The sad death of Private Eye | James Delingpole

October 3, 2012

Hislop: “Loaded? Landed? Got a few spare acres? I can make you £££!”

In the latest issue of Private Eye I’m described as a “batshit anti-environmentalist.” I suspect this may have been a typo for “batshit mad“, which is what they called me last time they wrote about me. (According to that particular story, I was the Telegraph’s most popular blogger – ha! eat your hearts out Tebbo and Hannan! But apparently this is only because I’m so barmily out-there I attract all the world’s lunatics. Or some such).

Anyway, it goes almost without saying that I am delighted to be celebrated in this way. To be namechecked in the Eye means, more or less, that you’ve made it. I first arrived (allegedly) about two decades ago when “James Delingpole” was featured in a column called “Telegraph Rhyming Slang”. I rhymed with “fill up a hole.”

What does bother me about the “batshit” reference, though, is the context. It’s in a feeble item about a lengthy investigation I wrote for the Mail On Sunday into perhaps the biggest public health scandal of our age: the various serious health problems from depression and insomnia to high blood pressure, anxiety and heart trouble caused by living near a wind farm. (It’s do with the Low Frequency Noise. I’ll cover this issue more fully in a separate blog, as part of my Wind Industry Big Lies series).

Anyway, the item in the Eye concerned an illustration of a wind farm which appeared to have been photoshopped or otherwise doctored. You can either believe the truth – which is that while the sky was indeed darkened by the designers to give it more visual impact the duplication of the wind tower in the illustration in the online version (though not the more important printed version) was an accident. Or you can believe the climate alarmist version promulgated by a couple of activists on Twitter, which is, essentially, that this was a sinister and deliberate attempt by an evil, right-wing newspaper to blacken the name of wind farms using the latest image-alteration technology.

Whichever version you go for it really doesn’t matter.

All you need to ask yourself is this question: which is a crime more worthy of exposure by Britain’s best-known satirical magazine?

a) a newspaper runs a slightly misleading picture on its website


b) In the name of “saving the environment” an overmighty, corrupt and mendacious industry – with the support and encouragement of the Coalition government – is laying waste to the British landscape, killing wildlife, devastating property values, ruining people’s health, driving up energy bills, hurting the economy, destroying jobs, and contributing to some of the 2700 excess deaths per annum from cold. But not, unfortunately, making the blindest bit of difference either to “climate change” or Britain’s “energy security.”

I mean really I don’t want to tell Ian Hislop his job. Maybe, under his glorious editorship Private Eye has changed its remit slightly, so that instead of defending us ordinary people against the lying, greedy, ruthless Establishment Hislop now sees the Eye’s job being mainly to cover up for vested interests and to hide the truth.

But just in case Private Eye still thinks of itself as a satirical magazine with any kind of claim to the moral high ground, isn’t it rather missing a trick here?

The wind farm scandal, I would have thought, is the story with everything: members of the Royal Family – such as the Duke of Gloucester – behaving badly; troughing toffs from Earl Spencer to Sir Reginald Sheffield bt siphoning money from the poor into their overflowing coffers; a veritable spider’s web of vested interests connecting everyone from the Prime Minister’s father in law and the deputy Prime Minister’s wife to Tory spivs Tim Yeo, Greg Barker and Lord Deben; plus, as you’ll see from my Mail piece, threats of violence, vandalism, lies, official cover ups and truly mindboggling stupendous wastage of taxpayers’ money.

Maybe, now he’s a celebrity and well-paid-up member of the BBC establishment, Hislop feels too grand for such muck-raking. Maybe he’s worried he might upset some of his swanky friends. Maybe he’s too busy making documentaries to find time properly to understand the issues involved. (Though you’d have thought it would be easy enough for him to get a briefing from his colleague Christopher Booker).

If any of this is the case, perhaps he should consider retiring from the editorship. After all, in its heyday Private Eye provided a very useful counterblast to the idiocies of the age. It would be a terrible pity if all it ended up doing now was to act as their cheerleader.

Related posts:

  1. Climategate: where is Private Eye?
  2. Radio Free Delingpole: Popes and Puppies
  3. Wind Farms: the death of Britain
  4. When are we going to stop blaming private schools, universities and ‘elitism’ for the failures of state education?


Climategate: Where Is Private Eye?

Suppose the British government  – in the teeth of the worst recession since the 1930s – were committed to spending £18 billion a year for the next 40 years on a problem that did not exist. Suppose the total estimated global cost of dealing with this non-existent-problem were $45 trillion.

Suppose that a scandal had erupted in which some of  the principal scientists who had been talking up this non-existent problem, essentially for political reasons, were found to be corrupt, dishonest and fraudulent. Suppose that among the institutions which stood to benefit from this massive scam were top financiers, banks and energy companies. Suppose that the people pushing this scam were an unholy, often hilarious, eminently mockable alliance of disappointed ex-communists, hair-shirt greens, failed presidential candidates, scheming politicians, bald-snarling-nightclub-bouncer lookalikes, loopy Old Stoics, European technocrats, one-world-governmenters, Notting Hill yummy mummies and tree hugging loons.

Suppose this were the biggest con trick in the history of the world – a Ponzi scheme to make the South Sea Bubble look about as serious as claiming for a cab that wasn’t strictly for work.

Pretty good subject matter, might you not think, for one or two fabulously thrilling exposes by Britain’s premier satirical magazine Private Eye?

But apparently not. Apart from a feeble polar bear joke on its cover – “Go with the floe” says one bear to another, perfectly encapsulating the magazine’s pathetically limp position – and a couple more similar cartoons within, Private Eye has chosen to pretend that the most important issue of our time isn’t happening.

Why not? Well perhaps this passage from the end notes of Christopher Booker’s The Real Global Warming Disaster offers a clue:

“In conversation one day with my Private Eye colleague Ian Hislop, I remarked casually how flimsy it seemed was much of the evidence behind the global warming scare, only to receive an almighty put down to the effect that George Monbiot of the Guardian knew a great deal more about the subject than I did and that I should think twice before daring to challenge such an expert authority.”

Booker, let it not be forgotten, was the first editor of this once-great satirical organ – whose purpose, he always told contributors in the early days, was “to challenge all orthodoxies.”

Over the decades, Private Eye has more than lived up to this precept with its frank, fearless (and legally costly) willingness always to speak truth to power.

But apparently not on this occasion.

Related posts:

  1. The sad death of Private Eye
  2. At last: expert Sir David King expertly reveals true identity of Climategate ‘hackers’
  3. Prof Brian Cox: prettier than Brigstocke but just as wrong
  4. Climategate 2.0