The week Britain went crazy

I think Britain has gone mad –

It used to be Keep Calm and Carry On in the face of a crisis- now its more like Run Around, Panic and come up with wacky ideas.

Maybe the whole world has gone mad but I live in Britain and this week seems to be mad week… This is mad in the British sense, insane, not really pissed off but then again that might be part of it too.

I have been out of the loop for a couple of weeks, but started reading the news more carefully this morning instead of just flipping through to see what was going on in Libya and Japan.

First thing Monday morning STARTUP Britain was announced – which on the surface seems kind of OK. It even has a website which has a link to ‘find an idea’ though it didn’t have any ideas, just what other people had already done, ho hum, guess I’ll have to come up with my own.

The website oddly also contains a picture of David Cameron looking like a Baptist minister on the front of a church bulletin (complete with breaking clouds) even though it is a non-profit, non-government funded thing.

David Cameron
David Cameron (sans clouds and sultry ministerial look)

You can buy the starter pack for a mere 25 quid – which contains well mostly some free 1-3 month contracts and a Barclays business account with 25 quid already in it! Joy – ooh and you can design a logo – and that, uh is about it. How is this going to inspire people to open business and be successful? It seems more like a recipe for Bankrupt Britain, or maybe I am missing something or its all a part of the Big Society thing I don’t understand and keep thinking I am missing something.

Then I found a link to Peter Atkins’s OUP blog about his new book –On being – where he tells us that:

Science is still stumped by some of the great questions of being. It still is unable to provide the answers to perhaps the two greatest questions of all: how something came into being from absolutely nothing, not just empty space, and how that something acquired the ability to reflect on such questions (that is, the emergence and nature of consciousness). But neither great question is outside the grasp of science, and both are becoming open to investigation. As scientists are cautious optimists, there is every hope that these truly great and extraordinarily difficult questions will give way to their mode of investigation.

Cool, a real theory of everything, eventually when we grow up, or when our children’s children’s children grow up, we will know it all, no un-answered questions. And science is going to solve everything. Or maybe Peter Atkins is worried about his funding too and decided it was high time he wrote a book.

I could say more, but this is enough, after all its only Monday.

About Sylvia McLain

Girl, Interrupting aka Dr. Sylvia McLain is a bio-physicist in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford (UK), but she blogs in a personal capacity. She is also a proto-science writer, armchair philosopher, amateur plumber and wanna-be film-critic. You can follow her on Twitter @DrSylviaMcLain
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12 Responses to The week Britain went crazy

  1. cromercrox says:

    I had a small business, once, a convenient shell for my meager freelance activities. The considerable increase in administrative costs was offset by the fact that Directors of companies, even if they paid personal tax at 40%, would pay tax on their dividends at 25%. This made it worthwhile – just – in having a business. Then the Labour Chancellor, Gordon Brown closed that loophole. It was no longer worth my having the company so I closed it down. I wonder how much small business enterprise Gordon Brown strangled at birth with this measure? If the STARTUP scheme is to work, it should remove this stricture. But having £25 in a business account with Barclays is worth something. When I had my company it too AGES to set up a business account with Barclays.

    • They don’t seem to offer anything real, in terms of taxes are training or anything, its just seems really superficial, which is how the Big Society seems – no one seems to know what any of these things mean – they just say them.

  2. ricardipus says:

    Run Around, Panic and come up with wacky ideas made me LOL, so thanks for that.

    Not exactly sure, not being au fait with these non-governmental schemes, quite what the point of this is. One could argue that if you have a new idea and can’t get someone to either give or lend you 25 of your Euros Pounds, then it’s probably not going to be a good business proposition anyway.

    But I’m a pessimist, of course.

  3. Have you been following the furore about whether the Arts and Humanities Research Council is (or isn’t) trying to get “on board” with “The Big Society”? A good timeline is here.

    BTW, Back when I was a Chemistry student many (we’re talking pushing thirty) moons ago, it was widely understood that Prof Atkins was the envy of many of his Chemical colleagues as he was even then thought to be a millionaire (at least) from his textbook writing. I bought a couple of his books as a student, and they were very useful. Still have the physical chemistry one.

    • no I haven’t – I don’t trust the big society though so will have a look

      Peter Atkins has excellent Physical chemistry text Molecular Quantum Mechanics is excellent – my point about his new book in my blog I think it too obscure – but if you read what he says in his blog its more clear. He is an excellent teacher – Atkins, I have heard some crazy stories about him as a tutor but who knows how true they are? He was married to Susan Greenfield but you probably know all of that….

      • In my youth (80s) I recall someone claiming the Prof (Peter Atkins) used to drive round Oxford in a Rolls-Royce convertible, though I can’t vouch for the truth of that one…!

        I didn’t ever own Atkins’ MQM, but I have another book he did called Quanta: a handbook of concepts, which I used a lot as an adjunct to my theoretical chemistry courses back in the day.

        The Atkins-Greenfield marriage was a fairly public affair, even without the inevitable Oxford- and science- bush telegraph. I see Atkins remarried recently, BTW.

        • MQM is great – its where I learned a grand proportion of my quantum mechanics from (not that I am an expert) – I have heard similar stories of Atkins, but most of them I don’t want to repeat online – that would be uh Libel!

    • cromercrox says:

      I suspect that you’d be pushing more like 360 moons, rather than 30. Get Thee To An Orrery!

      • Austin says:

        Yes, well spotted, Henry – my astronomical time-keeping is distinctly dodgy. I should have said “…Winters ago”

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