Britain's most senior scientist warned last week that UK research is being stifled by an 'appalling, obsessive' bureaucracy. 'A bunch of academic apparatchiks' is threatening our scientific brilliance, said Lord May, retiring president of the Royal Society.
'Today, Crick and Watson's work on DNA would have been blocked before they had got started. Crick would have been sacked for being idle and Watson would have been told to piss off and stop messing about with his grant.'
May - in short - is in typical form. The Australian-born mathematician - scourge of greenies, homeopaths, lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians - leaves office on Wednesday, but he is not going quietly. He described the beliefs of US climate chief James Connaughton as 'loony' and warned that Christian and Islamic fundamentalists now threaten to create a blighted, blinkered world worthy of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Hopefully May will continue to be a strong voice on all of these issues in the House of Lords.