Australia Shows Us All the Way by Sacking Its Useless, Pointless Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery

“G’day mate, would you like fries with that? G’day mate, would you like fries with that? G’day mate, would you like fries with that?”

Flannery
Classic cartoon by Josh.

Oh to be a fly on the wall at Tim Flannery’s waterside property as he practises in the mirror for a job more suited to his talents. This time last week he was Australia’s Climate Commissioner, on an A$180,000 a year salary which required him to work just three days a week. But incoming premier Tony Abbott’s night of the green knives has put paid to that. Flannery’s Mickey Mouse job has gone; so too has Australia’s Climate Commission, a multi-million dollar, allegedly “independent”, propaganda outlet set up by Julia Gillard to help give her climate alarmist policies – such as the hated carbon tax, which Abbott is also abolishing – a veneer of scientific credibility.

As Jo Nova notes, while it may be a good day for the Australian taxpayer, it is far too late now to recoup the billions which have already been wasted on the “expert” advice of Flannery and his alarmist chums David Karoly and Will Steffen.

This agency propped up billions of dollars in pointless futile government spending trying to change the weather. Nothing will bring back money spent on desal plants that were mothballed when the floods came that real scientists predicted. Likewise the money burned on solar panels and windfarms is gone for good too, and still going.

As you’ll see at this website, one of the few things that Flannery is indisputably brilliant at is making idiotic statements and alarmist, pseudo-scientific predictions which seem to bear no relationship whatsoever to observed reality. So what, exactly, were his qualifications for taking on this supremely well-paid gig?

We-e-ll, Flannery is that most dangerous of things – an English literature graduate. Yes, I know I’m an English literature graduate too, but I’m the exception to the rule: on the whole, it would not be unfair to say, English literature graduates have done more to promote the cause of climate alarmism than any other category with the possible exception of “University” of East Anglia environmental “science” graduates.

Reflect, for a moment, on this grotesque rogues’ gallery, every one of them an English Literature graduate.

Tamsin Omond (Westminster-educated cutie; baronet’s grand-daughter; dumper of manure on Clarkson’s doorstep; embracer of every loony climate activist cause going with her Trustafarian mates)

Caroline Lucas (Malvern-Girls-College-educated nightmare; Green MP; watermelon)

Roger Harrabin (BBC alarmist-in-chief)

Bryony Worthington (Friends of the Earth Activist; inspiration for Dave’s “greenest government ever”; architect of the Climate Change Act)

Now, as it happens, I consider the cult of credentialism one of the curses of our age. Just because you’ve got some initials after your name doesn’t mean you’re not a pillock. And as we saw with the Climategate emails, being a qualified “climate scientist” is no guarantee of expertise on – or even entry-level understanding of – the science of climate. So I’m certainly not suggesting that Flannery’s possession of an English literature degree should automatically have ruled him out of contention for the  massively influential Climate Commissioner job. What I am definitely suggesting, though, is that if you’re going to entrust the tenderest parts of your national economy to some random beardie bloke’s sweaty grasp, the very least you owe all the millions of people who are going to be affected by his announcements is to do some due diligence, ask some basic questions like: “Does anything this random beardie bloke has ever said or done in his entire life render him suitable to comment definitively on an issue as complex, uncertain and contentious as climate change?”

To which the bleedingly obvious short answer is: “No.”

After his English degree, Flannery managed to land (H/T Philip Bradley at Watts Up With That) a taxpayer-funded gig digging up kangaroo bones, which got him that impressive-sounding and all-important science PhD (palaeontology) before landing a job as a museum bureaucrat cum author of bestselling environmental alarmist books like The Future Eaters. (Sir David Attenborough once described him as ‘in the league of the all-time great explorers like Dr David Livingstone’ – which tells you rather more about the erratic judgement of David Attenborough than it does about the achievements of Tim Flannery).

Flannery, in other words, is a green activist who, like many of his kind – see Bryony Worthington; Roger Harrabin, above – has learned how to play the political system very much to his advantage. It is utterly inconceivable that anyone in the free market would ever pay someone so effectively useless so much money to do so little work for a job so utterly pointless as the one Flannery had as A$180,000 a year (for a three day week) Climate Commissioner.

If he were some weird aberration we could all, no doubt, have a jolly good laugh at the patent stupidity of it all and move on. Unfortunately, though we can’t because Flannery is not some weird aberration. He is just one of the more egregiously idiotic examples of a phenomenon which is rife throughout the Western world: environmental activists being paid eyewatering sums of money to promote junk science, ramp up green taxes and regulations, hamstring free markets, enrich rent-seeking scumballs, drive up energy prices and spout scaremongering drivel, all courtesy of the taxpayer who benefits from one jot.

Consider, for example, The Carbon Trust – a quango to which the taxpayer forks out more than £127 million a year, so as to benefit from its expertise on “low carbon issues and strategies, carbon footprinting and low carbon technology development and deployment.”

But hang on a second. Isn’t all that “low carbon” nonsense starting to look a bit overtaken by events? Aren’t we now fast reaching the stage where all the arguments in favour of committing suicide via “low carbon” have been torpedoed below the waterline? We know – as even the forthcoming IPCC report admits – that climate sensitivity has been overrated, thus making a mockery of all the doomsday scenarios fingering  CO2 as a major threat. We also know – what with shale gas, shale oil, clathrates and thorium – that the fallback defence about “scarce resources” has been overdone too.

