It's hard to imagine a more unfashionable opinion, but it becomes much easier to justify when you read today's report from the Innovations, Universities and Skills committee which looks at the work of DIUS and the Research Councils, and concentrates on the debacle of the STFC's science funding.
The report makes some excellent statements, but essentially, it berates the Government for forgetting the Haldane Principle, which is "
named after Richard Burdon Haldane, the 1st Viscount of Haldane, who chaired a committee in 1918 which produced a report (known as the Haldane Report) that recommended that non-departmental-specific research should be managed by scientists through 'Research Councils'"
I will quote the conclusion to the section on the STFC in full
STFC's problems have their roots in the size of the CSR07 settlement and the legacy of bringing CCLRC and PPARC together, but they have been exacerbated by a poorly conceived delivery plan, lamentable communication and poor leadership, as well as major senior management misjudgements. Substantial and urgent changes are now needed in the way in which the Council is run in order to restore confidence and to give it the leadership it desperately needs and has so far failed properly to receive. This raises serious questions about the role and performance of the Chief Executive, especially his ability to retain the confidence of the scientific community as well as to carry through the necessary changes outlined here.
Let's hope that some lessons are learnt from this and UK science suffers no lasting damage. That the IUS Committee have been so forceful gives me hope.