Research is a great job opportunity for someone. Where / who are these spivs thinking up research projects to pitch to funders – for a FEE of course? It seems like every week we have at least one headlined announcement about the results of some new piece of work. Have you noticed that they often have the following features: the answer was predictable and it will soon be contradicted by another piece of so-called research? Sometimes I sit here thinking “I could have told them that”, I bet that you do the same. This morning it was Statins: a few weeks ago we were told that we should all be, more-or-less, compulsorily medicated with statins, and now “research suggests” those on statins should have their dosage cut to avoid side effects. Doh! I could have told them that. Not long ago we were hearing that research suggested a glass of wine a day (for those that can afford to drink wine) is good for you: now it isn’t. Let’s all take an Aspirin a day. No, on second thoughts, let’s not. Give up smoking, it will kill you. Well, hang on, it’s apparently relatively ok to smoke until you are thirty (who thought that one up, Imperial Tobacco?). “People with more money are generally happier and healthier than poor people” Well, blow me down, who’d have thought it? At least purveyors of anti-wrinkle cream are transparent: we know what they want. “82% of 129 women (or men) agree…”, it’s only the maths that’s suspect: presumably 105 agreed but one person wasn’t sure. What lunatic bases a marketing campaign on such a thin sample, and why would anyone base a purchase on that sort of evidence. I suppose it’s the transparent contempt for our intelligence and common sense that is so offensive.
I wonder how much of our shrunken GDP is dependent on the research industry? Maybe SAGA could set up a research consultancy? I’m sure that a panel of “economically underactive” older people could answer some of these pressing questions over a cup of tea and a Hob Nob. A nice little earner in a recession too, and more entertaining than a trip to the local day-care centre. Oh, sorry, that’s probably closed isn’t it.