A few days ago, I noted the frank admission by the chief scientist in Australia that he saw himself as a lobbyist for the scientific community. I wondered at the time whether our own head boff was working for the benefit of those who pay his salary or just for scientists.
Here's the answer, found in Hansard:
Q5 Chair: Should the Committee, perhaps, re-think its position on the desirability of a Chief Scientific Officer at the Treasury, or do you think the need is even greater now?
Professor Sir John Beddington: I do believe it would be sensible to have a Chief Scientific Adviser in the Treasury. It is a thing I have discussed with Nick Macpherson, the Permanent Secretary in the Treasury. In the run-up to the CSR I did have meetings with the Senior Management Board of the Treasury, which Nick chairs. We were discussing primarily the Science Settlement and there are people in the Treasury who do absolutely know a lot about science and the importance of science, but I don’t think that is a substitute for actually having somebody who comes in from outside who has an appropriate external experience of science and engineering. I do think it is still important. The last month or so has been quite busy, so it is not a thing I have been pursuing with much energy, I confess.