Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Carbon austerity | Main | Bayesians on Bayes »

Nurse joins the EU referendum battle

Paul Nurse has weighed into the EU referendum fray with an article in the Guardian outlining why he thinks we should stay in.

There's a lot of spurious verbiage to get through, but at the end of the day he seems to be saying that because we get some science funding from the EU we should stay in (he makes a subsidiary point that being in aids collaboration). Having cut through the stream of words in this way, one can see that his argument is extraordinarily thin.

I assume Nurse is clever enough to understand that the concerns of the scientific community are only a minor side issue in the arguments over Europe. In reality, we have the considerable issues of taxation, self-determination, democracy and openness to the world to consider.

Money grubbing by scientists should not weigh too heavily on the views of politicians or of the voters in a referendum.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (60)

thanks for the enlightenment. I had assumed that the EU afflicted your manufacturers with all manner of noxious regulation above and beyond what you do to yourselves - the great hidden tax - much as we in the colonies do to ourselves.

Jan 28, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

I'm a little uncomfortable with this Eurosceptic tone. I'm an AGW-sceptic, but not a Eurosceptic. I agree the EU is not perfect, but then no political system is. And the idea that UK doesn't need to be in the EU club is, in my view, wrong.

The danger is that Europhiles may be treated with the same disdain by Eurosceptics as AGW-sceptics are by warmists. Also, it helps perpetuate the propaganda tactic of many warmists that AGW-sceptics are rightwingers whose views are led more by their political colour rather than science and rational common sense.

Jan 28, 2013 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Indeed they do but there has developed a culture in the UK of blaming everything on the EU even when the blame, as Booker rightly says, lies elsewhere.
The EU has become a cat for the Eurosceptics to kick. And on the other side of the divide (as I pointed out) the Eurofanatics are just as mendacious!

Jan 28, 2013 at 6:32 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Looks like Sir Paul's effort was part of the usual orchestrated PR efforts that are becoming increasingly transparent - it's just too tidy.

One day Sir Paul say look at the funding we get from the EU - we mustn't leave we'd loose it - oh noes! - then Shukman trots out a gigantic EUnumber a day later

It's not conspiracy - it's OCD PR made flesh.

Jan 28, 2013 at 10:08 PM | Registered Commentertomo


To support being inside the EU is to support ending democracy or rather to continue to walk all over our democracy. Your opinion is as valuable as anyone else's opinion but I have to say I can not understand it.

Jan 29, 2013 at 2:28 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung - Its a little ironic that Britain should be so concerned about losing democracy when its been keeping it from others for centuries - and still doing it on the other side of the world.

Britain can only lose out by 'going it alone'. While Switzerland and Norway are hailed as proud countries who are doing so, in reality, much of their legislation is cut-and-paste of EU Directives, as they have little choice in order to stay favoured trading partners - and without the influence on legislation that members have.

Britian's democracy?: interfering in other people's problems around the world; having a first-past-the-post system which allows a party with <50% of the vote to act as if it has 80%; a prime minister though not directly elected, having more personal power than directly-elected executive presidents as in France and USA. Much of Euro-scepticsm is driven by the alarmism of the likes of the Daily Mail (and Chris Monckton). It has many benefits which the British media, including the moderate, just are not interested in reporting on. I have travelled and worked all over Europe with many professional people, and the vast majority see the EU as a logical, necessary and beneficial institution. Yes, it has many problems, but every system does (as in my UK examples). Britain can not be successful without the EU and is best to influence it from within. Britain's attitude is seen as a joke by most other Europeans.

I see Europe - as a content, not an institution - as the most exciting region of the world to be in. It has the history, culture, multi-cultural, diversity, etc, which say North America doesn't ahve. Working together, Europe can be very successful. Apart from the funding, this is Nurse's other main point. European innovation benefits from cooperation.

(oops, not sure if on the right website for this debate)

Jan 29, 2013 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood


Since the article is about Nurse's views on Britain's membership of the EU, you cannot be surprised if a few of us don't share his view. As a Brit living in Ireland, I am sadly aware of all the scare tactics the establishment uses to strong-arm its populace into giving the 'correct' answer. Ireland gave the 'wrong' answer to the Nice and Lisbon treaties. They then had to vote again. Get used to the fact that the truth will be contorted every way possible between now and 2017 to scare Joe Public into remaining in the EU (assuming the referendum takes place). To counter this, I suggest you allow yourself some time to read some of the articles at, as others have suggested.
Whilst I'm here. If our business (and, by association, Joe Public's) interests are best served by staying in the EU, why are shops awash with products made in China?

Jan 29, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterStevo

Oxford based readers with nothing better to do on Valentine's day might be interested to hear Nurse speak at his Wolfson Haldane Lecture 'Making Science Work'.

Jan 29, 2013 at 11:38 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

We all have the right to believe what we do. Its symbolic of our struggle against oppression.

Jan 31, 2013 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Jonathan, that will be such a sad crew that I don't care to appear in public there with all the losers who have nothing better to do. And I dare say heckling the great man might be frowned upon.

Jan 31, 2013 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda Klapp

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>