Tuesday, June 5th 2012, 6:01 AM EDT
‘Are you a believer in the whole theory of man-made global warming?’
So sneered the BBC’s Evan Davis this morning, in a short but brutal inquisition of Martin Hill, the leader of Lincolnshire County Council.
Mr Hill’s crime – for that’s certainly how it was being treated on Radio Four’s Today programme – was to propose plans to make it harder to gain planning consent for wind farms.
He was not, as Mr Davis’ question so deliberately suggested, some sort of lunatic climate change denier or flat-earther. Nor was he what the BBC would call a NIMBY, meaning ‘not in my back yard’.
The (Tory) councillor was merely suggesting that perhaps the good people of Lincolnshire – who already have 75 huge wind turbines on their door step – had largely done their bit. That their landscape had been scarred enough, thank you very much – particularly since there are significant doubts about whether wind farms are actually much use.
Mr Hill tried to be reasonable. He tried not to rise to Mr Davis’s accusation that Lincolnshire council was being ‘draconian' or engaging in ‘tokenism’.
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‘We're not going to say we aren't going to have any more,’ he said. ‘I [just] don't think we want the whole county to be covered by a forest of the things’.
But that, of course, was too much for the BBC, which treats the pursuit of ‘green energy’ as some sort of holy grail, in much the same way as it continues to revere the collapsing European single currency.
First came the accusation that Mr Hill might be a climate change denier – just about the gravest charge in the Corporation’s book
Then there was time for one final gem from Mr Davis: ‘Do you think 1,000 years ago you would have been there saying, "no churches should be built in our villages. They're too nice. We do not want these ugly spires in our countryside"?'
Can you imagine the BBC treating the green lobby with such contempt? Not a chance.
The fact is that the Corporation has chosen its side in the wind farm debate.
On one side, there is the BBC, Chris Huhne, the rest of the Liberal Democrats, the wind turbine manufacturers keen to keep gobbling up all those meaty government subsidies and – for as long as the party thinks there’s a few metropolitan votes in it – the Labour Party.
On the other side are the residents who actually have to share their villages and green fields with these inefficient monstrosities, the Duke of Edinburgh, countless energy experts and the rump of the Tory party.
Significantly, the High Court has also intervened. Last week Mrs Justice Lang ruled that the Government's renewable energy targets did not outweigh the right of the villagers of Hemsby in Norfolk to preserve their landscape.
The judge said that building four 350ft turbines, a proposal from the company Sea & Land Power and Energy which had already been rejected by both council and government inspectors, would harm the character and appearance of the beauty spot on the edge of the Norfolk Broads.
Mrs justice Lang should count herself lucky that she didn’t have to be interviewed on the Today programme to explain herself. It wouldn’t have been pleasant. And it certainly wouldn’t have been impartial.
But, then, isn’t such bias precisely what we’ve come to expect?
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