What we know, in other words, is that every penny of that £127 million we pay James Smith and his pals at The Carbon Trust to keep bigging up renewable energy and talking nonsense about climate change is money utterly and totally wasted. The same goes for the Department of Energy and Climate Change which could safely scrapped in its entirety tomorrow, without the slightest detrimental effect to anyone but the activists who staff it. The same goes for the £3.8 billion green investment bank. The same goes for much of the Met Office, the Royal Society, the British Antarctic Survey and the Science Museum, to name but a few of the once reputable publicly funded institutions which have been hijacked by political activists in order to further the cause of environmental alarmism.

Related posts:

  1. Aussie sceptics destroy EU carbon commissioner
  2. Australia’s green orchidectomy*
  3. What Labour has done to our education system is criminal – as this heart-rending story shows
  4. ‘Post-normal science’ is perfect for climate demagogues — it isn’t science at all

 

Nigel Farage – The Only Politician Who Dares Say What We’re Thinking

The danger of sounding Conservative

“When we believe something – we don’t go ‘are you thinking what we’re thinking’. We say it out loud.”

I like this line from Nigel Farage’s UKIP conference address. My Spectator colleague Fraser Nelson thinks the  speech was a bit of a let down – which was maybe inevitable given that Farage has had to clip his own wings recently in order to pay more attention to party organisation and party discipline. But for me there was more than enough red meat in it to convince me that UKIP is staying truer to its brand than any of the three other mainstream parties are to theirs.

That paragraph about the Romanian crime wave, for example. You’d never hear Cameron, or Clegg or Miliband getting as near-the-knuckle as this, would you?

London is already experiencing a Romanian crime wave. There have been an astounding 27,500 arrests in the Metropolitan Police area in the last five years. 92 per cent of ATM crime is committed by Romanians. This gets to the heart of the immigration policy that UKIP wants, we should not welcome foreign criminal gangs and we must deport those who have committed offences.

“No,” the usual troll suspects will no doubt say. “But you’d hear it from Nick Griffin….”

And there’s your problem, in a nutshell. Since at least the beginning of the Blair era and probably well before, the left has very successfully managed to close down any argument of which it disapproves by crying “racist”, “elitist”, “homophobe”, “NIMBY”, “Little Englander”, “fascist”, or whatever. This has created within the Westminster bubble a culture of caution bordering on cowardice. Before a politician speaks he almost never asks himself: “Is this true?” Rather, he asks himself: “Will this get me into trouble with the BBC?” Which is why, of course, we get politicians like Rachel “Boring” Reeves.

As Fraser Nelson noted in this astute analysis, things have got so bad that even a Conservative prime minister currently doing well in the polls and with a fair economic wind behind him dare not say anything too conservative-sounding except in near-secret, among High Tories, at occasions like the Carlton Club dinner.

Farage, to his credit, isn’t having this. He recognises, for example, that the Westminster elite’s position on immigration – which boils down, basically, to “racism is bad m’kay?” – doesn’t actually reflect how most real people think.

Most real people these days are relaxed about issues like race, religion and ethnicity, but excedingly unrelaxed about issues like thieving gangs or expensive translation services for immigrants who won’t learn the language or having parts of their city turned into no-go areas by Islamist thugs. Does this make them racists or natural BNP voters? Nope. It just makes them entirely normal.

Related posts:

  1. Don’t expect the BBC to tell you, but Ukip is on the march
  2. ‘Politicians SHOULD be afraid of the people!’ says dangerous US radical politician
  3. In praise of patrons – particularly mine
  4. ‘Everything dead by tomorrow!’ warns Zoological Society of London

 

Official: Wind Turbines Are an Iniquitous Assault on Property Rights

Owen Paterson: Minister of Sound (Rex Features)

I’m writing these words in what was formerly one of the loveliest valleys in all of Wales. To be fair, the Edw valley still is pretty spectacular. But this year, for the first time in the decade or more I’ve been holidaying here, I no longer look at the white houses dotting the valley and wish one day that I could own one.

Why don’t I wish to buy my dream home in my dream valley any more? Because the greed and selfishness of a local sheep farmer has killed it, that’s why. I’m sure he doesn’t see it that way. I’m sure if you asked him he’d come up with some guff about how he needed to “diversify”, and how it would save on his energy costs and enable him to farm more sustainably. But the fact is that the poxy wind turbine which this ghastly man has erected on a promontory visible from almost every high point in the area – not to mention the bedroom window of our beloved rental cottage – has changed the character of the Edw valley forever. For centuries, millennia even, this idyllic, breathtakingly beautiful spot has survived untarnished by any form of obtrusive industrial development. No longer.

Now for me, that turbine is a minor irritant: I only have to put up with it for two weeks in the year. The people I feel sorry for are the poor buggers who have to live here permanently: the B & B owners, the people who run pony treks and riding stables, the retirees whose nest egg lies mainly in the value of their properties. How can it possibly be right or just that while this sheep farmer makes thousands of pounds per year as a result of the whopping subsidies paid for the intermittent, unreliable energy produced by his poxy turbine, everyone else for miles around is made to suffer?

