The Royal Institution was founded in 1799 and claims a 200 year history of communicating scientific issues to the general public through its events, including ones aimed at children and schools, and other activities.
In 1998 Baroness Susan Greenfield became director of the RI.
Housed within the RI is the Science Media Centre (SMC) which was launched in December 2001 with the appointment of its Director, Fiona Fox. Fox is part of the Living Marxism network which has also teamed up with the RI for events, eg the conference Panic Attack in May 2003 was included in the events for post-16 year old school children and advertised as, 'A conference organised by Spiked and the Royal Institution, in association with Tech Central Station.' The editor of Spiked is the former editor of Living Marxism (LM); its General Manager is LM's former co-publisher, etc.. Tech Central Sation is a far right pro-technology group that operates under the slogan, 'Where free markets meet technology'. On its home page Tech Cenral Europe lists Spiked's sister organisation, the Institute of Ideas, directed by Fiona Fox 's sister Claire, as an affiliated think tank.
The event was recommended by the RI as 'particularly suitable for students taking AS Science for public understanding'. The speakers included:
Mick Hume, editor of Spiked and columnist with The Times
Frank Furedi, author of The Culture of Fear
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, author of The Tyranny of Health
There was no disclosure of the fact that all three speakers were once leading members of the Revolutionary Communist Party and continue to work to promote an agreed agenda which includes fervent opposition to any restrictions on GM crops, cloning or other genetic technologies. Several other contributors to the event at the RI, including Ann Furedi and Bill Durodie, were also part of the RCP/Living Marxism network but again their close connection and ideological agreement was not disclosed.
The affiliations of some of the other contributors would have been more apparent to AS students who accepted the RI's recommendation of its event:
James Glassman, host of Tech Central Station
Dr Peter Marsh, director of the Social Issues Research Council
Sallie Baliunas, enviro-sci host at Tech Central Station
Like Tech Central, the mainly-industry funded Social Issues Research Council , which numbers the RI's director amongst its advisors, is also passionately pro-GM.
This is not the only time that the RI and its Director have cooperated in putting on an event with the Living Marxism network (see Susan Greenfield for more on this). Leading network member Dr Michael Fitzpatrick was also part of the Forum on Science and Health Communication that the RI co-convened with the SIRC in order to lay down a code for scientists and the media on the reporting of science stories.
TheScience Media Centre largely grew out of the work of the Forum. Susan Greenfield says it led her to realise that more than a code was needed in order to influence the direction of breaking stories in the media. Both the Forum and the Science Media Centre , as Greenfield told Tony Gilland for Spiked, go back to unhappiness with the media coverage of the Pusztai affair.
Although the SMC is