back to article Cambridge tech boss rips gov over innovation cash

The head of one of the UK's top innovation centres has predicted a future for British citizens as impoverished peasants, painted blue and dancing for tourists because funding for high tech innovation has been pulled. Walter Herriot, Director of St John's Innovation Centre in Cambridge he said, the money needed for this …

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  1. Richard
    Flame

    Cambridge Tech Boss thows toys out of pram

    Quoted as saying "The British people won't mind living on the street, so long as we keep producing shiny gadgets."

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Breaking through the cash ceiling! .... Spend the disgraced Bad Debt everyone has been Sold.

    All Purges start with the Professional and the Academic. In such cases nowadays, do the Professional and the Academic Crash such Systems with Internal Conflicts which Destroy their Servers. There may also be Legitimate Pirate Skullduggery and/or Danegeld Accomodations to Accompany SMARTer Red Team Pit Bull Drivers and AIMaster Pilots.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and?

    We're supposed to be suprised that our government is once again going after short term feel good tactics as opposed to investing in the future? My buddies and I frequently talk about how little will be left in most of Europe bar peasents and tourists coming to laugh at the global idiots.

    O well. At least the global idiots will know what powers a solar snail...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Getting off lightly

    The Government hasn't *mortgaged* our future, they've *pawned* it. And that's not some kinda leetspeek.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blue?

    I'll be painted yellow whilst dancing for the tourists. That, my friend, is true innovation!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Richard

    Ok, I'm a little out of touch (living in Switzerland), and I know your opinion is shared by a lot of people living in the U.K., but why do people there think that it's so completely unacceptable to rent a place to live? Not owning a house is not the same as being in the street, although you wouldn't know that from talking to citizens or watching the BBC. If the government weren't already giving huge subsidies (in the form of tax deductions) to home-owners, would it be seen as such a necessity?

    If assisting home-buyers is a good idea, then it's because the housing market drives a fair portion of the economy. As a subsidy to the home-building industry, it might even be a good idea, but is it really going to give money to people whose alternative was to live on the street? Isn't that the sort of lending practice that started this whole economic crash in the first place?

    (Anonymous because I'm supposed to be working...)

  7. Peter Thompson

    Too much high table port

    Why doesn't Wally Herriott ask St Johns for a few million? They wouldn't miss it. Alternatively, pop next door to Trinity because they've got more cash than they know what to do with.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well.

    So he's angry that his funding was pulled, because after decades of Brown's economic mismanagement, nobody can afford a house. I can understand that.

  9. Britt Johnston
    Unhappy

    Hard sell

    I am unaware whether the success of Cambridge start-ups was driven by the funding, or the role of this or previous heads.

    I agree with his tenor, that Europe's only advantages are longer-term planning (really?) and a few brains with good ideas.

    And I do wonder how close start-up support comes to corruption - the 'all our competitors are doing it' argument would seem to fit.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey Pappa Smurf

    thing is places such as these are the first to go - if you can do then do - don't advise, do.

    What that means is you should have a share in those government sponsored projects, and plough that share back into the innovation sector, everything now has to be profitable there is no room for fatties anymore.

    No room for financiers, facilitators, politicians, marketing or middle men, just doers.

    Right getting back to doing :)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Paint me blue then

    Personally I have been working in the high-tech R&D innovation business for over 20 years. I am all out of ideas now.

    In fact I'm really fucking bored with it.

    So paint me blue and point me to the tourists, at least they won't have project deadlines and 3-hour conference calls.

  12. Mike
    Joke

    don't forget

    How well subsidies and "helpful programs" for home buyers has went in the US. Just look at the booming real estate market and the profits the companies who hold the mortgages on these properties are doing. How could you possibly be against something that successful ;)

    Joke icon, because, well, you are kidding right??

  13. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    The Government Provides, and doesn't Decide..... with IT and Media ....

    .... Providing Future Options and CyberOperations.!? But it Could and it Should? And Only Takes a Call if you are a Number.

    "I am unaware whether the success of Cambridge start-ups was driven by the funding, or the role of this or previous heads.

    I agree with his tenor, that Europe's only advantages are longer-term planning (really?) and a few brains with good ideas." ... By Britt Johnston Posted Wednesday 17th September 2008 15:23 GMT

    I would have Imagined the Success of Cambridge start-ups is that Invented Product/Intellectual Property for Funds to Support for Realisation/Harvest.

    And one would have thought that by now they would have Cracked the Funding Codes/Special Access Protocols.

    Probably a HydraDynamIQ which Grows Wiser with Beta XXXXPerience and AI Source for Sorcery. 4 A Valiant Einstein 2 Ally too.

    "No room for financiers, facilitators, politicians, marketing or middle men, just doers.

    Right getting back to doing :)" .... Hey Pappa Smurf By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 17th September 2008 15:44 GMT

    Amen to that, AC.

  14. Thomas Silver badge

    @Anonymous Coward

    I think not owning your own house is becoming more acceptable in the UK. It's had to since the buy-to-let and mortgage-risk-as-a-derivative gangs combined to lock an entire generation out of the housing market.

