Sunday, January 29, 2017

Science against national-populism

Scientists are and will be an important part of the resistance against Trump, Brexit, Le Pen and the other national-populists that are trying to erode democracy and a universalistic ethic. We know about the hate that Trump feels towards scientists. Colin Talbot reports about the consequences of Brexit for scientists, especially for European academics living in the UK. As a European who was very happy doing research in the UK between 1999 and 2002, I find this very sad. Scientists resisting national-populsim deserve all our support. The article by Talbot concludes with these parapgraphs: "Our global status isn’t of course just dependent on EU academics – UK experts are our bedrock (70%) – but the other 30% that come from the EU and the rest of the world are an important part of our global status. Losing this talent – whether through demoralization or deliberate design – would have catastrophic effects. As Brian Cox puts it “Ministers must consider our global reputation before uttering platitudinous sound-bites for domestic consumption, and think much more carefully about how to ensure that the UK remains the best place in the world to educate and to be educated. UK Universities are everything the government claims it wants our country to become; a model for a global future.” He added “the current rhetoric is the absolute opposite of what is required. The UK appears, from outside, to be increasingly unwelcoming and backward looking”.” They should be even more careful about the policies they enact and the way they are implemented.
The Home Office’s at best clumsy, at worse malicious, handling of residency claims is causing huge distress and damage to our reputation. I am already hearing cases of EU nationals leaving, or planning to leave, because of the uncertain and unwelcoming future they now face. One academic lawyer I know of has already moved. We don’t know what the eventual outcome will be and how many EU academics we’ll lose now, or in the future, as a result of all this."

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