Document:Charles Walker's 2021 SAGE speech
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Charles Walker's 2021 SAGE speech
I think that is a fantastic and plausible suggestion. We need a diversity of voices, but of course if we had elections, we could get people elected from Independent SAGE, and we know what they want—harder lockdowns, tighter lockdowns and a permanent end to freedoms.
But there is an alternative to elections and to financial disclosure, which is that the Prime Minister could say to members of SAGE, “Here it is: you can either advise me or you can advise the “Today” programme, Sky and Channel 4, but you can’t do both. You can either be a serious scientist at this moment in time advising your Government or you can be a media talking head building a career outside SAGE, but you can’t do both”. I think that is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. We would not expect our generals to give a running commentary on a war, undermining politicians. It is just not acceptable. It is just not acceptable, Mr Deputy Speaker. Can you imagine if the Clerks who advise my Administration Committee were going out and briefing what they would like to see my Committee do and pushing us into a corner all the time? It would not be tolerable. It would not be tolerated in this place, and it should not be tolerated by No. 10.
So here it is: full financial disclosure from members of SAGE and full elections, or they advise the Government, and if they do not want to do that, but want to advise TV studios, they do that, but they do not do both.