The UK government is currently trying to stop researchers who receive government grants from using their results to lobby for changes to laws or regulations. Nothing surprising there: this government has shown no hesitation in trying to rig the system to make its own re-election more likely. (Wonder where they got this idea from? Is this kind of thing now regarded as normal in the UK and therefore permissible behaviour?)
What I thought was interesting was the reported motivation for introducing the new rules.
“According to the Cabinet Office, it is intended to broaden government action aimed at stopping NGOs from lobbying politicians and Whitehall departments using the government’s own funds.”
The government’s own funds. You can imagine an irate cabinet minister saying “we gave them our money to do research, and now they are using this research which we paid for to question our policies”. The problem with this logic is that it is not the minister’s money. It is public money disbursed to departments, which departments use to fund research. The research should then be public research, which should be available to all the public (including the researchers) to make any points they wish. The real scandal here is government commissioned research which is not published when it is completed.