The tragedy of the Edw Valley is, unfortunately, a tragedy is being repeated across our once-magnificent country. Especially in poor Scotland – a crime for which Alex Salmond and his co-conspirators will one day burn in hell. I do find it particularly odd that while on the one hand our Coalition has decided to try and claw its way out of recession by pump-priming a new housing bubble, it is simultaneously enacting energy policies guaranteed to reduce the value of rural properties by many billions of pounds.

As I have reported before, rural estate agents (and the poor sods trying to sell their turbine-blighted homes) have long known about the deleterious effects of wind turbines on property values. Price drops of 25 per cent are not uncommon and there have been cases where houses located near wind turbines have been rendered simply unsellable.

This ought to have been a major national scandal years ago. The only reason it hasn’t is because of what amounts to a cover up by a number of institutions including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, RenewableUK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Advertising Standards Authority, each of which has helped promulgate the outrageous lie that there is “no definitive answer” to the question as to whether turbines affect property prices. In every case, the people responsible for this claim are either  disgusting liars or useful idiots – and if you want to know why I feel so confident in tarring them thus, just re-read the last blog I posted on the subject.

You’ll gather, then, that I’m very much looking forward to reading the first official admission of the blighting effects of wind turbines on property prices, to appear in a report commissioned for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by the estimable Owen Paterson. It’s no wonder the slithy Ed Davey is trying so hard (though of course he denies this) to suppress it. Once news gets out, it will open the floodgates for thousands of claims against the government, wind developers and wind turbine hosts for the loss of property values caused by bat-chomping bird-slicing eco crucifixes.

It will also, of course, give rural communities an even stronger reason to loathe and despise those greedheads within their midst who choose to profit from these monstrosities while all their neighbours not only lose their favourite views and their healthy nights’ sleep but also the value of their properties.

Since it is becoming increasingly clear that the pusillanimous Cameron is quite unprepared to protect rural Britain against the depradations of wind farm zealots like Davey and Tim Yeo and Dale Vince, it may be that communities will have to take matters into their own hand. I’m not arguing for direct action: I don’t believe in violence or threats of violence, either to person or to property. But I do very much believe in the power of ostracism – one of the most effective ways a society can regulate itself according to common values without the need for government meddling.

Anyone who puts a wind turbine on his land fully deserves to be ignored, isolated and loathed by his neighbours. These people have caused more than enough damage with their selfishness and greed: now it’s payback time.

Related posts:

  1. David Cameron, renewable energy and the death of British property rights.
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  3. The Great Wind Farm Disaster (ctd)
  4. We’re destroying our countryside – and for what?

 

Shale Gas Is Rearden Metal

For my summer holidays I have been mostly reading Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand has her faults but, boy, was she prescient.

One of the things she foresaw was the current nonsensical, dishonest, canting campaign against shale gas. In Atlas Shrugged it takes the form of Rearden Metal, the miracle technology which is going to transform the US economy if only the progressives will let it. But of course, Rand’s fictional progressives don’t want Reardon Metal to succeed any more than their modern, real-life equivalents want shale gas to succeed.
Why not? For the same rag-bag of made-up, disingenuous reasons which progressives have used to justify their war on progress since time immemorial: it’s unfair, it uses up scarce resources, it might be dangerous. Rand doesn’t actually use the phrase “the precautionary principle.” But this is exactly what she is describing in the book when various vested interests – the corporatists in bed with big government, the politicised junk-scientists at the Institute of Science (aka, in our world, the National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society), the unions – try to close down the nascent technology using the flimsiest of excuses.

Here’s an excerpt from the book. (The story so far: in an ailing economy brought low by the sclerotic regulation of the bloated state, a dwindling band of entrepreneurs try to stick up for free enterprise. One of them is Hank Rearden who forges a new kind of metal, stronger and lighter than steel. But his rivals don’t like it, and unlike Rearden, they have friends in DC. Soon an unhelpful report is produced by a special committee of the National Council of Metal Industries…)

They said Rearden Metal is a threat to public safety. They said its chemical composition is unsound, it’s brittle, it’s decomposing molecularly, and it will crack suddenly without warning […..] They’re experts, though, the men on that committee. Top experts. Chief metallurgists for the biggest corporations, with a string of degrees from universities all over the country.

You may have noticed something similar going on with the anti-shale gas campaign. All those “experts” – many from the oil or renewables industries, no doubt with a string of degrees from universities all over the country – who’ve worked so effectively to delay shale gas exploitation in Britain with their ingenious excuses: our shale plays aren’t the same as America’s [true: the Bowland shale, for example, is significantly deeper]; our denser population makes it harder to extract without disruption or environmental damage [what? And wind turbines aren’t guilty of doing the same, only with far less obvious benefit?]; that the cost of gas won’t significantly drop [yeah, that’s really persuasive that one. We’ve got trillions of cubic feet of gas on our doorstep but when we drill for it and vastly increase available supply it won’t have any effect on price??].