    It may not feel like it now, but I'll bet that anyone younger than about 35 stands to substantially benefit from the ongoing financial implosion. Though probably not for a while and sadly for the government, not before the next general election.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Painted blue and dancing....

    ... sounds a lot like how I spent most of the early to mid '90s....

    ACEEEEEEIIIIIDD!

    (well, at least that's an easy choice which icon to use then...)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Wally Herriott doesn't need our dosh

    Wally is a former bank manager, maybe it's not his "advice" that makes his start-ups 3 x more likely to get financing but rather his "connections?" I always thought it was an old boy's club. Anyway sounds like he's lost it, I'd be quite happy to pick up 100K to "advise". On top of this, it's £50 per square foot to shack up at the St John's Innovation Centre (SJIC), hardly subsidised.

    I quite agree with the above poster - "no room for fatties."

    Yes, while I agree hitech companies need more money, I don't see anything much less useful than funnelling it through people like Wally, and while I run a high tech company, I'm not mourning the loss. All the SJIC are set to loose are the ass kissers who swarm around them every year, like crows, itching for a morsel of tax payer pie...

  17. Steve

    @ @ Richard

    "Not owning a house is not the same as being in the street, although you wouldn't know that from talking to citizens or watching the BBC. If the government weren't already giving huge subsidies (in the form of tax deductions) to home-owners, would it be seen as such a necessity?"

    It's not just direct tax deductions that come into it. When you're paying a mortgage, you're getting ownership of something of physical value in return. When you rent, you leave with nothing. The rent I'm currently paying covers the landlords mortgage repayments on the property but, although I could afford the repayments on a mortgage, I can't afford to pay the rent and save the money needed for a deposit to secure a mortgage.

    The last thing we need in this country is to revert back to a system of landed gentry with the vast majority of the population forced to be their tennants.

  18. Master Baker
    Coat

    Bad investments

    It's funny when stories like this emerge - Labour grabbing money from one scheme to fund another, then anouncing to the public that they're pumping 'an extra <insert ££ here> to <insert fund here>'. It's even more incredible that they try to pass it off as 'new money'. Taxes may have gone up sure, but so has the number of civil servants.

    When you see stories like this (including the many stories about the NHS scrambling for cash, and the increase in council tax because of central government funding cuts) it makes you wonder WTF do we still, as a nation give hundreds of millions of pounds a year to 'developing countries'... such as India, which is a rapidly growing economy,and is actually taking IT work *away* from our shores (WTF do they need our help?) and Pakistan, which is a country on the verge of collapsing (and proven to harbour the militants that attack our troops in Afganistan - WTF do they deserve our help?).

    It's probably an unpopular veiwpoint but why doesn't the government invest taxpayers money into the country? Maybe we'll get called names on the international scene, but it's time to accept that we do have problems in the country,and we're not going to solve those problems by giving away taxpayers cash.

    The government should get their coat.... ( I've already got mine).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Sorry about the spelling error in above post

    Loose = lose... :-)

  20. Bob Ginger
    Black Helicopters

    @Master Baker

    "...When you see stories like this (including the many stories about the NHS scrambling for cash, and the increase in council tax because of central government funding cuts) it makes you wonder WTF do we still, as a nation give hundreds of millions of pounds a year to 'developing countries'... such as India, which is a rapidly growing economy,and is actually taking IT work *away* from our shores..."

    Fecked if I know. Maybe it's a long-term strategy to keep 'em reliant on aid and help slow their growth? If you can come up with a less-barking justification I'm all ears!

    Black helicopter for sinister international financial conspiracies...

  21. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Hotel Californication ..... Bungy Leave Pass.

    "The last thing we need in this country is to revert back to a system of landed gentry with the vast majority of the population forced to be their tennants."

    Landed/Loded Gentry Offering Free Tenancies for the Worthiest and Keenest to Learn, would Benefit Everyone. One wonders why Public Money doesn't dDevelop the Theme Creating Such Loded Gentrification.

  22. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Anonymous Coward

    Did he say

    Why don't we do it in the Woad?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Typical Johnian

    St. John's College is famous in Cambridge for having almost as much money as Trinity but doing hardly anything useful with it. This guy should stop whining to the press and just ask John's to step up for once.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cut to the chase...

    Why Walter bothers to get these little tech companies any money - creating jobs, and stuff - is beyond me. Cambridge University licenses the raw IP to anyone who wants it, so they can take that innovation and go create jobs and stuff somewhere else. Those people can then spend money flying to Cambridge to see the dancing... They get loaded, we get woaded... Dance, light blue boy, dance!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    What innovation really needs ...

    ... is not innovation centres, so much as people who will turn a good idea into one of those dreary business plans we keep hearing about. This service should be provided free (courtesy of our taxes), as it's an investment in the country's future.

    Currently you've not only got to have a good idea, but be able to turn it into a business plan yourself. Few are those that can do both, and the consequence is that most good ideas never see the light of day.

  26. Paul C. Dickie
    Happy

    Incredible!

    Woad you believe it?

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