No government science news, please: Welcome to the UK’s purdah
As most Embargo Watch readers — and certainly all of those in the UK — know, there will be a UK general election on May 6. That means that starting on April 6, when prime minister Gordon Brown announced the election, the government entered a period known as purdah.
During purdah, government officials and organizations that work for the government are banned from sending out press releases or making other statements that might be construed as supporting or criticizing the government. That includes science and medical organizations, of course.
Purdah is a curtain which makes sharp separation between the world of man and that of a woman, between the community as a whole and the family which is its heart, between the street and the home, the public and the private, just as it sharply separates society and the individual.
I’ve already heard of one bizarre purdah-related embargo misstep involving a press release, which I can’t report about until purdah ends. Let me know if you hear of any more.