Then, of course, there are those five big lies about shale gas so brilliantly nailed by Matt Ridley. The one about polluted aquifers, the one about methane, the one about excess water use, the one about the “hundreds of chemicals” the BBC tells us are pumped into the ground, the one about “earthquakes”: none of them is credible – yet you hear them being spouted by “experts” and green campaigners and concerned citizens all the time. Well, no wonder those citizens are concerned. When they hear some “authority” given airtime on the BBC and coming up with the usual spiel about earthquakes and water contamination, they not unreasonably expect that that person has been chosen because they know what they’re talking about. It never occurs to them that these people might either be liars or green zealots beyond all reason or paid advocates for the massively well-funded and well-advanced anti-fracking campaign (which has, I’d estimate, a good hundred times more to spend on its propaganda than the pro-fracking campaign does).

And so the poisonous meme spreads from corporate liar to greenie activist to useful idiot to gullible prat to Home Counties Tory voter. Suddenly, everyone thinks they know fracking is a bad thing. Even the Church of England now feels able to chip in its tuppenny ha’penny’s worth, though on God knows what evidence. Faith in Gaia, presumably.

Again, Ayn Rand foresaw all this. Swelling the ranks of the anti-Rearden-Metal protesters are all sorts of unlikely pressure groups – especially after Rearden Metal is used to make the sleepers on the new, fast, efficient Rio Norte railway line.

“I don’t like the resolution passed by the convention of grade school teachers of New Mexico” said Taggart.

“What resolution?”

“They resolved that it was their opinion that children should not be permitted to ride on the new Rio Norte Line of Taggart Transcontinental when it’s completed because it is unsafe.”

Ah yes. The convention of grade school teachers of New Mexico: of course they’d know. Just like Prince Charles knows. And Natalie Bennet and Caroline Lucas of the Green party knows. And those bright, clued-up sparks in the Diocese of Blackburn know.

Perhaps they gained their expertise from that experty expert Josh Fox the maker of Gasland. Because he’s reliable; he’d never just make stuff up, would he?

Related posts:

  1. Ayn Rand’s books are deliciously anti-statist, but her philosophy is borderline Nazi
  2. Watermelons v the Shale Gas Miracle
  3. ‘Imagine there’s no shale gas…’
  4. Don’t let the Watermelons kill the Shale Gas Revolution

5 thoughts on “Shale gas is Rearden Metal”

  1. borat says:26th August 2013 at 4:34 amyou shoul shave yr head mate – someone’s got be honest with you
  2. borat says:26th August 2013 at 4:34 amyou shoul shave yr head mate – someone’s got be honest with you
  3. Colin Brogan says:3rd September 2013 at 6:50 pmJames the more I read you the more I`m convinced that your`e a nut case, a flat earther.
    Seeing that you are a supporter of fracking, question, would you live next to a drill site?

    1. cicero666 says:8th September 2013 at 3:16 pmI would, rather than a turbine – mainly because shale Gas is actually useful.
  4. cicero666 says:8th September 2013 at 3:23 pmGreat ! I would not choose to live next to it, but wow these things are actually useful. They don’t protest endlessly against everything and collect their money for their causes from addled members of the public. They pump OIL out of the ground, and it is very useful. Fuels and feedstock for the chemical industry.

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Cameron’s Coalition of Liars, Trimmers and Charlatans Are Destroying Britain’s Landscape

Lundy (Lundy Field Society)

About this time ten years ago, I enjoyed one of my happiest family holidays ever. It was on Lundy which, as Will Heaven rightly says, is the most beautiful island in Britain. If you’re lucky enough to be staying in one of the Landmark Trust properties on the island you get the place pretty much to yourself once the daytrippers have gone. There are fantastic cliffs for your children to fall off, puffins to look for (though usually not to see: we never did) and seals to go swimming with. It’s like living out an Arthur Ransome/Enid Blyton novel for real.

And now its unspoilt perfection is about to be ruined by a stupendously enormous, outrageously expensive, and totally effing useless offshore wind farm belonging to a big German energy company.

This, like so many of the wind turbines blighting our countryside, will be by far the most distinctive legacy of David Cameron’s Coalition. Long, long after we’ve all forgotten why there was such a fuss about gay marriage, the bedroom tax or the Libyan intervention, those ugly, mostly disused, turbines will still be up there, blighting every view for miles around, a monument to the folly of the policy makers who put them there, the religious zeal of the green loons who pushed for their erection and the despicable greed of the landowners and energy companies who profited by them at the expense of the poor taxpayers and energy users who had to subsidise them to the tune of 100 per cent (for onshore wind) and 200 per cent (for offshore).

I hope no one ever, ever forgets that the man primarily to blame for this was David Cameron. As Prime Minister, he could have taken the lead. He could so easily have said: “Enough is enough. Not on my watch” – and done something to put a stop to it. Instead, like the dodgy PR man which is all he has ever really amounted to being, Cameron has stuck to what he is best at: speaking with forked tongue.

As Will Heaven notes, just recently he has been making all the right noises on wind:

“I suspect there will be fewer schemes going ahead,” he told the Western Morning News last week. He reaffirmed this idea in a Q & A with Lancashire factory workers: “Frankly, we’ve got some in the UK – I don’t think we’re going to have a huge amount more.”

And in June, you’ll recall, Eric Pickles’s Department for Communities and Local Government announced, with much fanfare, that in future green energy targets would not be allowed to override the wishes of local communities to oppose wind farms. The night before it was announced I even got a call from a senior government minister briefing me about it. “I thought you’d want to know that we ARE doing something about it,” he said, proudly.

