Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society and head of he Sir Francis Crick Institute, is doing a round of media interviews at the moment.
Last week he was in the Daily Telegraph and claimed that the ‘Crick’ institute was going to be the mothership of all inventions – in every sense of the word.
Today he is in the Independent . He talks a lot about the Government’s immigration restrictions – there was a letter in The Times last week – and rightly highlights that they are hurting science.
But today he also makes what I think is an unreasonable if not naive call for science and politics to be separated from one another. Given the issues that science is dealing with, it’s importance to people’s lives and the economy, and it’s use of taxpayer money, science has no right to be left alone by politicians or the public for that matter.
In fact we have every right to ‘crawl all over it’ to use a colloquialism.
Granted there are genuine issues about how evidence is used in political debate but that does not mean science or scientists should not have to argue their case like anyone else. Indeed it is a good argument for them to become more engaged.
You could say that just as in the same way that the sector has only come to terms with the media in the last decade ( with much thanks to the Science Media Centre) it is only at the end of the beginning of its work to build a better relationship with politicians.
I am mindful that it was only last year that the Royal Society went to the party conferences for the first time and perhaps if it had come to the party earlier things might have been different.
Like the Goth at a school disco, you can only sit for so long in the corner hoping the tune will change before life becomes miserable. At some point, you realise you have to get up and take part to have more chance of seeing the song and dance change to your liking.