Science shouldn't be politicised

There have been ructions about the EU's Horizon scheme, which is a pan-European science funding programme. The UK's membership of the scheme is now at risk due to all the recent shenanigans about Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Both sides agree the UK's membership of Horizon is a good thing.

The European Commission said:

[It recognised] the mutual benefit in cooperation in science, research and innovation, nuclear research and space.

A UK government spokesman said:

It's hugely disappointing the EU continues to politicise scientific co-operation by delaying our accession to Horizon.

A letter written by Universities UK said:

Failure to secure UK association to Horizon Europe would be a lose-lose for health, wealth and wellbeing and would do a disservice to future generations in Europe and beyond.

Everyone thinks it's a good idea for the UK to collaborate on Horizon. That remains true regardless of any particular stance one might have on Brexit or the Northern Ireland Protocol.

So why don't they just get on with it?

I'll tell you why — it's because politics is crazy and illogical, and politicians would quite happily trash something of mutual benefit just to make a point.

There should be more distance between science and politics. Then again, given the number of terrible politicians countries seem to turn out these days, there should be more distance between politicians and politics too.

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