Was this minister a fool or a liar? And was Eric Pickles sold a pup or is he a liar too? Whatever, we know now for a fact all these new planning guidelines announced by Pickles’s department have made almost no difference whatsoever. Which either means that Pickles, his department, and all those senior Conservatives opposed to wind are quite disgracefully incompetent; or that Cameron has – as is his wont – allowed them to be ridden over, roughshod, by the green ideologues at DECC and by all his rich pals (not to mention his father-in-law Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt; and his deputy prime minister’s wife, Mrs Clegg) with their snouts in the renewable energy trough.

Certainly, that phone call for me was the last time I’ll ever trust anything one of Cameron’s despicable bunch of wriggling, squirmy, morally bankrupt toe rags tells me again. I loathe them with every fibre of my being, for many reasons, but for one above all: thanks to their incompetence, cowardice, cynicism and ignorance they are destroying the greatest of all our magnificent country’s assets – the matchless beauty of its countryside.

Related posts:

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2 thoughts on “Cameron’s coalition of liars, trimmers and charlatans are destroying Britain’s landscape”

  1. Angus2100 says:23rd August 2013 at 7:35 amFor those of you who think that wind turbines ruin views… http://i.imgur.com/9ImqiLk.jpg
  2. Angus2100 says:23rd August 2013 at 7:35 amFor those of you who think that wind turbines ruin views… http://i.imgur.com/9ImqiLk.jpg

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Luvvies for Hypocrisy, Intellectual Dishonesty and Lazy Groupthink

When Caitlin was fun!

The story so far: Caitlin Moran (yes, all right: I know lots of you claim never to have heard of her, but she’s a bestselling author on both sides of the Atlantic and one of our most fluent and entertaining columnists) has been fighting a war to clean up the social media site you never use, Twitter.

But now she has been rumbled as a major source of offensive, potty-mouthed, insensitive Twitter chat herself.

And now, in response, Caitlin has felt compelled to launch into one of her increasingly tedious apologiae pro vita sua (Caitlin, Caitlin, you were SO much more fun in the days when you stuck to celebrities and vajazzling) to justify why, like, it’s OK for Caitlin Moran to make flip, glib, matey in-jokes about AIDs and gays and suchlike but not OK for anyone to be horrid to members of the righteous sisterhood like Mary Beard and Stella Creasy and Caroline Criado-Perez.

And now, Caitlin’s essay has been retweeted in a “put that in your pipe and smoke it, evil, right-wing Caitlin-doubters!” way by celebrity comedian David Baddiel, and celebrity comedian Dom Joly. And quite soon, I think we can fairly safely guarantee, it will also have been retweeted by celebrity astronomer Brian Cox, celebrity mathematician Simon Singh, celebrity Times whimsyist Hugo Rifkind, celebrity lefty and occasional scriptwriter Graham Linehan, et al. Why? Because they’re all part of the same great big self-affirmatory gang of the impeccably liberal-left-leaning luvviehood, is why. Once you become a part of this gang, it’s great because you never have to worry about saying the wrong thing on any issue ever again. You know what to think on “climate change”, because all you have to do is check what fellow club member Marcus Brigstocke thinks. You know what to think about bees and neonicotinoids because of what Vivienne Westwood says. You know what to think about fracking because Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon and Chrissie Hynde’s daughter don’t like it. Etc.

This is the same phenomenon I described when having a go in the Spectator at the ineffably tedious and oh-so-predictably lefty Russell Howard’s Good News.

What’s really irksome about Howard, though, is the mind-numbing, soul-sapping conventionalism of his politics. You just know that the first day he went to the subsidised bar on his economics degree course at the University of the West of England (Bristol Poly, in old money, I believe), he got handed the usual Middle-Class Student ****er’s starter pack marked ‘This is what you think’. There’ll have been a long section on how bad racism is, probably the worst crime in the world; one on Tories (‘tossers’); others on Israel and Palestine, the great recession (all the fault of greedy bankers and tax-dodging corporations, basically), the environment (v.v important!!), and so on. And young Russell will have gone, ‘Hey, I like the sound of this. It means not only can I spend the rest of my life feeling morally superior over all the scumbags who don’t agree with the Middle-Class Student ****er’s starter pack but also that I’ll never have to use a single one of my brain cells ever again.’

This morning – not as a trolling gesture, but in all sincerity – I invited my old mucker Caitlin to join in my Twitter campaign to #keeptwittertasteless (or #keeptweetstastless – I can’t decide which is better). The point I was trying to make is a serious one: that if you genuinely believe in freedom of speech, then an inevitable part of that freedom is the freedom to offend, be it Guardian hacks writing disobligingly about transvestites, or ungallant louts insulting Mary Beard’s looks, or Caitlin’s AIDS quips. After all, one person’s flip, daringly near-the-knuckle, mini-rebellion against our stifling culture of PC is another person’s dire, report-worthy offence. And since it’s all a matter of opinion, where do you draw the line? Who decides what is and isn’t “appropriate”? (Direct threats of violence are, of course, another matter. But those were already proscribed by the law long before Caitlin and her pals began their Twitter clean up campaign)

I find it slightly weird that I should need to explain this. (A similar problem exists with Leveson.) Why is it mainly just us right-wingers who are sticking up for the principles of free speech? Why don’t the left-liberal luvviehood get it too? Are they even capable of thinking an original, let alone brave, thought on any subject, ever?

