Why science will thrive after BREXIT

With thanks to Greg Heathcliffe…

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One hundred and fifty of the UK’s most important scientists have signed a letter urging us not to leave the EU; science will suffer if we do, they claim. That this is more “Project Fear”, and does not stand up to scrutiny, is easy to see.

Astronomers claim they will suffer from not getting access to major telescopes but there is only one big telescope in the EU. Most are high in the Andes, South Africa, Hawaii and elsewhere around the planet. Not being in the EU will make no difference to the current situation.

We will not be able to work on the International Space Station they claim, but non EU Norway, Switzerland, Canada and Japan are all major contributors along with Russia and the USA so EU membership is hardly vital. The same holds true for building satellites and other contributions to the space programmes. Prior to joining the EU Britain even had its own space programme and was successful in launching a satellite in 1971 (Prospero). It was cancelled by the Heath government prior to joining the EU and is yet another area where EU membership has held us back.

 

Outside the EU we will become a quiet “backwater” of science apparently, but being outside the EU has not stopped the CERN development in Switzerland, one of the world’s most important scientific experiments.

If we leave then scientists will not be able to travel around Europe in the way they do now; that this is another spurious claim is as transparent as still air. Since we are not in the Schengen Area then there will be little change from the current situation should we leave. Did being outside the EU, as we were then, hinder the building of Concorde with the French during the 1960s, for example? As I recall there were many occasions where French and British engineers worked in each other’s countries then and no reason why they shouldn’t in the future.

Before we joined the EU we had some of the world’s leading chemical industries in the UK but now we have none of our own. Leaving the EU could boost our industry in this area, not destroy it as the scientists claim. You can’t destroy something which does not exist.

I am disappointed by many of those who signed, including some of the greatest names in their chosen fields. They should stick to doing what they do best, which obviously is not history, geography and politics.

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