Urgent new priority for UK science

In a dramatic move today, the Government responded to an unprovoked attack on scientists from Guardian writer Simon Jenkins by announcing radical new priorities for UK science.

Revealing the policy shift, science minister David Willetts said*, “We have to re-purpose the scientific effort of the country to address the urgent problem of recovering the missing half of Simon Jenkins’ arse.”

“I will also contribute personally to the project,” continued Willetts, “by devoting one of my two brains to the search.”

Jenkins expressed huge relief at the news. “I simply can’t function without it,” wailed the benighted opinion-dealer*. “I love science and sciency stuff. I really do. I am totally awesomised by the wondrous wonder of it all. But every time I try to write about it, I come out with this half-arsed crap. I mean, look at what I wrote last week. Just look at it. Complete twaddle!”

When asked for comment, Lord Rees, the outgoing President of the Royal Society whose Reith Lectures were viciously and groundlessly attacked in Jenkins’ wayward article, said*, “He was very mean about my lectures. I thought they were quite good actually.”

Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, announced that the Trust would be cancelling their investment in the planned UK Centre for Medical Research in order to re-direct funds to tackle the Government’s new scientific priority. “It may seem reckless,” he said*, “but Jenkins’ scientific half-arsedness is like a virulent cancer at the heart of our society. I know the problem may sound straightforward — all we need to do is to locate Jenkins’ left buttock — but it is technically very challenging. Though we suspect the half-arse to be quite big, we know from looking at his newspaper column that it became detached some time ago.”

Physicists speculate that Jenkins’ half arse may be source of anti-Dark Matter. Professor Stephen Hawking explained*, “In it’s absence the dark matter of the other buttock appears to overwhelm his grey matter, leaving the poor man incapable of rational thought.”

Ian Sample, Guardian science correspondent and author of Massive, a new book on particle physics, speculated* that the arse may also be location of a mysterious entity known as the Higgs bozo.

But Mark Henderson, science editor at the Times, sounded a note of caution*: “It may in fact be dangerous to re-unite the two buttocks because that could make Jenkins a complete arsehole.”

Police forces around the country will also be involved in the search for the missing buttock. When asked about Jenkins’ arse, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said*, ‘We are looking into it.’


*No he didn’t. (Libel Indemnity Clause: Please support ongoing efforts for reform of the Libel Laws of England and Wales)

With apologies to The Two Ronnies but thanks to Jon Butterworth who set the ball rolling and Jenny Rohn who picked up the ball, dubbed it #SpoofJenks and ran with it.

Aggregate of #SpoofJenks blog posts can be found on Jenny’s blog here.

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14 Responses to Urgent new priority for UK science

  1. Brian Clegg says:

    My history is a bit rusty, but wasn’t there a Battle of Jenkins’ Arse some time in the 19th Century? Probably in America.

  2. Richard P. Grant says:

    I will provide an atlas to help with the search.

  3. Stephen Curry says:

    Think you may be right there Brian…!
    Richard – I hope that’s an atlas of the universe. By all accounts, this thing could be massive!

  4. Bob O'Hara says:

    His left behind was left behind, then?

  5. Stephen Curry says:

    Very good Bob! ;-) Such dry wit could surely be fleshed out into a whole post…? hint, hint…

  6. Bob O'Hara says:

    I’m working on something, but no promises. I really should be finishing an analysis of the asymmetry of WWII Finnish soldiers.
    We scientists have important work to do, you see.

  7. Stephen Moss says:

    If his half-arsed comments are to inspire a search for Jenks’ missing buttock, we might also keep in mind his tendency to go off half-cocked. On second thoughts, perhaps we don’t want to go there……..

  8. Jim Caryl says:

    I heard that his buttocks were held together by quantum entanglement, but his ongoing anti-science rhetoric has destabilised his quantum buttocks leaving them thoroughly disentangled, and resulting in an issuance of malodorous columnorrhoea.

  9. Stephen Curry says:

    @Stephen – The horror! The horror!
    @Jim – Funny you should mention quantum entanglement. Did you see this? Not read the original paper, but my first impression was there’s less to it than meets the eye…

  10. Cath Ennis says:

    Cheeky!

  11. Jim Caryl says:

    Hehe, it may have been on my mind, after having read reports of the same paper ;-)

  12. Stephen Curry says:

    Was a bit slow on the uptake there Cath – ta!
    @Jim – great minds, obviously. ;-)

  13. Diziet Sma says:

    The other half of the arse might still be missing, but the hole is still there!

  14. Pingback: Shaking with anger: why Simon Jenkins is wrong — and right | Stephen Curry | Science | Egypt