Related posts:

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Doctor **** | James Delingpole

“No, I’m not Diane Abbott. You got a problem with that, Caitlin?”

Phew! What a blessed relief! The rumours that the next Doctor Who was going to be Peter Capaldi – previously best known, of course, for his role as fictional Songs of Praise producer Tristan Campbell in the Vicar of Dibley – turn out to be true.

“Thank **** for that,” as that amusing foul-mouthed spin doctor character in The Thick Of It, whatever his name is, would no doubt say.

I’m delighted for at least two reasons. First, because it means an epic fail for Caroline Criado-Perez’s most recent Change.Org petition: “Making the 12th Doctor Who another white man is racist and sexist. We want Diane Abbott to get the role – and if she doesn’t Caitlin and I are going to scweam and scweam and scweam till we make ourselves sick.”

Second because Doctor Who has been getting far too cute and whimsical for its own good of late – almost as if it thinks of itself as some kind of children’s programme. I, for one, am very much looking forward to its new scheduling slot well after the 9pm watershed, in the safe hands of the kind of Doctor we can trust to tell it like it is, take no prisoners and refuse to tolerate any more of that touchy feely nonsense where it turns out that Daleks do have hearts after all and where the healing song of the lost children of the tragic planet of Poignos (or whatever new mawk-fest we have to endure this week) is replaced by the most richly colourful effing and blinding the galaxy has heard since Davros encountered his first staircase.

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Twitter wars: another proxy battleground for the future of Western civilisation | James Delingpole

August 4, 2013

Twitter, yesterday

So I’d just got back from doing a shop at Aldi (*) last night when I noticed that in my absence I’d been mentioned in 120 new tweets. “Ulp!” I thought. “What have I gone and done now?” In Twitterland, you see, being mentioned in lots of tweets is usually a sign you’ve been naughty.

(* Aldi’s aged sirloin Aberdeen Angus steak is unsurpassed)

Anyway, it turned out that I had enraged the usual Twitter suspects. Some had chosen to take umbrage over a link I’d put up to another superb piece by Russell Taylor in which he had an entirely justified dig at the ghastly Co Op and its war on lads’ mags; others were rising to the defence of publicity-seeking Labour MP Stella Creasy who can’t seem quite to make up her mind whether she is a delicate wallflower in need of protective regulation or a feisty, fearless interweb provocatrice. The general verdict was that I was immature, mentally ill, devoid of love, psychologically damaged, inadequate and DEFINITELY NOT FUNNY, let alone worthy of a voice in the national debate.

So, as you do, I had a glance at the self-descriptions of my self-appointed Twitter jury and here are some examples of what I found:

“Labour party activist”; “Middle-aged old style socialist”; “leftie”; “Guardian-reading liberal”; “gig-going lefty”; “Socialist Labour party”; “Local government worker and political activist”; “Labour cllr (Withington)”; “@owenjones84.”

Can any of you notice what they have in common? Yes. That’s right. These are the kind of people who, if I wrote a 10,000 word panegyric on the beauty and wisdom of their mothers, would focus solely on my abject failure in paragraph 57 to include an exclamation mark after “and her crochet skills are fantastic too…” The kind of chippy malcontents, indeed, who are quite heftily over-represented in the comments section below this blog, busily pointing out stuff like how the spell of nice weather we’ve had recently makes a total mockery of my evil, Big-Oil funded climate change scepticism, or noting that because I suffer depression I am mentally unstable, or just spitting bile over the fact that they’ve got worthless degrees in climate “science” from the “University” of East Anglia and all that lovely work they had as advisers in the renewables sector seems to have dried up rather of late. Not normal people in other words. Not neutral voices who’ve thoughtfully weighed up the pros and cons before chipping in their tuppenny hapenny’s worth. But shrill, angry, politically motivated, logic-proof, blinkered, standard issue greeny-lefty trolls.

Why am I telling you this? Because many of you, I know, consider that the goings-on at Twitter this week are beneath your lofty attention. Of course I understand why you think this: Twitter is indeed a bare-knuckle bear pit of a witch hunt frenzy nightmare of bile, invective and round, unvarnished evil. (Though it does have its plus sides too, or I wouldn’t waste so much time there). But what some of you appear to be unaware of is its significance in the broader culture wars.

In these culture wars this week’s Twitter debate is Leveson is Toby Young’s free school is Drummer Lee Rigby and “Islamophobia” is climate change is Christopher Snowdon’s “fake charities” is Piers Morgan and gun control is Trayvon Martin. Which is to say that every one of these issues serves as a proxy battleground for a much broader, and much more important conflict which is raging around the world right now and on whose outcome the future of our fragile civilisation depends.

What this war has very, very little to do with is whether nasty Mr Murdoch’s wicked henchmen caused Milly Dowler’s phone messages to be erased or about whether that idiot’s undeniably stupid, offensive and wrongheaded rape threat to Stella Creasy was any more sincere than Paul Chambers’s tweet “threat” to blow up Robin Hood airport. You’d never guess this from the way these stories have been gleefully spun by the leftist media – the BBC and the Guardian especially – but it just doesn’t, it really doesn’t.

