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UK Scientists Leave Labs To Protest Expected Cuts

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the labour-practices dept.

Government 315

uid7306m writes "The UK government is planning an austerity budget, in the wake of the financial crisis and banking bailouts. This involves a 25% overall cut in the government budget, and the indications are that it will hit UK science and university budgets strongly. In response to this, a campaign has started that has managed to get scientists out of their labs and into the streets."

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first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850672)

first

Hate to say this... (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850682)

But unless people have failed to notice, europe(and the UK along with it) is in some pretty bad financial straights. Science is a necessary thing, but if people and government has to take the pick between funding science or covering things like civil protection(police), medical/fire services(hospitals, doctors, ems response). It's pretty easy to tell where the cuts are going to happen first.

Usually science, followed by teachers and police, followed by fire services, then medical.

Re:Hate to say this... (5, Insightful)

metageek (466836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850696)

Sorry but you are arguing for fixing a short term issue by destroying the long term success of the country (people). Actually, the issue that got us into this mess is the one that should be cut, not the only sector of government spending that can pull us out of this mess. Worse even, you could cut all of science entirely and that would not even make a dent in the economy. Whereas if we stopped going around the world dropping bombs...

Cut war budget first, then health. Those are the only two that can fix the problem. And even if they don't do it now, they will have to do it at some point. There is no escape.

Re:Hate to say this... [off topic] (2, Interesting)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850988)

Funny. I do not get offendend by counter-arguments, but I become automatically offendend when it starts with "sorry".

Re:Hate to say this... [off topic] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851060)

Sorry. I do not get offendend by counter-arguments, but I become automatically offendend when it starts with "funny".

Re:Hate to say this... [off topic] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851148)

I do not get offendend by counter-arguments, but I become automatically offendend when it starts with "sorry".

Sorry.

Re:Hate to say this... (0, Offtopic)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851068)

How about we cut the welfare budget? Let people get what they earn, rather than what the govt gives them. That'll save 200bn a year.

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851252)

Interesting, advocating cuts to health... This is an area that's been receiving quite a few cuts in recent years (though they've quietly slipped in unanounced; they're called "efficiency savings", where a department automatically gains 3% less than in a previous year, as they're supposed to increase in efficiency year on year).
The alterations to the NHS (removing the entire Primary Care Trust layer) is a massive cut from the budget, and handing the reins of fiscal responsibility to GPs is going to be interesting. It'll save money, no doubt about it; a cut by restructuring.
And cut more? Well, that'll probably mean that some hospitals are shut down to save money. Nice on paper, having things consolidated in a few hospitals. Not so nice when you have to travel 30 or 40 miles (or more) to get to a hospital. Can't get around? Oh, shame that. Lose someone because they couldn't get to an Emergency Department quickly enough due to cost cuts? Shame that. I'm sure you'll still find the cuts worth it if that happens.
Keeping health going is a pretty smart move. When hard times strike, people tend to fall ill more (Stress factors, poorer diet, so on, so forth), so it's expected that greater demand will be placed on the service.
Besides, it's an easy call to say "Just cut this", and think you're smart. Follow the lines of money and production; look at all the dependant industry that latches into this too, what relies on it. Is the revenue from associated industry sufficient to help subsidise the main industry?
There are a huge amount of factors in play, and it's a delicate web. Even the people with as many facts in their possession as possible quietly admit that it's really a calculated gamble without simple and easy answers.

Re:Hate to say this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851404)

With welfare/health at nearly 75% of spending, cutting anything other (including defence) is rather pointless.
Secondly, the defence budget is small as it is and most costs are one-time costs due to the equipment is in vast need of improvement thanks to Labour forgetting about our defence capabilities. (e.g. we only started using encrypted radios for Iraq, our planes are over 40 years old in some cases!). So even cutting anything here will save absolutely nothing.

Nah, just stop paying people to have kids (1, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851488)

the UK pays people for their kids if they are in school, then thrown in all the horror stories of deadbeat families with pads bigger than most higher income people coupled with wide screens and the like and we can see that the UK suffers from an entitlement society of the worst kind. When you are in financial straights like the UK (the US needs to get a hint) everything must be on the table, even if it slows you down in the future a bit, if you don't make it to that future what did it matter?

Re:Hate to say this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850704)

And that is the scientists problem how? If they don't like the way things are going, they have every right to strike...

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

metageek (466836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850726)

Whose going to strike? The alternative is emmigrate to USA, France or Germany, all of which are increasing their science budget and will love to welcome the bright minds. That's what 30-year old scientists are going to do. I know many of them, wave them goodbye and when you see them creating the next Google in the USA, just remember that you got rid of them.

Re:Hate to say this... (2, Insightful)

turgid (580780) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850894)

The UK has always been a terrible place for scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs trying to develop new technology. Just like everywhere else, we have great ideas but there is a total lack of vision when it comes to implementing them or even entertaining the idea that something may be useful in the future.

I'm really disappointed with this new government's science policy. It is very similar to a Thatcherite one from the 1980 where the government would cut back science research and development spending and "target" what was left at things that would be or might be immediately useful to industry.

That's not science, it's corporate technology R&D. It's the sort of things that companies can and should do.

Re:Hate to say this... (3, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851322)

The UK has always been a terrible place for scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs trying to develop new technology.

Wow... have you actually made science in a UK University/Institute or are you talking out of our ass?

I made my PhD and graduated from a UK University (5 and my experience is completely the opposite. In my department, there was a complete freedom on what researchers wanted to do.

In addition, funds where available without any trouble and in my case (self-funded by my government) I even had the chance to participate in a research project with other 2 universities and other 3 industry partners (actually, I always thought that it would be better if the Universities focused on more applied research... because the industrial partners were not interested in the theory we were researching).

In comparison to say, Mexico (where I am from) or Germany (where I am currently doing a Post-Doc) I can tell you that doing research in the UK was a complete pleasure. As researchers we had EVERYTHING at our fingertips (eg., huge library, or access to scopus.com and ANY periodical or proceeding I wanted).

I hurts me reading this news, as even though I know some people (back in Mexico) who does science with very restricted means; I appreciate the possibilities opened by having enough resources.

Re:Hate to say this... (3, Interesting)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851356)

The Thatcher government was voted in after the Winter of Discontent, where there was no money left in the coffers; the country had effectively shut down.
The plan was to cut the fat, streamline the economy, kick start industry to give a stable base to grow from. When you have a strong economy, you can afford blue sky science. When you can't pay to keep the streets clean, the dead buried and disease at bay, investing in something that may, or may not, give you extra comfort 30 years down the line is a bit of a waste of money. And when the economy became vibrant, and the long term investments were starting to be embarked on, there was a huge shift in government (mid right to quite strongly left), and social policy became more important than long term investment. Lots of the UK infrastructure got sold off at bargain basement prices simply to keep the populace smiling and thinking that everything was a bed of roses under the government of the day.
So, now, once again, we have no money (thanks to the global financial crisis) and no reserves (thanks Gordon Brown), so someone has to make really hard decisions on what will put the country on a track to long term stability rather than making things feel easier on the average person and leave a ruin for the next people in government. So far, I'm finding the coalition quite interesting. Not as harsh as a full on Conservative government would be, yet not as soft as a Lib Dem Government would be. They each temper the more excessive directions the other would take with an unchallenged majority.
Yes, we're probably missing a trick or two that would let us be that little more agile and effective, but also we're probably missing a mistake or two that could lead to catastrophe..
No, I'm not unaffected by all this, but I can make out a rational plan that's hailed as a beginning of recovery, not the end of it.. And that honesty, I'm finding refreshing..

