anti-lobbying & academic freedom [in the UK]

“No official seems to have thought through what it might mean to stop anyone who receives government money saying anything of substance to government.” Nature, 02 March 2016

I read this amazing piece of news in The Guardian that from 1 May 2016 onwards, all government grants will include an ‘anti-lobbying clause’ to prevent public money being used to “lobby for new regulation or more government funding.” Specifically, government grants cannot be used to “support activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government or political parties… or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action.” This is so unbelievable that it cannot be what the legislator(s) had intended with this piece of regulation. This week, Nature added an editorial to the debate on this apparently gagging law that comes after similar encroachments on academic freedom in Australia, Canada, and USA. With the argument that this is more dumbness than malice!

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