What all these disparate issues are really about is the things they’re always really about: the bitter, ongoing struggle between those on the one hand who cleave ardently to the statist religion of equality, diversity and sustainability in which society’s “best interests” are decided by an “enlightened” elite of bureaucrats, technocrats, petty officials, social workers, Local Agenda 21 groupuscules, administrators, UN and EU apparatchiks, Guardian editorial-writers, grandstanding politicians and members of the BBC Trust. And on the other, those of us who have sufficient faith in human nature to take the view that – barring the odd safety net here and the occasional piece of protective legislation there – the best route to creating a more fruitful, enjoyable, richer and, yes, fairer world is for us all, pretty much, to be left to live our lives the way we want to live them, unencumbered by confiscatory taxes, Nannyish government edicts and pettifogging regulation which seeks to micromanage every last detail of our daily existence from how many different coloured bags we put our rubbish in to the degree to which we’re permitted to be rude towards our enemies on Twitter.

I know which side I’m on. This columnist here seems to be equally sure which side she’s on. You can all decide for yourselves where you belong on this ideological battleground. But don’t kid yourself that this is a war where you can just sit on the sidelines or where there’s a “reasonable middle ground”. Ultimately, it’s about liberty v tyranny; about freedom of speech v creeping state control; free market capitalism v anti-growth collectivism; personal responsibility v suckling on the teat of the state; optimism v pessimism.

You choose.

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Five Reasons Why the Conservatives Deserve to Lose the Next Election

The scale of the problem

Please: can someone stop his job being so ludicrously easy?

1. Cowardice. Whose bright idea was it to ban Nigel Farage from speaking at the Tory conference in Manchester? And what kind of signal does this send out to all those waverers in the party wondering whether or not to transfer the allegiances to UKIP?

“We’re so concerned that Nigel Farage might tell you stuff that you want to hear that we’ve decided not to let you hear it.”

2. Spinelessness. Remember all that talk about the importance of localism? Remember all those principled-sounding statements we’ve had from the likes of John Hayes and Eric Pickles that in future if communities don’t want wind turbines imposed on them then they won’t have to? Well, it seems all that has gone by the board. No doubt under combined pressure from all the energy companies (whose beneficiaries range from the deputy prime minister’s wife to the prime minister’s father in law) and the ideological greens at DECC, Cameron’s faux-conservatives have caved yet again. I’m told by planning experts that Eric Pickles’s vaunted amendments will make not the blindest bit of difference to communities trying to fight wind turbines. So this betrayal of their natural constituency in the shires will help the Conservatives how, exactly?

3. Dishonesty. Immigration, the Conservatives have twigged, is a key issue to many voters. Hence those crass, ugly billboards. Hence scary Immigration Minister Mark Harper’s tough-sounding statements about how the Coalition is really on top of the problem. Except as Andrew Gilligan revealed in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph it’s all a nonsense. Our statistics on immigration are so unreliable as to be meaningless. I don’t know about you but I don’t like being taken for a fool by a party angling for my vote.

4. Cynicism. Much sense has been talked by those who understand the internet – among them, Mic Wright and Willard Foxton, both of this parish – about the illiberalism and counterproductivity of Cameron’s grandstanding crusade against all manner of online pornography. If it makes no sense, why is he doing it? Why out of a cynical attempt to win the approval of the leftist harpies at MumsNet, of course. Sorry but I’m old-fashioned enough to believe that government policy should be based on high principle and sound evidence, not on cheap, cynical bids to appeal to socialistic control freaks outside your natural constituency. But then, Dave does think of himself as the “heir to Blair” doesn’t he?

5. Incompetence. Do you know what, though? I think I could still forgive the Tories all of the above if they’d at least managed to do the one thing Tories are always supposed to be good at: undoing the economic mess created by the previous socialist administration.

But this “economic recovery” we’re allegedly experiencing is, like “green jobs”, a chimera. Liam Halligan doesn’t believe in it.

(Nor, suspects Rob Tyler, is it any different in the US.)

And no, this isn’t just a cyclical thing or a world-economy thing. It’s a direct consequence of Cameron’s and Osborne’s failure to acknowledge the scale of the problem and deal with it.

The framework required to support meaningful growth is simply not there. We are still spending beyond our means, the national debt is still ruinous, we still have a massive balance of trade deficit, and the government seems in no hurry to do anything about it. A wrecking ball should have been taken to New Labour’s policies by now, given that they’re largely responsible for the mess we’re in. Instead, David Cameron is like a man who’s been put in charge of the family Christmas and doesn’t want to upset the old’uns by changing too much. Apart from walnuts in the sprouts and a new board game for after dinner, it’s the same as it ever was.

