’s a failure, a political failure on the biggest scale. Thank God for the House of Lords where you’ve got so many great scientists.”

He is also furious at the thought of cutting science just to balance the books. “It’s a sort of declaration of a paralysed mind if the only way to make the cuts that are necessary is to make equal misery for all. That’s easy. A clever thing would be to say, “What is forging ahead? What is essential to the fiscal and intellectual wealth of the country?” Let’s help those because they are going to take us forward. Just slashing everything is madness.”

The full interview features in this week’s Research Fortnight, out today.