Everything has changed, nothing has changed

It was only this week it dawned on me that, in our gripping and rapidly daunting state of statelessness, I had entered a self-imposed state of purdah with my blog.  For no reason at all.  No more…

If you are looking for some insight on what a hung parliament will mean for science then you might be interested in the following article on ScienceInsider which assumes a Conservative/Lib Dem arrangement.  But if we were speculating before the General Election about the impact on science of a clear result, then we really are in unchartered water now.

If you want some more on the science-relevant comings and goings in parliament then check out the New Scientist’s blog ‘The S word.’ Some of you may have also seen Mark Henderson’s blog which looks with dismay at the new parliament’s make-up of MPs with a science background.  They put it at 77MPs.  We are doing our own analysis at the moment.

I was at a lecture being given by Nial Dickson (Chief Executive at the General Medical Council) at Green Templeton College last night as the news filtered through that Gordon Brown was stepping down.  As an aside you might want to check out the new Health Experiences Institute at Green Templeton College which is a welcome and innovative newcomer to the growing field of expertise.  It aims to look at the  ‘attitudes, values and experiences of people coping with illness or making decisions about their health, and to use this to make a difference.

It wasn’t too long before the after-lecture questions and discussions last night  turned to fiscal issues.  There was much talk about ‘quality improvement’ in the NHS which seems to be the new mantra for how we will survive the coming age of austerity.   Science watch this space because it is undoubtedly coming our way too.

The discussion reminded me of the supper I had with some colleagues from member charities a few weeks ago.  Our premise was to discuss what might be after the General Election and plan accordingly and I dug out my notes of the conversation today.  Seems that what I wrote then is prescient for the role of medical research charities in an era of new politics: to advocate for what is best for research of patient benefit; to be the innovators in the system and; to unsettle the status quo where this is self-serving.

In that sense nothing has changed.

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