“The politics of science is one of those topics that tends to be dealt with in clichés, often self-serving clichés: truth versus lies, reason versus magic, etc. But this is an exceptional account of the politics of science which deals with the messy realities of scientific diplomacy and scientific politics. It’s a very rare, frank account by a scientist about the realities of science-state relations, of science-policy relations.
It’s concerned with Covid, with the World Health Organization, with China, and above all British politics and Covid. One of the things it exposes in relation to the UK is the systemic mediocrity of British government, with very, very rare exceptions which are celebrated. This mediocrity led, according to this book, to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. It is a serious intervention in our understanding of the politics of Covid, as well the epidemiology, the science, the vaccines and so on.”
The 2022 Orwell Prize for Political Writing