Wednesday 20 February 2013

Are geologists important? The canine perspective

Many readers in the UK will already be familiar with the row that broke out this week when one of our leading Conservative politicians implied that supermarket shelf stackers have a more important job than geologists.*

Let me declare an interest.

Those of you who have followed my Bertie Boffin lecture series know all about my skills as an Earth Scientist. Gail has degrees in both Geology and Geophysics. The street where we live, in the heart of 'Europe's Oil Capital' has, at a guess, one of the highest densities of geoscientists in the UK. Really, you can't venture out the front door without bumping into another one.

So, Mr Iain Duncan Smith, I am amply qualified to give an opinion, at least from a canine perspective, on what are the good and bad points of this particular breed.

First off, and most importantly, you can rely on a geologist to take you on regular long walks in the hills. Most of them will only have studied the subject at university because they fancied the idea of the field trips, and not because they envisaged a relatively lucrative career sat in front of a computer in the offices of an oil company. So at weekends there is nothing they like better than to head out into the countryside, often to places that are spectacular and seldom visited by shelf stackers or in fact anyone else. This, I would say, is their most useful trait.

Secondly, you rarely get lost when you're with a geologist. Even without Satnav, most of them can find their way around, despite lacking a dog's sensory advantages. They can visualise what a landscape looks like simply by glancing at a map with some squiggly contour lines drawn on. It's true! They might even be able to navigate their way to the pet food aisle at Tesco, or better yet, the meat counter.

Thirdly, I am reminded that it is geologists who explore for the fuel to transport me out of Aberdeen to all those nice walking places, and for the materials to manufacture the computers without which there would be no 'Bouncing Bertie's Blog'. Even a Tory would agree that these are important roles.

Can I think of any downsides? Well it has to be said that a disproportionately high number of male geologists have beards. And as all pups know, it is not so much fun licking a beardy face, although even then, the possibility of finding food caught up in the facial fuzz can be seen as a positive.

So there you have it, Mr Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

I make no judgements about shelf stackers, but geologists are surely a GOOD and USEFUL thing, in my wholly unbiased view.

Gail, do I get my special treat now?
Admiring the Torridonian Sandstone - July 2012.

*Background summary: an unemployed young geology graduate took the government to court for forcing her to work unpaid stacking shelves at Poundland or lose her benefit payments, and she won her case. The government are appealing the verdict.


  1. The comment was made by a POLITICIAN....we're allowed to bite politicians if we ever meet one.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

    We know lots about geology because we dig a lot.

  2. Can you chew on a trilobite ?

  3. Howdy Bertie, Could your Gail take Mr Duncan Smith on a Field Trip and perhaps lose him? No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  4. Well put Bertie. You tell em. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. Very informative post Bertie! Perhaps beards are science thing our Dad has a PHD in biochemistry and he has a beard. We think he likes this job because he likes working alone and obsessing over small things. He also says it was either that or dish washer as that was his college job and biochemistry post dog is slightly more lucrative. If you ask us geologist sounds like lots more fun with all those trips into the country side. Plus our mom can get lots anywhere, literally anywhere even in Manhattan by our job of ten years, she surely should have studied geology rather then special education and english literature

    urban hounds

  6. That sounds like a very mean thing for him to say! You make some excellent points in favor of geologists. Maybe I need to rent one or something.

  7. Well put friend, well put!

  8. Excellent Come Back buddy. You really stated your case WELL.

  9. Bertie I think you definitely earned your special treat - you made an excellent case on the value Geologists bring to the comforts and necessities the bring to both pups and peeps!

    I hope it was at least as good as a marrow bone my furiend ;)

    Waggin at ya,

  10. Sounds like you made some good points having a geologist smarty pants for a mom
    Benny & Lily

  11. I liked the first letter from Daisy, Bella and Roxy who are allowed to bite politicians whenever they happen to meet one. They should come to the USA, where politicians are falling out of the trees and turning up at every corner, easy targets for you dogs. We would appreciate you doing this biting since we USA dogs would get into terrible trouble if we did.
    So, is it a deal? Come in the summer, because they come to every wake and wedding there is!

    Gratefully yours,
    Stella (good job on your writing Bertie!)

  12. Well done Bertie. I'm sure Gail appreciates your vote of confidence.


  13. Yes, I heard this story! I think it's an insult to geologists (especially Gail)! They are all very important, and yes, shop stackers are important IN SHOPS. Geologists are important EVERYWHERE.
    Oh, and maybe try NEIGH to go down the meat aisle at tescos...
    All in all, you worded this very well and I think Gail should be very proud of you!

  14. BERTIE
    OMDs not only are you handsome and smart you are also very diplomatic!! Be still my kitty heart.
    Hugs madi your BFFF

  15. Bertie, you have a wonderful way with words. You need a column in your local newspaper. You are very wise.

    Loveys Sasha

  16. Thank you for telling us about geologists. Lee and Phod who never met a geologist.

  17. What do pollyticians know anyways?? I'd go for a walk with you anytime!! way to set it straight!!


  18. Hi Bertie, how lovely to meet you! I would love to subscribe to your blog, but I don't know how - can you help?

  19. I see the point you are making mate, but what I want to know is, what proportion of female geologists have beards....or possibly moustaches? ;-) Deccy x

  20. Hello Bertie!
    I'm so sorry, but there's something on my blog for you! You will maybe have to type a lot tonight, like I did...

    1. You don't need to type all that I typed actually. It's not fun! I thought I'd just nominate you because you're brilliant!

  21. Mr. Iain Duncan Smith sounds like a sore loser. Bet he's perfectly happy to spend all the oil wealth geologists shovel into the UK's coffers. And his degree would be in ....??

    Suspect he's afraid if geologists can successfully balk at forced unpaid work, the floodgates will open and everyone getting benefits will balk at forced unpaid work. Has he given any thought at all, do you suppose, to the people who would be grateful to have paid jobs as shelf stackers, and whom he is depriving of gainful employment by forcing other citizens to do the work for free?