"You probably think Parliament is here to make laws, but it actually does far more than that."
Practically every talk we've had has started with some variation on this theme and it's getting a little wearing. But we've been very well looked after and we've had some interesting discussions. One thing that keeps coming up is that the research councils are concentrating more and more of their funding on specified subject areas (in contradiction of the Haldane Principle)and large collaborative grants. No one from the scientist's side that I've spoken to here is in favour of this, and so far no one else has defended the practice.