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851000)

We are already emmigrate to those countries em mass.

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

19061969 (939279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851224)

I left 3 years ago when the writing on the wall about scientific funding just go too obvious for even me to miss.

Now, instead of being a research fellow in a 5* department doing international quality work (publications and conferences / symposia), I left to do work designing things in the direct marketing industry. Sad really considering that before, I was contributing towards better cancer management in primary care and now I design websites and get them past clients' stakeholders, and so on.

On the other hand, I'm earning four times what I did in research. I work freelance so I have to live on contracts now, but I was on living on contracts in research too. Sorry folks, I have a family to support and they are my priority.

Re:Hate to say this... (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850730)

The important thing is that they made sure to save the rich bankers from their stupid decisions.

That's a good thing and justifies laying waste to science.

High pensions and special medical plan s for politicians are also much more important that basic research.

Especially since any successful basic research would be quickly monetized with cheap chinese labor undercutting any potential return on the investment in scientific research.

Re:Hate to say this... (4, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851058)

People don't seem to get it, you all think the government bailed out these banks because they are rich and influential. Wake up, the bailouts happened to ensure the average worker got paid the next week. if the banks went under payroll would stop, atm's would stop dishing out money (even if it is rightfully yours) and basically the entire economy would grind to a standstill. It sickens me to see all those bankers that made bad decisions get saved, but it was a NECESSARY evil.

Re:Hate to say this... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851116)

No, having a banking system is a necessary evil, saving the banks was not. Capitalising say 5 new banks with the bailout money (from the UK alone) would have massively increased lending (probably too much so), these new state funded banks would have had an easy time finding property and employees since the old banks would have been utterly crushed (punishing their share and bond holders in the process, which they darn well ought to have been after allowing them to be so woefully mismanaged). Mechanisms already exist for dealing with failing banks, instead we have had and will continue to have years of zombie banks floating around not doing enough lending while their balance sheets slowly recuperate through their ability to abuse the yield curve.

Re:Hate to say this... (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851174)

But it was a NECESSARY evil.

No it wasn't. They could have simply taken control of the banks instead of bailing them out. There was no need to leave any of the people in control or ownership who were in control or ownership at the time they caused the crisis. Oh, some of them should have been kept on as management, possibly in return for being allowed to keep some of the old pay they stole, but none of them should have been allowed to return to the ownership and control they had.

If this had been done right, the various countries which did the bail outs would soon be in a situation where they could start selling the banks for a profit. .

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851446)

Exactly. That's why, while I dislike the idea of bailing out the banks, I understand it's necessity. Without banks, no one can get a loan - that means fewer purchases of cars and homes and people not being able to go to college because they can't take out loans. Modern society is so dependent on loans that without banks to provide those loans, everything screeches to a halt.

Re:Hate to say this... (2, Insightful)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851478)

Congratulations: you're one of those they duped.

Workers wouldn't get paid the next week? God, you'll fucking believe anything.

Re:Hate to say this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851528)

Seeing as the free market clearly cant be trusted with things like banks, we needed to TAKE them. It benefits 60-odd million people for the sake of a hundred people no longer being millionaires despite fucking up their job? What a shame. Cry me a fucking river.

Re:Hate to say this... (0, Offtopic)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850742)

Mwaw, still way behind the US in terms of financial straights. Here in Europe they just spend the money we have on the wrong things. Especially in the UK where the government really knows when you took a leak.

Re:Hate to say this... (2, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850820)

Actually in terms of debt-to-GDP ratio of the US is about the same as most European countries(and well below Japan which investors seem to think is an incredibly "safe" place to park money for whatever reason). Current account deficits are another story though.....

Re:Hate to say this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851124)

Actually in terms of debt-to-GDP ratio of the US is about the same as most European countries(and well below Japan which investors seem to think is an incredibly "safe" place to park money for whatever reason). Current account deficits are another story though.....

I'm not sure what you mean by "current account deficits". Are you referring to unfunded liabilities? If not, what makes the US look like it's better off financially is that the published debt only accounts for the debt Congress has approved and funded. The debt we have that Congress has not funded dwarfs the funded debt. Our unfunded liabilities are thought to be anywhere from $60-100 trillion, depending on who you talk to.

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851368)

Current account deficits is a pretty well defined term, it's basically the deficit the government is running THIS fiscal year. And if you don't think Europe has a massive amount of unfunded liabilities I have some bonds I would like to sell you. Top quality!

Re:Hate to say this... (4, Interesting)

cgomezr (1074699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850780)

Some government spendings, in my particular country (Spain), that should be cut before science:

- Subsidies for the local film industry
- Subsidies for coal mining (which, apart from polluting, is not even profitable, they just keep it so miners can keep their job - it would probably be better to pay them a salary for life for doing nothing and close the mines once and for all)
- The 30K (!) official cars that different government officials, mayors, etc. have
- SGAE (i.e., the local version of the RIAA) and the so-called Ministry of Culture which seems to spend half of its time protecting copyright while impeding access to culture
- Ministry of Equality (which creates blatantly unfair "affirmative action" laws)
- Unnecessary spending due to having too many intermediate government layers (central government - autonomous community (~"state") governments - provinces - mayorships: at least one layer - arguably, two - are unnecessary, and this is a huge money sink)
- The military, of course
- The Catholic church (yes, that's right, our government gives money to the church)
- Subsidies to promote local languages

And I could keep listing. There are lots of things that can be "picked" for financial cuts before the ones you say. Cutting science spending while leaving these is an insult to intelligence.

In Germany, they have decided to make budget cuts in almost everything but science. In Spain it's the opposite, science is suffering the steepest cuts. But then, of course, Germany is the country that is already soaring out of the crisis with a two-point-something GDP growth, and Spain is the country with 20% unemployment that hasn't seen light at the end of the tunnel yet.

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850978)

Yes, minister.

Re:Hate to say this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850782)

True enough.

But the UK does have a military that one could cut into first (war is expensivbe after all). Not to mention that the French or the Irish aren't going to invade any time soon, and I doubt that you need THAT much of a budget to keep Argentina away from the Falklands.

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850872)

Not really, one industry (banking) had a minor fuck up. It's doesn't deserve the crisis response it got. We're nowhere near cutting teachers and police and I don't think we will be.

Re:Hate to say this... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850880)

Just cut the pay for all the people who got us into this situation in the first place...

