15 November 2010

Blair and Science (again)

My first post consisted of some hand-wringing about the political class’s view of science. It touched on Blair’s reporting in A Journey of his Chief Scientific Adviser’s contribution (“faute de mieux”) to dealing with the foot and mouth epidemic - “Blow me” etc.

I was delighted to find this passage in Allan Mallison’s Spectator review (The other Prince of Darkness) of The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World by Jonathan Powell, Blair’s chief of staff, (drawn on before in a post):
When Foot and Mouth strikes, for example, Powell rings (‘most days’) a farmer in Cumbria whom Blair had met on a visit: the impression is one of surprise that there are telephones in Cumbria, or farmers who speak the language. But just when there seems no solution to the terrible plague afflicting the people of this little-known country, ‘a saviour appears in the unlikely form of the government’s chief scientist, David King’. Why, one wonders, is it unlikely that the chief scientist would be the source of cool scientific analysis?

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