Last night I heard a speech by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser. It was more evidence of the government’s bulging wasteline.
Without a reference to the Credit Crunch or the borrowing disaster he told us he was just completing his project of hiring a Chief Scientific Adviser for every government department. With no sense of irony – or doubt about the wisdom – he told us the Foreign Office has just hired one for the first time. If we managed to get through the World War and the Cold War without the Foreign Office having its own Scientific Adviser, why do we suddenly need one? Why can’t the Foreign Office if it needs scientific advice ask the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, or draw on the science skills in the Ministry of defence?
The main purpose seemed to be to combat the loneliness he feels in the EU, where apparently only Ireland has an equivalent job to our Government Chief Scientific Adviser. Germany, with better controls over public spending and with an excellent science based industry we were told sees no need for such a role.
I would be happy to settle for keeeping a Chief Scientist for the government as a whole, but doubt every department needs its own. No wonder we are short of money, when there is this kind of bureaucratic expansion going on.I remember having to stop the Welsh Office appointing more economists to do forecasts – I said to them I was happy to use the Treasury’s which taxpayers were already paying for.