Politicians.

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850992)

Not politicians, bankers. Those clowns who came up with the brilliant idea of toxic instruments and nearly brought down the world financial industry. Now I know I'm going to get jumped on by libertarians but at the end of the day it doesn't matter what the government of the US did first, the fact of the matter is that this was caused by lots of stupid rich people from all over the world.

Re:Hate to say this... (2, Interesting)

Thomasje (709120) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850908)

What's with the fixation on spending cuts? How about we leave government the way it is, and make up for the budget shortfalls by raising taxes on the rich? Seriously, if there's one segment of the population that's been making out like bandits over the last 30 years (while the rest of us went nowhere), it's them. How about we end the neocon nonsense and start redistributing some wealth already? It's not like the rich are spending it on anything that benefits the common good. Trickle-down economics, don't make me laugh.

Re:Hate to say this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851104)

What's with the fixation on spending cuts? How about we leave government the way it is, and make up for the budget shortfalls by raising taxes on the rich?

Getting more money without controlling spending does little good. The budget will grow to consume the extra income, and then sooner or later something new will happen and there will have to be spending cuts. What then? Or is it that you just want to punish "rich" people (not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Last year I paid $210,000 in taxes on income of $635,000. Are you saying I didn't pay enough?

I love to say: 'The sky is NOT falling!' (3, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850918)

europe(and the UK along with it) is in some pretty bad financial straights.

The current "global economic crisis" is more a about distribution of wealth than anything else... Money is plentiful, it's just more concentrated now than ever.

"Revolutionary Science" is a good way to correct the wealth imbalance. Disruptive technology will come along that will make the plutocrat's current investments obsolete. For example...

Utility stocks were always a popular way to concentrate wealth because they pay a consistent dividend.

What if someone comes up with an internal combustion engine that's simpler and cheaper than today's best reciprocating piston engine designs, but is more efficient than the best $million steam turbine [wikipedia.org] ? Small groups of people could set up their own power companies (due to the decreased capital requirement). Independently owned and operated power companies would mean cutting Wall Street out of the everyday economy of a lot of people.

There was a story here a few months back about the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's new air conditioning system that uses 90% less power. If I had one of those, my summer AC bill would've shrunk from about $800 to $80 (Phoenix, Arizona). The power company's business model would fall apart entirely if they lost the ability to charge "summer rates".

Or what about when someone finds a way to cheaply and effeciently store electricity? Imagine if power plants ran at 100% capacity all the time, and all the extra power generated at night could be stored until it's needed 8 hours later?

Health care is another wealth-concentrator that needs to be addressed. This is one of those 'sacred cows' which must not be questioned, so I'll just mention the recent study that found most anti-depressants are no better than a placebo. Imagine keeping all the money that the pharmaceuticals pay in dividends to plutocrats in the real economy, and enjoying better health at the same time (because you can afford a better diet, because you don't have side-effects from pills that do nothing for you anyways, etc)

Economic revolution is simply a matter of "follow the money", then dismantling the 'towers' that you find.

Re:I love to say: 'The sky is NOT falling!' (3, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851016)

I'll just mention the recent study that found most anti-depressants are no better than a placebo

That's just one study, not an established medical fact. It does give cause for concern and merits more research but doesn't prove anything yet.

Why we need the explorers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850922)

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/brian_cox_why_we_need_the_explorers.html

Re:Hate to say this... (3, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850932)

if people and government has to take the pick between funding science or covering things like civil protection(police), medical/fire services(hospitals, doctors, ems response). It's pretty easy to tell where the cuts are going to happen first.

That's true, but it's a bullshit argument.

For starters, science cuts are going to be an extremely small impact on the defecit, akin to claiming that if you can't afford your mortgage then it's time to not buy that cup of Starbucks coffee on Friday. It helps in the sense that every dollar helps, but it is so small an impact that it's almost not worth doing.

If those are peoples' choices, then of course science is going to be cut first -- as it should be. But they're not. How much are the various wars costing you? How much are your politicians and government employees being paid? How much waste is there in your healthcare system? How much are you spending on your defense budget, security theater at the airports, CCTV installations, foreign aide, bank bailouts, commissioning reports nobody is ever going to ready or any other number of things that you can cut to more success and less detriment than science and education?

If you're being presented with a choice between cutting science spending or emergency services to solve the budget problems, it's because people simply aren't looking hard enough.

Re:Hate to say this... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851164)

f you're being presented with a choice between cutting science spending or emergency services to solve the budget problems, it's because people simply aren't looking hard enough.

No, it's not that people aren't looking hard enough. It's about presenting false dichotomies like, oops, we don't have enough money we have to first take the teachers out of schools and cops off the street. There are many other better, and much less disruptive, choices to make, but to keep people approving higher spending the politicians present only options that they know people will realize they need, thus keeping all the waste, fraud, and corruption alive and well.

Hey, don't worry! The bankers are fine. (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850960)

OK. Here's (approximately) how it works.

Government creates money for the economy by selling bonds to the banks. The banks, buy bonds (with interest) using credit created from nothing, give the credit to the government and the government spends it into the economy.

The debt grows due to the interest and the government taxes people to pay the debt, shrinking the amount of money in the economy. This causes a recession.

Meanwhile the banks are also creating new credit and interest bearing debt (again, from nothing) for the people in the economy. The people take on a load of debt, get the credit, start spending the credit and everything is hunky dory. Then as the debt is paid off, the amount of credit in the economy decreases, again, causing or adding to the recession.

Well, if the banks have been particularly busy and gotten really big bonuses, there is a lot of debt out there and as the money decreases and people can't pay, the banks get to foreclose on any businesses or individuals who can't make the payments. The thing about banks is, they are all technically insolvent, all of the time. This is why it's possible to bring a bank down simply by going and taking your money out. So they foreclose more and more, more debt is paid off, less and less credit is available in the economy, accelerating the recession until it looks like the banks are in big trouble.

In steps the white knight. The government will save you! They will take on the (now) bad loans and the bankers can get their money that way. The government goes to their bankers, they take on lots and lots more debt (With Ts now because a B just wasn't big enough)(created from nothing, with interest to be paid), and pay the bankers for their bad loans.

Of course your average person (i.e. you) has an attention span of about a week, and your typical politician, a fraction of that, so the next time the government numbers are published, there is SHOCK, HORROR I tell you ! Look how much in debt we are! OH My god, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! The deficit must be REDUCED! Not eliminated, mind you. Only REDUCED.

So the private bad loans are translated directly into lots of government debt and then cuts in government spending. All is right with the world, the system was saved, the bankers got their bonuses. Phew, that was close, Aston Martins are getting sooo expensive.

But unless people have failed to notice, europe(and the UK along with it) is in some pretty bad financial straights.

Europe is in exactly the same position as the USA, i.e. no danger. In each of the regions there is a central bank which absolutely will print money until the currency isn't worth the paper it is printed on. America has it markedly easier because they have the world reserve currency. i.e. They can tax the entire planet to pay their debts using debased paper.

