The ‘Haldane Principle’ is not 90 years-old. It was not the creation of the 1918 Committee chaired by Richard Burdon Haldane. Rather, the ‘Haldane Principle’ was invented by the Conservative Party sometime in 1963.

As David Edgerton, Professor in the History of Science at Imperial College London has pointed out, the idea that it should be academics rather than politicians who determine how research funds are spent does not appear in Haldane’s 1918 Report on the Machinery of Government, so often credited with its birth. In fact, it does not appear in records at all until 1963 when the Tory party invented it.

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