Go back

Advisory warning


Ivory Tower: The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology WhatsApp group

PermanentSecretary: Now that the new department is up and running, I’m putting together this group of ministers and ex-ministers to provide advice.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: I’m not leaving.

DonelanSoS: You’ve already left.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: Sorry, I thought this was TikTok.

Mogg1889: What is TikTok? OVER.

FreemanSuperpower: It is a social media app produced in China.

Mogg1889: Like rhubarb? OVER.

QuasiKwarteng: That’s from Yorkshire.

AlokSharma; What’s he doing here? Awks.

Ready4Rishi: No, I’m the one from Yorkshire.

GregClarkSelect: Yeah, Yorkshire, California.

Ready4Rishi: I’m the MP for Richmond.

Mogg1889: I thought Richmond was in Surrey. OVER.

Ready4Rishi: It’s in the North. It got levelling-up money and everything.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: Probably best not talk about that.

FreemanSuperpower: Quite right, you never know whether these WhatsApp messages will be leaked in a kiss and tell memoir.

AndreaLeadsom: Don’t look at me.

GregClarkSelect: I had completely forgotten she was a science minister.

AndreaLeadsom: I wasn’t a science minister, I was secretary of state for business.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: And so, you were in charge of science.

AndreaLeadsom: Was I? You’ll be telling me I was responsible for energy next.

AlokSharma: Awks.

PermanentSecretary: This is a list of everyone in government with knowledge of R&D.

TheOtherNUS: Are you sure?

LordJoJo: Don’t know if I qualify as government anymore.

DonelanSoS: Part of the brains trust, Jo.

SkidmoreNetZero: Can we talk about emissions?

LordJoJo: My brother isn’t here, is he?

Solloway4Derby: Can we talk about bullying?

AlokSharma: Dominic Raab isn’t on here, is he?

PermanentSecretary: No.

AlokSharma: Thank god, he terrifies me.

PermanentSecretary: This is a safe and secure space for offering open and frank advice.

AlokSharma: Matt Hancock isn’t on here?

PermanentSecretary: No.

Solloway4Derby: Thank god, he terrifies me.

AlokSharma: He terrifies all of us. Have you seen him in lycra?

FreemanSuperpower: Maybe we could talk about Europe.

Mogg1889: Am I in the right group for that? OVER.

AndreaLeadsom: Typical remoaner George. You lost, get over it.

GregClarkSelect: I think he means Horizon.

AndreaLeadsom: Oh, the science programme? I know about that.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: The penny finally drops.

AndreaLeadsom: It’s on BBC2 but I usually watch it on iPlayer.

Solloway4Derby: I think he means Horizon Europe.

AndreaLeadsom: Is that one of those digital channels?

FreemanSuperpower: It is the European Union’s science and research programme.

AndreaLeadsom: What channel is it on?

DonelanSoS: Look, I think we need an agreed position for this.

Mogg1889: What about the compost heap? OVER.

LordJoJo: Is there a plan B?

Mogg1889: The downstairs privy? OVER.

FreemanSuperpower: I’m looking for a firm steer from the PM.

PermanentSecretary: Yes, that would be good. Would you like to say something, prime minister?

[…Ready4Rishi is typing…]

DonelanSoS: He’s taking a long time.

QuasiKwarteng: I was chancellor longer than this.

[…Ready4Rishi is typing…]

PermanentSecretary: Are you still there, prime minister?

Ready4Rishi: I am absolutely committed […Ready4Rishi is typing…]

FreemanSuperpower: That’s pretty clear then.

Ready4Rishi: To making a decision on this.

DonelanSoS: When?

[…Ready4Rishi is typing…]

FreemanSuperpower: The programme is nearly halfway through.

AndreaLeadsom: There’s always iPlayer, George.

LordJoJo: Didn’t Ursula von der Leyen say we could join immediately?

SkidmoreNetZero: Just as soon as we get Brexit done.

LordJoJo: Awks.

PermanentSecretary: Are you still there, prime minister?

[…Ready4Rishi is typing…]

Solloway4Derby: Does anyone know what the DUP think?

AlokSharma: This is a science group, not a theology seminar.

PermanentSecretary: Prime minister?

Ready4Rishi: Sorry, I was using that app that remotely controls your central heating. Need to warm up the pool for later.

FreemanSuperpower: I’m not prepared to wait another year.

Ready4Rishi: That’s the great thing about the grid upgrade we had, it warms the water in a few hours.

FreemanSuperpower: I’m talking about association.

Mogg1889: We are with the RAC, could recommend you. OVER.

DonelanSoS: Prime minister, this has gone on too long.