The financial system (as it stands today) is parasitic, and the bankers are parasites. There is a reason for my sig, and it pertains to bankers.
 

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850996)

What about billions for banks. Why don't we spend that on civil protection(police) etc... rather than on often private corporations that F***** it up in the first place?

Re:Hate to say this... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851172)

But unless people have failed to notice, europe(and the UK along with it) is in some pretty bad financial straights. Science is a necessary thing, but if people and government has to take the pick between funding science or covering things like civil protection(police), medical/fire services(hospitals, doctors, ems response). It's pretty easy to tell where the cuts are going to happen first.

Usually science, followed by teachers and police, followed by fire services, then medical.

Have you even been paying any attention to the state of education, medicine and the police force lately? I don't know how you can say this with a straight face.

What's being cut is everything that doesn't put money in the politician's pocket.

they'd in the uk like to protect IP rights (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851400)

look at country wealth and GDP and then look at IP rights term lengths specifically. IN 3 years see which nations seem to weirdly doing better versus ones now. lowering the insane I{ term lengths will help

Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851420)

Half of the point in science is to find better, more efficient ways of solving existing problems. It's problem solving, you know? Take, for example, Alzheimer's disease; as a speaker at the rally pointed out yesterday (I was there) you can either throw billions and billions of pounds into caring for the people affected by it, or you can spend a fraction of that money and go towards curing the damn thing. Really, a *huge* part of that health budget should be research-directed. The same "preventative" arguments cannot be immediately applied to "blue skies" research. But many of these fields lead to knowledge that can be applied to god-knows-what-else; for example, my girlfriend's pure mathematics PhD may have amazing implications for national power grids one day, but that relies on someone else in another field working out the details. My own PhD in neutron star oscillations doesn't mean anything today, but since it deals with testing exotic states of matter in a non-lab-based environment, god knows what sort of interesting applications it could lead in 50, 100 years. Another important point brought up yesterday was that the UK is shit at pretty much everything, with the exception of science and banking. We don't want to become a technology importer: we can't afford it.

Re:Hate to say this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851428)

It's a shame that banking isn't a government business, because I know what I'd cut back on first.

This is more public pain and more cutting of government services for the sake of a huge, system-compromising private business mistake. The banking industry got bailed out at equivalently huge public expense. It had to be done for the sake of the economy, but the banking industry and everyone in it made loads of money off their reckless speculation until the crisis struck. They didn't care as long as they made more money. Now that their books are somewhat in order, I say tax the hell out of the entire sector for the next decade. There's a lot more money there in a, say, 1% surtax on all bank profits for the next 5-10 years than in the entire government budget for scientific work.

what are you FOR? (1, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850690)

Why weren't you doing anything over the last decade while the government was intentionally building up a deficit? Where do you propose that the cuts be made, if not to your department? Alternatively, what other revenue sources do you suggest?

There are many possible answers, but pretending to be some sort of apolitical brain who just wants to do science is not going to help you get popular support. Do you object to useless war? Do you think that the government should take a greater proportion of nationally owned bank profits, reducing salaries of bankers? Do you think that more measures should be put in place to stop tax avoidance schemes (hello Ashcroft!)? In short, what is going to pay for you?

Re:what are you FOR? (5, Insightful)

metageek (466836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850718)

Cut the war budget first, then optimize the health spending. If you look at the government finances, you'll realize that those two are the only ones that are so large that making percentage cuts there could solve the deficit; cutting anything else won't make a difference.

Science is investment, war is pure spending, health is a mix of spending and investment (the part relating to children and yound adults).

The UK already has the most efficient science spending on record, as in £ spent per scientist over their productivity (measured any way you like, papers published, nobel prizes, technology transfer, etc.). So the argument that cuts will make it more efficient is bullshit, it will only make it less efficient and the population needs to know this. It is about time that scientists come out and explain these facts to the rest of the population, because the Daily Mail or The Sun will just propagate their propaganda...

Re:what are you FOR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851014)

I don't really have any articles to hand, but I was reading about the cuts to science previously.

It didn't sound like the government had any intention to cut most useful scientific research, but just like there has been a push to cut provisioning of homeopathy in the NHS, it was mentioned that scientific research into homeopathy would be one of the things axed by science funding.

This is why I'm not sure yet that the science funding cuts will necessarily be a bad thing, yes the UK has the most efficient scientific research funding but that does not mean that it's perfect- there is still plenty of room to improve, and if axing funds for bunk science like homeopathy is the sort of thing on the list then great, this can only be a good thing.

The real key is that taking into account the fact that cuts need be made, that the right things are cut. As the GP pointed out- it's all very well complaining about cuts, but unless you have a viable alternative suggestion then you're not helping at all. Further, what really annoys me is that we have people saying "Don't cut x at all", which implies that whatever x is is 100% perfectly efficient. That's bollocks. Everything can take some cuts- a straight 25% might be too much, or perhaps in some cases even too little if the focus is on improving value for money, but the point is that anyone saying "Don't cut x at all" is merely defending inefficiency. I have worked public sector previously and it is a grossly inefficient machine, I dare say in local government, where I worked, that 25% cuts are far too little - 50% or even more would be possible without having any effect on services providing the right people were cut to drastically decrease the high level of public sector incompetence, and the right changes to encourage the removal of wastage were made.

It may well be that a set 25% cut to science funding is too much, but I doubt for a minute that improvements in efficiency can't be made such that say, 10% - 15% cuts would make no difference to useful scientific output, with useful being the key term there.

All that said, I agree there are plenty of other cuts you could make first certainly, one that government seems afraid to tackle is overpayment of many public sector workers. Whilst some certainly aren't overpaid it's hard to argue for example that primary school teachers and headteachers aren't (although secondary school teachers are arguably underpaid), and for example in the IT department I worked in when in local government general helpdesk staff were paid £31k a year, whilst the industry average for people of their ability doing their role is only around £18k - £22k. The closest we've got is a pay "freeze", but for staff on sliding scales and not at the top of their scales which is a large portion of the public sector base they'll still see a circa 5% rise each year they're supposedly having a wage freeze, they just wont get their inflationary adjustment on top of that.

Re:what are you FOR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851328)

Really? War budget? When you family budget gets tight do you first use your doors for firewood and melt the locks down for metal to sell? The "war budget" is intended to preserve what is already been built.

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

manicb (1633645) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851444)

I know, I know, don't reply to non-insightful AC posts, but...

That would be defence, not war.

Re:what are you FOR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850754)

There where people warning of this, some notable economists. However everyone was happy to live the good life with their houses "gaining" in value every day, even though it was monopoly money.

Cause and effect, people carry on smoking, eating to much or whatever because the effect is delayed. If someone punched them in the gut each time they smoked or ate to much they'd soon associate cause and effect :)

Re:what are you FOR? (0)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850856)

Indeed. The scientists who are up in arms now were spending the last decade happily receiving government grants, and are also well aware of the bottomless trough that they could eat from if their research was remotely related to defence. While the average new graduate student might not have had much power or awareness, each academic must understand that he is jointly to blame for if he did not object to the problem while it was being caused, instead benefiting from it.

