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Jonathan Butterworth
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Jonathan Butterworth

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Looking forward to this today...
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Jonathan Butterworth

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No need to put out the Capital Letter. I now assume that you expect Cabinet's members to be competent at the fields they have been assigned the head of.

I don't have that confidence. Mainly because of the occasional minister shuffling that happened in France, my birth country, in the last 20 years or so. I'm not sure how it exactly works in other governments, but I expect that the same principles applies: minister/members of the Cabinet have technical advisers on the specific field they lead, they just have the final word. Otherwise, they show up on camera when a significant event about their respective field happens, and that's pretty much it. In that regard, the ministers/Cabinet is just a Public Relations token with limited effective powers. And the current Canadian Cabinet is off the chart PR-wise.

Now, if you would pick people whose technical skills you think are best-suited for a specific field, remember that most of his time will be spent speaking to reporters, cutting ribbons and shaking hands, in other words not working in their field of expertise. That's why doing gender-based discrimination when picking Cabinet members doesn't have any impact on the technical effectiveness of the Cabinet, because the people actually providing actionable advice will be the same low-exposure individuals regardless of the Cabinet member themself.

The biggest feat of the current Cabinet is that it gives a powerful signal that they are trying to promote women's rights and equality while not hampering the actual government function itself.

Of course if you don't believe in women's rights and equality, you're left with the skills argument, which is pretty weak by itself: even with an unbalanced gender ratio, Cabinet members/ministers aren't primarily chosen for their technical expertise anyway, but for their closeness to the PM/president and to fulfill campaign promises/reward loyal lieutenants.
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Jonathan Butterworth

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This doesn’t belong on the Guardian Science pages, because even though universities and science will suffer if Britain leaves the EU, that’s not my main reason for voting ‘remain’. But lots of friends have been writing or talking about their choice, and the difficulties of making it, and I feel the need to write my own reasons down even if everyone is saturated by now. It’s nearly over, after all.

Even though the EU is obviously imperfect, a pragmatic compromise, I will vote to stay in with hope and enthusiasm. In fact, I'll do so partly because it's an imperfect, pragmatic compromise.

More here if you're interested...
This doesn’t belong on the Guardian Science pages, because even though universities and science will suffer if Britain leaves the EU, that’s not my main reason for voting ‘remain&…
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What TBL, John Oliver and you say.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAgKHSNqxa8
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Jonathan Butterworth

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Jon Butterworth is a physics professor at University College London. He is a member of the UCL High Energy Physics group and works on the Atlas experiment at Cern's Large Hadron Collider. In his story, Jon talks about his materialistic and violent past. Die-Cast Cars by Jon Butterworth ...
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Have him in circles
383 people
bLesley Leaper's profile photo
Emily Bug's profile photo
pradeep Ganvir's profile photo
Guerin Green's profile photo
Andrew Dandilly's profile photo
Tom Chivers's profile photo
The Fun Is Real's profile photo
Steve Coleman's profile photo
Paul Newman's profile photo
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UCL Physics Prof working on LHC, dad, dodgy guitarist, Guardian Science blogger, Man City fan in exile.
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UCL Physics Prof working on LHC, dad, dodgy guitarist, Guardian science blogger, Man City fan in exile.