Ready4Rishi: Come on guys, we are just getting started. Throw another topic at me.

LordJoJo: Are we done with Europe?

AndreaLeadsom: Absolutely.

SkidmoreNetZero: How about university zones?

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: Twenty is plenty.

DonelanSoS: Should be no more than 12.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: But you would stall your car driving at that speed.

SkidmoreNetZero: We are not talking about what speed you drive past a university.

Mogg1889: The Rolls normally does about 60 on the way up to Oxford.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: If we built a motorway between the two universities you could do 70.

FreemanSuperpower: We are talking about enterprise zones centred around university science parks or advanced manufacturing centres.

QuasiKwarteng: Like freeports?

PermanentSecretary: No.

AndreaLeadsom: Sounds a bit boring, who came up with that?

Ready4Rishi: It’s part of my plans for growth.

AndreaLeadsom: Should probably just take vitamins or get some Cuban heels.

Ready4Rishi: Economic growth!

LordJoJo: Where are these zones going to be?

Ready4Rishi: The North and the Midlands.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: Is Richmond getting one?

Mogg1889: Sounds a lot like levelling up. OVER.

Ready4Rishi: It’s definitely not levelling up.

QuasiKwarteng: Does sound like levelling up.

Ready4Rishi: Stop saying that. La la la, I’m not listening.

SkidmoreNetZero: If it’s levelling up, shouldn’t we include Michael Gove?

AlokSharma: He’s not on here, is he?

PermanentSecretary: No.

AlokSharma: Thank God, he terrifies me.

Sollway4Derby: The dancing, right?

FreemanSuperpower: Can we talk about semiconductors?

AndreaLeadsom: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

FreemanSuperpower: What we do about conductors is very important.

Mogg1889: They are scrapping the BBC singers. Maybe they could do the conductors at the same time. OVER.

DonelanSoS: As former culture secretary, I would just like to ask, couldn’t we save the singers?

QuasiKwarteng: Did they support Gary Lineker?

DonelanSoS: Perhaps, they could become the GB News singers.

GregClarkSelect: Have you seen the dross that is on there?

Mogg1889: I’m still here, thank you. OVER.

Ready4Rishi: Does anyone actually know anything about semiconductors?

PermanentSecretary: Does anyone have a phone number for David Willetts?

SkidmoreNetZero: They are chips.

MichaelGreenGrantShapps: Is that a red wall issue?

Sollway4Derby: At last something from all this investment that my constituents could benefit from.

SirPatrickV: We are preparing a strategy, prime minister.

QuasiKwarteng: Has he been here the whole time?

PermanentSecretray: This is an advisory group and he is the chief scientific adviser.

FreemanSuperpower: When will the strategy be ready, Patrick?

[…SirPatrickV is typing…]

LordJoJo: It’s been years.

Ready4Rishi: Not you too, Jo, we are only at the beginning of this thread.

PermanentSecretary: Sir Patrick, perhaps you could tell us when the strategy will be published?

[…SirPatrickV is typing…]

AlokSharma: What’s keeping him?

SirPatrickV: Sorry, I was using that app that remotely controls your heating. Just warming the bedroom. What was the question?

LordJoJo: Can anyone remember who commissioned the semiconductor strategy?

Ready4Rishi: It must have been one of you.

SkidmoreNetZero: Not me.

TheOtherNUS: Pretty sure it wasn’t me.

Solloway4Derby: I would have remembered the chips.

SirPatrickV: Actually, prime minister, it was the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who started it.

DonelanSoS: God, was it me?

SirPatrickV: Not unless you were secretary of state in 2021.

Ready4Rishi: Too early for Michelle, who was SoS then?

NadsDorries: Hello boys, did you miss me?

Mogg1889: It’s one of the GB News singers. OVER.

AlokSharma has left the group…

TheOtherNUS has left the group…

FremanSuperpower has left the group…

GregClarkSelect has left the group…

SkimoreNetZero has left the group…

Solloway4Derby has left the group…

SirPatrickV has left the group….

MichaelGreenGrantShapps has left the group…

NadsDorries: Did someone want to talk about chips?

Mogg1899: Maybe we could talk about Europe. OVER.

AndreaLeadsom: Sounds good.

Ready4Rishi has left the group…

NadsDorries: They have them with mayonnaise rather than ketchup. Disgusting.

AndreaLeadsom: Disgusting.

Mogg1899: Thumbs-up emoji. OVER.

PermanentSecretary has deleted this group.


Terms of use: this is a free email for fun on a Sunday. It should not be squirrelled away like a tax-free pension pot. Want to contribute to the national chips strategy? Want to say hello? Email ivorytower@researchresearch.com