While I was one of the powerless junior Chicken Littles, I'm happy to share some of the blame for not shouting louder.

Re:what are you FOR? (2, Insightful)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850772)

How about, take the bank bailout money back? That would cover a lot of this funding. Then how about getting out of the stupid war the last government go into. And then we can look at the not quite so stupid war the last government go into. And then... maybe cutting parliament; everyone already tried to hang it so the public's opinion on the subject is pretty clear.

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850808)

Uhm... we did get the bank bailout money back in the form of a chunk of the banks. Parliament isn't particularly expensive in the general scheme of things. Abolishing it entirely would only save half a billion.

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850836)

Yeah, but who the fuck would actually want a chunk of northern rock? We got a shares in the shit bankrupt banks, wunderbar.

Re:what are you FOR? (4, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851034)

LloydsTSB and HBOS on the other hand are worth quite a lot and it has been completely forgotten by most people that as soon as bank shares start climbing significantly we can clear a lot of debt by selling our preference shares. I doubt Osborne has forgotten and is planning a tax windfall around about 2015 after the ConDems have used the deficit as an excuse to completely trash the public sector.

Re:what are you FOR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850870)

wow - you understand the economy is a feedback loop. That bankers didn't just spend all the money on booze. Please write to the BBC and tell them.

Re:what are you FOR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850854)

Science pays for itself in the form of increased economic growth. That's why cutting it is such a senseless false economy.

Re:what are you FOR? (3, Informative)

cgomezr (1074699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850868)

Why weren't you doing anything over the last decade while the government was intentionally building up a deficit?

What? "Not doing anything?" They were doing their jobs. The scientists' job is to do science, the government's job is to take care of spending and deficit.

Re:what are you FOR? (1, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850878)

And it is precisely this sort of "the government should have taken care of it for me, I'm just an innocent [job] feeding from the country's teat" irresponsibility that caused the problem in the first place. Where [job] is anything from banker to scientist.

The University/research system is effectively a branch of government. It is responsible as much as any other branch for obtaining non-existent sources of funding. Stop blaming other people.

Re:what are you FOR? (4, Insightful)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850998)

If you have a science education good enough to do real research, then you could also get at one of the huge banks as a trader for something like 20 times the income. Anybody who has that kind of education and became a scientist has made the decision to not be part of the problem and be part of the solution.

During the recovery, when old businesses resume normal operation and new businesses start up, it's the high tech manufacturing sector that lead the way. The work of scientists over the past decade is exactly what makes that sector's growth possible.

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851040)

If you have a science education good enough to do real research, then you could also get at one of the huge banks as a trader for something like 20 times the income.

That's a myth. There are way more places for average research scientists than $1M/year bankers. The latter is think-continuously-on-your-feet hard and hugely stressful, and demands the sort with a 1st in the Cambridge maths tripos, not a 2:1 from Warwick.

Yes, smarter people can and do have the power to cause more damage, but don't do a US "at least we torture less than North Korea!" and complain that scientists are not to blame just because they are not bankers. Also, pay more attention to where a bulk of research grants come from: see all that defence spending?

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851232)

It's ridiculous to call science funding economically damaging. It's not just pissing money up against the wall for no reason, it's an investment in economic growth. The science investment that we have paid for during the boom is what it taking us out of the bust.

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851346)

It is ridiculous for someone who has spent the last 10 years receiving non-existent money in an unsustainable framework for Higher Education to complain that his funding will be cut.

You know who brought the boom in the first place, which made insane borrowing appear possible and funded the extravagant boom investments? The same bankers you hate but forced upon the country because you (as a nation) decided in the '80s but it doesn't really matter what else the UK produces as long as the City makes an efficient headquarters for global slavedriving.

Blaming the bankers while you continue to thrive within the model which relies upon them will not fix anything.

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851020)

So your saying the government should bail out the bankers, and cut science funding... because the bankers borked it up?

Re:what are you FOR? (0, Troll)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851054)

I'm fairly sure whoever taught you reading comprehension has received too much government money :-).

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851122)

They did not have the power to decide the economic policy of the government anymore than any other voting citizen. So they are as responsible as any other citizen. Responsibility only applies if you can do something. If you blame someone that cannot do anything you are just a whiner. To be clear: What exactly should they have done?

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851160)

Refuse to accept funding based on non-existent government money, duh. See all the striking they're doing now? The right time was a decade ago.

Re:what are you FOR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851254)

And it is precisely this sort of "the government should have taken care of it for me, I'm just an innocent [job] feeding from the country's teat" irresponsibility that caused the problem in the first place. Where [job] is anything from banker to scientist.

The University/research system is effectively a branch of government. It is responsible as much as any other branch for obtaining non-existent sources of funding. Stop blaming other people.

The same thing can be said about all government branches (well, except for the tax office).

Besides, the UK universities already contributed to '28 billions' pounds worth of exports:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/6999661.stm

This does not take into account other income from patents, industry collaboration, etc.
The main reason why international students are flocking to UK and US is the
prestige of their universities, which in turn, is driven by their excellence
in research and teaching.

You must be pretty ignorant to say that they haven't been doing anything.
Universities have unions that lobby the government on their behalf.
They have already brought up the issue with the government earlier this year:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8453360.stm

Do a bit of research before start blaming the victim.

A significant amount of government fundings, believe it or not, actually goes to
subsidizing undergraduate students.

Re:what are you FOR? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851316)

Yes, everyone receiving non-existent funding from government is to blame. I am particularly unimpressed by universities because they comprise people who should know better.

You might want to actually read the first article you linked to: it is mostly about domestic universities selling profit-making educational services to international students, particularly in China: a close relation was director of a London University faculty and he was frequently sent on trips to court the emerging Chinese middle class while funding remained short for domestic students.

The teaching and student unions are fairly pathetic compared to 30 years ago, since the old militants have mostly retired and current students and new teachers are mostly about career building. Wow, a warning at the beginning of 2010! Perhaps the sustainability of a model which turns universities into training shops / unemployment figure adjusters for almost 50% of the population should have been aggressively and directly fought since the 1980s.

Ah that is the rub isn't it (1, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850886)

People didn't want labour anymore so they voted in the Margaret "Mad Cow" Thatcher party and expected... what exactly? They threw them out in the first place.

In Holland we face the same. A party of VVD with the right-wingers from CDA (Christian power lovers who claim to be social but accept support of an anti-muslim party) to "fix" the economy. Except that in the months it took to get his sham of a government together, the economy already fixed itself. Unemployment is dropping and was never that high in Holland to begin with (4% max).

