Articles Tagged "Christopher Booker"
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Saturday, January 12th 2013, 5:22 PM EST
It is the graph the Met Office didn’t want you to see, in an episode which, according to one newspaper, represents “a crime against science and the public”.
Inevitably last week it didn’t take long for the bush fires set off by Australia’s “hottest summer ever” to be blamed on runaway global warming. Rather less attention was given to the heavy snow in Jerusalem (worst for 20 years) or the abnormal cold bringing death and destruction to China (worst for 30 years), northern India (coldest for 77 years) and Alaska, with average temperatures down in the past decade by more than a degree. But another story, which did attract coverage across the world, was the latest in a seemingly endless series of embarrassments for the UK Met Office.
Some of this story may be familiar – how on Christmas Eve the Met Office sneaked on to its website a revised version of the graph it had posted a year earlier showing its prediction of global temperatures for the next five years. Not until January 5 did sharp-eyed climate bloggers notice how different this was from the graph it replaced. When the two graphs were posted together on Tallbloke’s Talkshop, this was soon picked up by the Global Warming Policy Foundation which whizzed it around the media.
Saturday, December 29th 2012, 5:17 PM EST
It was the year when many long-dominant belief systems began to collapse
There could be few more apt epitaphs for the year now ending than a recollection of the headlines in April that greeted a stark warning from the Environment Agency. Fuelled by the predictions of the climate-change-obsessed Met Office (and the the official policy, since 2007, of the similarly fixated EU) that we will have “hotter, drier summers” for decades to come, the agency foretold that the drought conditions of the early spring were likely to last “until Christmas and perhaps beyond”. The prophecy was swiftly followed by the wettest late spring, the wettest summer, the wettest autumn and the wettest Christmas we have ever known – eight months of near-continuous rain and floods amounting to England’s wettest year since records began.
For many of the major stories which have long been followed by this column, 2012 has been the year when long-dominant belief systems and fondly held illusions have been conspicuously falling apart, portending a time of agonising reappraisal when familiar certainties give way to greater realism and painful rethinking.
Thursday, December 27th 2012, 7:32 AM EST
Once you're at the top, it seems your very incompetence will be rewarded
One of the more conspicuous features of British life nowadays is how many people who are, in one way or another, found seriously at fault, such as by failing to do their job properly, are nevertheless allowed to get away with it without having to pay any penalty. We see almost daily examples, as when the head of a major news organisation, forced to resign in what should be disgrace, walks away with £11 million; or a senior council executive fired for incompetence is then given a grotesquely inflated pay-off, such as the former head of Haringey social services compensated with £1 million for her wrongful dismissal after the Baby P scandal.
Even more familiar are the cases of people who make every kind of mess of a job they are overpaid for and never get sacked at all, such as those “quango queens”, who move effortlessly from one post to another, hopelessly out of their depth in every one. “What does it take to get sacked,” we may ask, “if you are at the top of an organisation in modern Britain?”
Saturday, November 24th 2012, 4:24 PM EST
I don’t know which was worse to wake up to on Friday morning: news of those grotesquely inflated pay-offs being given to former BBC apparatchiks or the demonstration that followed of how lamentably we are served in return for all that wasted money. On the one hand, it was George Entwistle being handed half a million pounds, or £10,000 a day for his brief, inglorious 54 days as director-general. On the other, it was a succession of items on the Today programme previewing next week’s publication of the Government’s dog’s breakfast of an Energy Bill.
This began, appropriately, with an item by Roger Harrabin, the organiser of that notorious secret seminar in 2006 which led the BBC to decide that it was quite all right to abandon any pretence at balance in its coverage of climate change and energy issues. It concluded by giving the programme’s peak slot to a propagandist from Greenpeace and a patsy interview with Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary. He was allowed to get away with a load of waffle to the effect that his plans for “energy savings”, and for us all to pay an extra £7.6 billion a year for “green electricity”, will not push our energy bills even higher than they are already (as everyone else predicts), but instead will somehow reduce them.
The problem with BBC coverage of these issues is that its reporters and presenters don’t even begin to do the homework needed to give them a grasp of the basics of the subject. Their brains addled by talking to their friends in Greenpeace, they unwittingly mislead their audience with almost every sentence they utter. I shall return to this next week when we have seen what Mr Davey’s dog’s breakfast actually contains.
Click source for more from Christopher Booker [The only way we can 'renegotiate' is by asking to leave the EU]
Saturday, November 17th 2012, 4:02 PM EST
The truth of a secret meeting that decided BBC policy on climate change has come out online
Unfolding in the shadow of the greatest crisis in the BBC’s 90-year history has been another scandal, rather less publicised, which again reveals how profoundly the BBC has gone off the rails, morally and professionally. Last week, I reported how the BBC had spent large sums of our money fielding an array of lawyers against a pensioner from Wales to hide what I called, with considerable understatement, “a dirty little secret”. But that secret has now been disclosed to the world, confirming how seriously the BBC has been misrepresenting its policy on one of the most far-reaching issues of our time.
A year ago, I published a detailed report attempting to unravel what has long been a serious puzzle. How was it that, over the past six years, the BBC has been so ready to betray its statutory duty to impartiality by such relentlessly one-sided promotion of the scare over global warming and all it entails, such as the Government’s policy on wind farms? No organisation has done more to obscure the truth about an issue whose political and financial implications for us all are incalculable.
The BBC’s decision to defy its charter obligation to report on this subject impartially followed from a secret day-long seminar held at Television Centre on January 26, 2006. It was attended by all the BBC’s top brass, including George Entwistle, the short-lived director-general, then head of TV current affairs, and several executives who have had to “step aside” because of the Savile affair, such as Helen Boaden, then director of news, and Steve Mitchell, then head of radio news.
