The initials BBC no longer serve as a badge of quality but as a warning flag.
‘Here’s your new Sunday night obsession…’ the BBC announcer purred, overintoned and mini-orgasmed, like she was doing an audition for a Cadbury’s Flake commercial, ‘… a dazzling drama with a stellar cast.’
My hackles rose. Did no one ever mention to her the rule about ‘show not tell’? And my hackles were right. His Dark Materials has indeed become my Sunday night obsession: how can the BBC’s most-expensive-ever drama series possibly look, sound and feel so clunkingly, God-awfully, disappointingly flat?
A decade on, the scam I exposed is stronger than ever
Every journalist dreams of the scoop that will make his name. Ten years ago this month I finally got mine – but I’m still not altogether sure it was worth it. On the upside, my story went viral, got me a much bigger audience – from the the United States to Oz – and established my spiky, edgy reputation for in-your-face contrarianism. On the downside, though, for every ardent fan it made me it probably lost me a couple more: ‘But he used to be so funny and clever. Now he’s just one of those anti-science, climate change denier cranks…’.
You can search a whole lifetime for a scoop but when it comes, it often comes unbidden. Mine dropped into my lap when I was sitting at my desk one morning, wondering what to write next for my Telegraph blog, when I noticed an interesting story starting to break on the Watts Up With That? website. All I did was top, tail, adapt it and popularise it by giving it a bit of snark, context and spin. Then I nicked the title from a commenter called ‘Bulldust’ (an Aussie, as it happens). Et voilà! Climategate was born.
Margaret Atwood has declared Greta Thunberg the ‘Joan of Arc of the environment.’
The Canadian novelist, best known for her dystopian feminist fable The Handmaid’s Tale, was speaking on the podcast of the environmental extremist action group Extinction Rebellion.
Nearly half of all Conservative voters back swingeing carbon reduction measures even more drastic than the insane ones already proposed by the government, according to a poll currently being bigged up excitedly by the Guardian.
Boris Johnson’s government is promising to deliver Net Zero (carbon dioxide emissions) by 2050. But according to the poll, many of his voters think that that is just not soon enough.
A majority of the UK public and almost half of Conservative voters support a radical plan to transform the economy and tackle the climate crisis, a poll suggests.
YouGov found that 56% of people back the total decarbonisation of the UK economy by 2030 and just under half support public spending to make large swathes of public transport free to use.
What these findings mean, claims the Guardian, is that there is:
“…a growing awareness of the scale of the climate crisis and the increasingly radical policy solutions the public is willing to support.”
Absolute tosh. They simply reflect the way that the poll question was worded.
Finally, we may have solved the mystery of how former President Obama managed to drag the U.S. into the Paris Climate Accord – effectively a form of binding international treaty – without the necessary Congressional ratification.
According to a lawsuit filed Monday, the Obama administration fudged the issue by misrepresenting U.S. Senate instructions set forth in 1992 to pretend that what was a treaty somehow wasn’t a treaty. The implication is that the Obama administration lied in order to railroad through a policy that it feared might get vetoed by Congress.
The case, brought by the public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight, centres on an Obama-era State Department Circular 175 memo.
Nigel Farage is putting ego before country and destroying Brexit.
This is the narrative being assiduously promoted by the Conservative party — including by Farage’s most natural sympathisers on the right. (It is, as Melanie Philips says, a blue-on-blue onslaught.)
.@Jacob_Rees_Mogg says that Nigel Farage "should be really proud of his political career, and it would be a great shame if he carries on fighting after he has already won to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory." pic.twitter.com/s7uhZ7pHWa
But let’s not forget it is a narrative. Britain is now in the midst of a short but definitely not sweet general election campaign in which every party, every candidate, will happily sell their grandmothers into slavery if it grabs them a few extra votes.
Boris Johnson has done his first really, really bad thing since becoming Prime Minister.
It’s bad, at least, if you think the job of a Conservative leader is to stand up for stuff like innovation, prosperity, moral principle – and for the little guy who wants lower energy prices, a higher standard of living, and a jobs and an economic future for his kids…
…Really great, though, if you think canny politics is to blow with the wind, allow your policies — Blair- and Cameron-style — to be dictated by whatever random focus group you spoke to last, ignore the evidence, stifle entrepreneurship, and give an almighty boost to the kind of people who are always going to hate you.