England has had higher un-employment for far longer so you can hardly blame the current economic crisis OR labour for it. It goes far further. The UK has been tearing itself apart post WW2, unable to find a new place for itself in the world after it lost the empire. In the 60's and 70's the country was close to civil war, with strikes paralizing the country but it never examined WHY this happened. The UK likes to think it is a democracy but it is a nation were class distinction is still at an all time high. And while they can joke about it, an episode of Have I Got News For You saw real tension, even hatred between a union leader and private schoolboy Hislop. It might make funny tv, but at the heart of it is the seperation between those who do the actual work, and those that form the ruling elite.

England pre-WW2 was under the believe that it could outsource farming. That farmers were not needed, that it could simply import whatever it needed. The german submarines soon changed that, but there remains an idea in the UK, and western society in general, that factories and farms are not needed. See how many here support outsourcing of all production to China, claiming the entire western economy can keep working on the "knowledge" economy instead.

And then you find out that somehow this great outsourcing of all production somehow leads to economic recession and then you can't pay for the universities that fuel the knowledge economy. The UK BELIEVED that The City was the NEW economic engine, same as the US came to believe Wallstreet was the economy. And then it collapsed, once again and the old standbyes were no longer there. Holland came through the recession relatively smooth because we still got a production/agriculture economy to fall back on. There were still people working, paying taxes when the speculators were begging for government handouts.

The UK? Not so much. The country had been run into the ground by the conservatives, who fueled tax cuts by selling of stuff (great short term thinking, I am RICH because I sold my house so I can now blow it on booze, never mind were I am going to sleep tonight) and cutting back essential maintenance. It took a disaster on the rail roads where a lot of people died and the entire network ground to a halt, for things to change. The tories were thrown out and somehow people expected labour to be able to instantly fix everything, including stopping the runaway finacial market.

Didn't work and so they voted the guys who created the mess in the first place back in. Smart move, if the cleaner isn't doing the job, call in the person who made the mess. That will sort things out.

Sorry UK and world in general. You can't have it both ways. You can't have investment in the economy AND tax cuts.

Not that the UK will have tax cutes, well unless you count the very rich who don't need it, but it sounded so good on the election manifesto.

The UK is going down the shitter fast. It has been mis-managed for decades and there simply aren't any reserves left. There is nothing left to sell off, no maintenance that can be delayed any further without the country falling apart.

About the only thing left is to tackle the financial district, get them to return the bailout AND repay it with intrest. But you elected the tories, so fat chance of that happening. Time to close of the tunnel and shove the country of to the US, before it starts polluting the mainland. France, what do you rather have, Roma or liverpool supporters?

Re:Ah that is the rub isn't it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850938)

We're in this mess entirely because, yet again, the Labour goverment have overspent and got us into a £160bn/year deficit by allowing financial deregulation (yes, Labour actually made it worse) and no significant tax rises to compensate for the increase in spending. They've been in power for 13 years, so trying to blame the Tories for this one is laughable.

Labour's spending got completely out of control, Gordon Brown actually believed his bullshit about being able to grow the economy without recession, and the banking crisis was the final straw which made it all go to shit.
It's absolutely breathtaking how the left-wing are completely and utterly incapable of taking responsibility for their incompetence.

Re:Ah that is the rub isn't it (3, Interesting)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851144)

Yes of course the poor old bankers were forced to fuck up the economy by evil NuLab. Since when were New Labour left-wing in any case? Did you miss both Blair and Brown inviting Thatcher to Downing Street, did you miss the kissing up to Murdoch, did you ignore the fact that deregulation is mainly a right-wing thing? New Labour are very similar to the Tories and pretending they aren't is just nonsensical. In any case do you think the Tories wouldn't have deregulated and cut taxes had they still been in charge? That's what they did from 1979-1997.

It's very sad that someone from Holland has a better grasp of the mess the right made of our country (selling off council houses, throwing away manufacturing, selling off our public utilities to foreigners, the creation of Broken Britain) than you. A real Labour government would have reversed some of that but we got Tory Lite instead.

Re:Ah that is the rub isn't it (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851154)

You also missed the fact that this country's economy wouldn't have been so dependent on the financial sector had the Tories not made it so.

Re:Ah that is the rub isn't it (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851210)

People like quick fixes, and they do not understand economics or economies or politics, so what do you expect from them? They are bought by soundbites and flashy messages.

Economies will not be fixed until there is a crash. There needs to be a crash, that's pretty much inevitable whether you do anything or not, only if you do anything, you end up destroying your currency, because the only thing a government can do is borrow and print and spend.

Borrowing and printing and spending will not fix any single thing. It will create a short term illusion, until there is no more that can be borrowed and printing becomes a pointless exercise because nobody wants to sell anything to you for those funny money anyway.

---

The correct way to fix an economy that is in a crisis of the sort that US or UK are having right now will remove one step between the inevitable crash and a down the road restructuring - hyper-inflationary depression.

Yes, if the government tries to fix anything its usual Keynesian shamanistic ways, it will cause a hyper-inflationary depression. The other two steps will happen anyway.

Without government help it will look like this:

1. Crash.
2. Eventual restructuring and rebuilding.

With government help it will look like this:

1. Crash.
2. Hyper-inflationary depression.
3. (also a possible step including some major war.)
4. Eventual restructuring and rebuilding.

---

So what can a government REALLY do to help the economy to go through as few steps as possible: 1. Crash. 2. Restructuring and recovery?

Here is what it can do:

1. Stop printing and borrowing money, stop setting your own interest rates, interest rates need to be set by the market, they need to go up up up.
2. Stop 99% of spending. Cut whatever, but get rid of 99% of spending. Fire 99% of government. This will stop wars, subsidies to all industries, regulations of all industries, SS, NHS, IE, etc.etc.etc.
3. Liquidate all government owned assets and start covering the debt.
4. Stop collecting all income and payroll taxes.

That's right, you have to remove all rules and regulations, you have to stop collecting all income based taxes, you have to let the economy find itself on its own, this means abolish all regulations and release all resources that are occupied by the government and that need to be reallocated into private industries.

There is a huge need to stop subsidizing all monopolies that are relying on government.

Money needs to start meaning something, interest rates need to soar so that the lenders become very involved in evaluating risk of lending, so that there is real competition for credit and there is a quick turn over of failures to distill out the successes.

There is a need to have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of little initiatives started, initiatives in form of businesses, but it's only possible if the government stops regulating and taxing everything that deals with starting new businesses in the first place. The existing monopolies must compete with new businesses, they must not be subsidized at all by governments.

--

Now, do you think this will happen? Not in an established/entrenched economic/political model, it won't.

Re:Ah that is the rub isn't it (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851216)

Just to exemplify the ignorance of the parent, hatred between Ian Hislop and a union leader does not personify class divisions. Please bear in mind Hislop is editor of Private Eye, infamous for satirising the "ruling elite" and annihilating politicians (and anybody else with power) on all sides. Consider his comment on the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition: "I like the idea of this coalition neutralizing the loonies on both sides".

