Saturday, January 16, 2010

We're "very good indeed"

The head of the Met Office, John Hirst, defends his organisation's performance – and his £200,000 a year salary. It's all our fault, as we ignored the warnings.

The thing one learns about bureaucrats is that you cannot win. They start from the stance that they are always right. Thus, if you disagree with them, that simply confirms their premise: since they are always right, any contrary view, by definition, must be wrong. As for yesterday, that is history. It has already been re-written.

And, the BBC, of course, is rushing to the beleaguered institution's defence. The Met Office has to make difficult decisions, it says. Some commentators say that if they stay in the long-term weather game and trip up again, they may be pilloried. If they withdraw, they may be accused of losing faith in their methodology - and public confidence in science could be eroded - whether that is fair or not.

Many researchers are likely to feel that they are damned if do and damned if they don't.