Saturday, November 3rd 2012, 6:41 PM EDT
On two of the most important issues of our time, a stifling consensus is beginning to break up
"Enough is enough”: blazoned over the front pages of two national newspapers, that was the verdict on wind farms from energy minister John Hayes last week. But it could just have well been spoken about Britain and the EU, by any of those 53 Tory MPs who inflicted a humiliation on David Cameron over his wish to accept a limited increase in the Brussels budget.
Both episodes caused a furore, but what was significant was that each marked the cracking apart of a suffocating all-party consensus which has imprisoned our politics for far too long. Even a year ago, it would have been unthinkable that so many Tory rebels would be willing to defeat the Government over the EU – or that a minister would question the plans to cover our countryside with wind farms. For years our politics has been frozen in a claustrophobic unanimity, whereby all parties agreed that we must not question our loyalty to the EU – or the need to “fight climate change” by suicidally distorting our energy policy in favour of those absurd windmills. But on each issue, those who spoke out last week were aware that their actions were viewed with sympathy even in the highest reaches of government.
Mr Cameron may secretly be pleased that this rebellion will help him strike a Thatcher-like pose, “defending Britain’s interests” against demands for a further huge increase in the spending of the Brussels Monster – as his EU colleagues head for a new treaty which will more than ever marginalise the British as second-class “European citizens”.
Wednesday, October 31st 2012, 5:29 PM EDT
The significance of yesterday’s shock announce-ment by our Energy Minister John Hayes that the Government plans to put a firm limit on the building of any more onshore windfarms is hard to exaggerate.
On the face of it, this promises to be the beginning of an end to one of the greatest and most dangerous political delusions of our time.
For years now, the plan to cover hundreds of square miles of the British countryside with ever more wind turbines has been the centrepiece of Britain’s energy policy — and one supported by all three major political parties.
Back in 2008, when Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his wish to see the country spend £100 billion on windfarms, the only response from the Tory leader David Cameron was to say that he should have done it sooner.
It was the only way, they all agreed, Britain could meet our commitment to the EU that, by 2020, we must produce nearly a third of our electricity from ‘renewables’ — with the largest part provided by tens of thousands more wind turbines.
Yet now, out of the blue, has come this announcement by the Coalition Energy Minister that from now on there is to be a moratorium on building onshore turbines other than those for which consent has already been given.
Saturday, October 27th 2012, 5:26 PM EDT
Chris Patten hasn't shown much commitment to BBC standards of 'balance'
As the BBC was last week engulfed in what its chairman, Lord Patten, called “a tsunami of filth”, some observers widened out our attention to the peculiar role played at the head of the BBC’s affairs by Lord Patten himself.
Under the headline “Patten personifies everything that’s wrong with the BBC elite”, the Telegraph’s Peter Oborne trenchantly observed how “the BBC in recent years has been colonised and captured by a narrow, greedy, self-interested and self-perpetuating liberal elite, contemptuous of ordinary people and of ordinary morality”. In other words, the unspeakable Savile affair is a symptom of a deeper corruption that has pervaded the BBC for years.
Apart from a desire to award each other grotesquely inflated salaries, one of this elite’s most alarming traits has been the contempt they show for the BBC’s legal duty, under its Charter, to report on the world with “due accuracy and impartiality”. There is an ever-longer list of issues on which the BBC has a clear “party line”, which it pushes with shameless disregard for balance.
Saturday, October 20th 2012, 4:36 PM EDT
David Cameron's promise to control energy bills runs counter to the Government's own 'green' policies
Last week, I returned from a visit to India – which last July suffered the most extensive power cut in history, affecting 600 million people – to find our own energy policy in a worse shambles than ever. Provoked by soaring energy bills, which have recently risen by a further 13 per cent, David Cameron again displayed his astonishing naivety in such matters by promising to force energy companies to charge only the lowest prices for their gas and electricity – just when even Ofgem has been warning us that we too face the prospect of massive power cuts, thanks to the imminent closure of so many of our power stations.
It is more than five years since I began warning here that Britain’s lights were in danger of going out, thanks to the lunacy of successive governments in shutting their eyes to this crisis. Yet Mr Cameron’s only response is to indulge in a political gimmick prompting almost universal howls of derision, and serving only to show that he knows even less about the real world of energy than his technically illiterate Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey.
What Mr Cameron clearly hasn’t realised is that the main reason why our energy companies need to charge us ever more for electricity lies in his own Government’s deluded policies. He and his colleagues prattle on about how, over the next eight years, we need to spend £100 billion on building 30,000 useless, unreliable and grotesquely subsidised wind turbines. They want to see billions more spent on giant pylons and interconnectors, to carry power from the remote onshore and offshore wind farms where it is generated to the places where it is needed. Then, as even Mr Davey has finally admitted, further billions will need to be spent on new gas-fired power stations – not only to fill the gap left by all the coal-fired and nuclear plants that are due to close, but also to provide ever more expensive, “carbon”-emitting back-up for the times when the wind drops and our turbines are scarcely functioning.
Saturday, October 13th 2012, 4:04 PM EDT
One global warming mini-scare has barely faded away – with the realisation that polar ice is not vanishing, the extent of Antarctic sea-ice having just broken all records – when the next arrives.
A paper from the US National Academy of Sciences claims that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral in 27 years and could soon be all but gone. Nearly half this loss, apparently, is due to damage from the more frequent cyclones brought by man-made global warming. Much of the rest is caused by coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, fostered by warming seas.
One puzzle is that no one has noticed such a scary loss of coral before. (Even the researchers admit that undamaged coral is still growing at nearly 3 per cent a year.) Another is that the evidence indicates cyclones being more frequent in the past than recently. Similarly, rises and falls in that starfish population are a natural phenomenon, nothing new.