Union leaders fall well within his scope for attack. Most of the prominent union leaders are claim to represent the "working man" yet are nothing more than the bastard merger of a politician and fat-cat executive. They spout propagandist bullshit to elevate themselves and their agendas and the union members are as far from being their primary interests as shareholders are to company executives. The general public meanwhile are nothing but pawns to be disrupted and rendered as unhappy as possible, because they're nothing more than leverage.

I assume the HIGNFY reference is to this episode with Bob Crow [youtube.com] . Members of the audience booing him at the introduction might provide a little context, if you want some more how about a clip of the Sun (in 1999 still extremely in support of the socialist Labour Party) also having a go [youtube.com] . Hatred of union leaders is not a class war thing, it's working people trying to get to work or go on holiday that hate union leaders.

Unfortunately the remainder of the post is full of examples like this of a little knowledge being a bad thing.

Re:Ah that is the rub isn't it (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851502)

The UK is going down the shitter fast. It has been mis-managed for decades and there simply aren't any reserves left. There is nothing left to sell off, no maintenance that can be delayed any further without the country falling apart.

I really liked your analysis of the British economy. However, living there, and seeing what is actually going on right now, I am actually getting quite optimistic, and find your opinion not founded in any reality.

Hmm (1, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850800)

Do politicians ever take pay cuts? Instead of cutting pay for the useful people, I'd rather them (like that would ever happen) cut pay for the nearly useless people.

Does it matter? (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850990)

Politicians are NOT a large cost to the tax payer. They are not that highly paid and there are not that many of them. Now if you start talking about public sector workers. THEN you might be able to make some cuts especially at the top. But then you just won't get the people OR they will be contract workers instead and get paid even more.

Cost cutting is extremely hard and doesn't help if people think cutting a million on a budget of billions is worth it.

I don't understand cost cutting anyway. It is such a Wallstreet attitude. Oh, lets cut costs and increase profit. When has this ever worked longterm? A country isn't something you can buy up, cut it up and sell it off again. You are STUCK with Manchester. Cutting off useless people? France did that with the Roma... oopsie! Even just saying this is a big no-no. And it cost the Germans far more to kill a Jew then it ever saved them, even with recycling (harsh? But that is what traditional cost cutting applied to a country would be, you can't fire a population without firing up the ovens).

I think the entire problem is that some people are convinced you can run a country at a profit/as a business.

But countries are to big, to unwieldy and to long term for that. And it seems amazing to me that the business method to be followed is the western one (follow on core business, outsource everything else) when the real powerhouses in the business world are the (asian) conglomerates that do EVERYTHING. So, do we sell off the railways or keep them? I think I know what Siemens or Yamaha would say.

The problem for the UK is NOT the amount of money it spends, but that this money ain't being generated. IF the UK still had a working production industry, still mattered with agri-culture, then the amount of spending doesn't matter. But if you outsource everything, close mines and hope to survive on oil benefits and selling of national industries, then you won't have anything to fall back on when the well has run dry.

And if you cut public sector salaries then you only get the people who have no choice but to work for a reduced paycheck. Or are YOU volunteering to work for less pay in a thankless job?

The UK needs to re-vitalize itself in all sectors. This requires SPENDING, not cost cutting. All the current government will do is posture, delay investments without making any meaningful savings and hand over the country in a worse state to the next unlucky bastard to win the election.

Simple solution:

A: Cut management layers in all sectors controlled by the state: Result, mass cost savings, tories lose the elections because their voter base is management.

B: Cut foreign military procurement, buy local or keep old stuff around. Result: US president won't shake hands with the prime-minister.

C: Ban closing and outsourcing of any further production, put serious tariffs on foreign goods to encourage local production. Result: Prime-minister will not be able to shake any hands, champagne prices go up.

D: Invest in infra-structure and schooling, stop looking down on jobs like farmer, plumber and bricklayer, these are the jobs the economy runs on. You can't make people buy a locally made iPad, but you can make them use locally build walls.

E: Tax the financial industry and regulate the hell out of it because it has never benefitted anyone but the filthy rich. Result: all those silly enough to think they are the filthy rich and that a tax on inheriticance of more then a million will ever affect the, will not vote for you.

Oh these things are a bit simple, but smarter people then me have reasoned them out AND shown why no party, especially a right wing party can run with them. Sensible government isn't electable.

Discussion on BoM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850804)

(if you want conservatives to read your comments): discussion on TPA blog [blogspot.com]

UK science cuts are good! (2, Insightful)

faulteh (1869228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850810)

For everyone not in the UK.

Our research and science in Australia will climb the rankings by default, making us look good, increasing investment and licensing opportunities. We'll be able to keep hiring local talent, as well as recruit from soon to be unemployed talent in the UK, at discount rates! Sure, we may have to be China's butt-buddy, but at least we won't be dumb, poor and stupid.

Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole in your head....

Re:UK science cuts are good! (1)

williamhb (758070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851064)

For everyone not in the UK. Our research and science in Australia will climb the rankings by default, making us look good, increasing investment and licensing opportunities. We'll be able to keep hiring local talent, as well as recruit from soon to be unemployed talent in the UK, at discount rates! Sure, we may have to be China's butt-buddy, but at least we won't be dumb, poor and stupid.

Probably not. The primary competition for scientists is not "UK vs Aus", but "academia vs industry or some other job". Cut three entry-level science jobs in the UK, and you don't end up with three extra early-career scientists applying for residency in Australia -- you probably end up with two extra bankers and a strategy consultant.

maybe if we stop acting like monkeys (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33850946)

'they' will stop treating us as such. that's not anywhere in the 'plan' yet, just a thought.

add immeasurable amounts of MISinformation, & there you have IT? that's US? thou shalt not... oh forget it. fake weather (censored?), fake money, fake god(s), what's next? seeing as we (have been told) came from monkeys, the only possible clue we would have to anything being out of order, we would get from the weather.

the search continues;
google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=weather+manipulation

google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=bush+cheney+wolfowitz+rumsfeld+wmd+oil+freemason+blair+obama+weather+authors

meanwhile (as it may take a while longer to finish wrecking this place); the corepirate nazi illuminati (remember, (we have been told) we came from monkeys, & 'they' believe they DIDN'T), continues to demand that we learn to live on less/nothing while they continue to consume/waste/destroy immeasurable amounts of stuff/life, & feast on nubile virgins in massive self-adulating conclaves with their friend morgion, is always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our creators. the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." )one does not need to agree whois in charge to grasp the notion that there may be some assistance available to us(

boeing, boeing, gone.

War... (1)

Alcoholist (160427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850952)

One could always quit fighting wars in far away lands that have no real relevance to you. You'd save a whole pile of money right there.

It mystifies me why the Western World spends so much money on the Middle East. Oil? Trust me, if you come with cash in hand, whichever tyrant/dictator/overlord is in power will sell it to you. Do it for the people? Seriously, are you going to bankrupt your own nation to save a bunch of foreigners who hate you?

Re:War... (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851030)

The fact is that they are not saving anyone... except face... oh they are not even saving face.

Re:War... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851044)

Broadly speaking, the Middle East has been a strategically important location for the last two centuries at least. For example, Egypt is the place where the Suez Canal was built, to cut out the huge shipping detour around the whole continent of Africa. Turkey controls the most convenient land trade routes from Europe to Asia. Also, the Russian Empire was always interested in developing a strong Marine based in the Black Sea, as it's a lot more convenient than having ports nearer the north pole. There's natural resources of course.

In this sense, the people (and also religion) of the Middle East are irrelevant, it's strategic control of the lands that all major powers of the world want. There would be fighting even if there were no natives and it was all mountains and desert (which most of it is...).

Horrid truth (1)

sgt101 (120604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33850962)

There is a lot of poor research that is done, which will go no where, which is published in extremely good journals.

This work is funded now because the research councils do not have to differentiate between it and the rest of the "excellent" work that is funded.

It will not get funded in the future. The councils will pick projects that are done by groups that have track records of real, rather than paper, success.

The UK science budget has been overly generous. There is a very large entitlement culture in the universities. The capacity of our S&T culture and infrastructure has not kept pace with the funding that has been given to it, this is a huge mistake by the academic establishment who have spent money on glamour projects and recruiting superstars rather than developing the base that could turn funding into real results.

Re:Horrid truth (0)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851038)

There is a very large entitlement culture in the universities

As someone in a university (and has worked in UK universities), this is simply not true. The entitlement culture is in banks and investment funds that are too big to fail.

Re:Horrid truth (2, Interesting)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851074)

Not at all. If a community does not self-regulate it is because:
a) it does not want do do it, or
b) it is not able to do it.
Whichever is true, a fund cut will only cut the total output, and not change the quality at all. I am amazed at how many people think that a fund cut means better quality. It does not work like that, never worked like that and will never do, in science, health or any other sector.

Trying to play French? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851056)

I see you guys are trying to play French aren't you, going on strike and all that.
Now think about why you despise the French so much, and go back to work.

Re:Trying to play French? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851128)

Yeah, it's much better to just say: "Yes Lord, you are wise and all-knowing, so I will just follow your orders". Slave mentality for the win !

Where is the money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851070)

Top 1% 21% of total UK wealth
Top 2% 28% of total UK wealth
source [wikipedia.org]

Now you know where to take it from...

With bad news can come good things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851152)

The European wide cut backs are the start of the end because underlying all of it is that he debt cycle is starting to catch up with most nations now.
Europe and the US holds debts that are close unsurvivable again the current GDP's.

Its a catch 22 because when they start de-fending services innovation will suffer and so ability to invent and get ahead of the debt cycle will bottom out.

Have a close look at the latest BIS Europe bank banking data and it paints a sorry story. The latency in these numbers is about 6 months:
I expect its probably allot worse as i type this based on the trending.

Solutions??

1. Well the scientists and pissing off, but when other services start to get the chop i hope there is the start of the collapse.
Get ride of the two party system. Its not really 2 party anyway
Get the one vote one person policy in. Cameron promised it but nothing heard once he was elected. Funny that.
The two things above would hopefully allow people to actually have some control.

Get referendums for government acts and law changes. This is How Switzerland works - check up the Canton rules and you will see.
Their GDP to Debt ratio per person is nothing like the rest of Europe.

2. Resource limits.
Everyone has noticed in the media that China controls 97% of the rare earth metals supply now.
This means they have Japan, US and any other countries that need these metals for their factories.
Anything digital needs this.

3. Shrink the supply chain and hence you will remove artificial price Cartels.

In Europe and the US also for most raw products there are only 2 to 3 actual Suppliers.
Above them are the distributors and then the wholesalers and then the installers and then maybe the retail.
Its 4 levels normally.

If you go to China you wont find this at all BECAUSE ITS ECONOMICALLY INEFFICIENT!!

But the Euro governments need it because all the middle man ensures lots of jobs and hence lots of tax on the ways.

Most things have about 100% minimum tax IF you calculate in the tax on the way through in the supply chain.
Many things are in the 200 to 300% tax range.

I know this because i work in Import export.

4. Get ride of high taxes.

GO to Asia. Singapore, Chine, Korea.
Have a look at the corporate tax rates. Normally Maximum of 15 %.
The government is not needed to supply the many many indulgent services.
Let people have freedom over how they choose to spend their money.

All these things will free up the economy and the innovation cycle.
Tiny companies will finally have a level playing field to compete against larger company.

5. Tax harmonisation for Corporate and personal Tax.
If they did this it would say a bucket load.

Also the Europe Tax savings Directive exposed all international personal accounts to transparency to prevent the fat cats having off shore stashes.
BUT this does NOT apply to companies at all. They all still have their classic sales and marketing invoicing between their off shore holding companies and their trading companies in each European country.
This allows them to suck the gross income out of their European Trading companies out to their off shore holding companies.
The result - they often pay very little tax indeed.

The system Stinks. Its time for some heavy Spring Cleaning.

Some of the newer eastern European Countries that joined the EU recently did. this. Look at Estonia.
they went for LOW flat tax for both persons and companies. About 17% . Their economy is BOOMING because of it.

Te government there is lean and the costs to run the Tax service is very lean because the system is simple.

Also the number of people evading tax dropped significantly because people were happy to pay 17% and because the simplicity of the tax statue means is very very hard to chat.

Re:With bad news can come good things (1)

gedw99 (1597337) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851182)

I also want to add a very important aspect to this.

NONE of this will happen unless the voting system changes. Its setup FOR the fat cats By the fat cats.
The fox is guarding the hens.

One vote for one person is the start of change to happen.

The may day riots should look like "walk in the park" compares to what should be happening.
But your average Joe is not hurting enough yet to get out there.

The irony is that people will wait until its too late. Until hyperinflation has kicked in (maybe 2 years from now ) and people are loosing their houses and businesses.
The larger companies will survive because they will just downsize and adapt. They can because as demands shrinks they can shrink supply and still stay afloat.

Publicity fail, again. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851190)

I work for one of the UK Research Councils (the one that deals with science and technology facilities ;) ), and the first I heard of this campaign was seeing the rally on the BBC News site. Otherwise I would have been there, and I'd have done my very best to round up some colleagues and make a day of it.

And, of the "famous" supporters on the front page of that website, I recognised one.

Threaten to cut the arts, and they - literally - produce rock stars, outraged and instantly recognisable. Try to close a theatre, and you get [i]Gandalf[/i] on TV. How can science hope to compete with that, when it can't even get the message out to its own?

And what about the LHC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851314)

So does that mean we'll never get to see the LHC at full noise? Damn, I've been waiting for that doomsday device to go off for so long now.

Close the ITER Fusion reactor in france then (1)

gedw99 (1597337) | more than 3 years ago | (#33851392)

obvious

The public don't want cuts in science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33851494)

They want cuts to the Urdu rap classes and aid to Albania and all the other pointless shite the government spunks money up the wall on.

But is that going to happen? Fuck no.

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