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2 thoughts on “Five reasons why the Conservatives deserve to lose the next election”

  1. rtj1211 says:7th August 2013 at 7:27 pmThe biggest problem most politicians have is that they won’t tell hysterical protestors that they’re, on this issue, if not in life in general, in need of being sectioned for the safety of society. Years of Animal Rights, kibosh Bridgenorth Power Station, no tracking, no this, no that: sometimes you JUST HAVE TO DECIDE. The odds are stacked against the honest politician, because the aim of the media is to inflame, not to support good decisions. The aim of the ueber rich is to install incompetent blackmailable leaders and as we all know, the media is their domain, isn’t it?The second biggest problem is that those who won’t suffer near armageddon are fairly comfortable with sweeping everything away. They wouldn’t be if their children weren’t getting fed, the bills were months late, their jobs were all gone and their dignity destroyed. I only respect calls for radical destruction by those who will suffer with everyone else. I”ve never read anything by anyone to say that anyone is either that brave, stupid or selfish (if they have kids). It’s always the rich who call for the poor to suffer. If they called for themselves to suffer just one little bit, people might listen to them. HS2? NIMBY city. Windmills? NIMBY city. Fracking in Sussex? NIMBY city. The list is endless. Go try poverty: you’d soon be less radical….The third biggest problem is political parties. They are the home for the never-had-a-job-in-the-real-world SPADs. How can you POSSIBLY know how to run the country across three or four generations if you’ve never worked for one generation in the real world?? This is not the 19th century and the British Empire. This is globalised Britain, tied to the EU as one harridan parent and the USA as the other. What’s needed is the Harry Houdini escapology to escape both without being trafficked by other evil monsters. If you really are so much of a swivel-eyed loon as to see America as solely a force for good in the world, then you really do need to grow up. America is 1984 imposed on the world: a global spying behemoth, stealing the world’s assets without mercy whilst retaining a constitution it hasn’t upheld since 1945. A country infested with organised criminality and an out-of-control military-industrial complex and investment banking system. It can still come good, but the odds are on it becoming a fascist dictatorship. It’s about time you saw America’s dark side, instead of staying fantasised by Hollywood’s misdirection. It might be better if we ditched English as the formal language: then America wouldn’t be so obsessed with us. They don’t seem quite so obsessed with Norway or Switzerland, do they?? They need to see a shrink and forget about the War of Independence. None of us over here had anything to do with it and we’re sick and tired of their slave-owners demeanour to the UK. We have contempt for the way they dealt with Katrina. Contempt. Their city governance is a shambles and most of them are about to go bust. Wall Street is organised mafia and no-one has the power to stop it. There is no value whatever added to the economy by Wall Street. Nothing it does couldn’t be done as well, if not better, by 50 Warren Buffett-like folks, one in each state, in terms of investment decisions. All the speculation would be got rid of and ordinary folks on Main Street could safely deposit their savings in thrifts again, without fear of getting raped by descendents of Solly Brothers and the other Wall Street Crime Families who carried out heists that make Fort Knox look like a stroll in the Park……..and are lionized for having done so.Agree with you about UKIP, however a twit today has probably given Nigel Farage more media time than he’s had in weeks. All he needs next is a joint announcement of Boris’ latest affair along with a dalliance of one of his candidates and he can say: ‘See – we’re just like Boris, who got re-elected as Mayor of London!’

    I’d like to write another one about why the Labour Party don’t deserve to win too.

    But I would also like you to actually start mapping out what a detailed UKIP manifesto might look like.

    I won’t vote for them in 2015 as a protest. I’ll only vote for them if their manifesto is credible, costed and free of fascism.

    They have two years to produce one.

  2. rtj1211 says:7th August 2013 at 7:27 pmThe biggest problem most politicians have is that they won’t tell hysterical protestors that they’re, on this issue, if not in life in general, in need of being sectioned for the safety of society. Years of Animal Rights, kibosh Bridgenorth Power Station, no tracking, no this, no that: sometimes you JUST HAVE TO DECIDE. The odds are stacked against the honest politician, because the aim of the media is to inflame, not to support good decisions. The aim of the ueber rich is to install incompetent blackmailable leaders and as we all know, the media is their domain, isn’t it?The second biggest problem is that those who won’t suffer near armageddon are fairly comfortable with sweeping everything away. They wouldn’t be if their children weren’t getting fed, the bills were months late, their jobs were all gone and their dignity destroyed. I only respect calls for radical destruction by those who will suffer with everyone else. I”ve never read anything by anyone to say that anyone is either that brave, stupid or selfish (if they have kids). It’s always the rich who call for the poor to suffer. If they called for themselves to suffer just one little bit, people might listen to them. HS2? NIMBY city. Windmills? NIMBY city. Fracking in Sussex? NIMBY city. The list is endless. Go try poverty: you’d soon be less radical….The third biggest problem is political parties. They are the home for the never-had-a-job-in-the-real-world SPADs. How can you POSSIBLY know how to run the country across three or four generations if you’ve never worked for one generation in the real world?? This is not the 19th century and the British Empire. This is globalised Britain, tied to the EU as one harridan parent and the USA as the other. What’s needed is the Harry Houdini escapology to escape both without being trafficked by other evil monsters. If you really are so much of a swivel-eyed loon as to see America as solely a force for good in the world, then you really do need to grow up. America is 1984 imposed on the world: a global spying behemoth, stealing the world’s assets without mercy whilst retaining a constitution it hasn’t upheld since 1945. A country infested with organised criminality and an out-of-control military-industrial complex and investment banking system. It can still come good, but the odds are on it becoming a fascist dictatorship. It’s about time you saw America’s dark side, instead of staying fantasised by Hollywood’s misdirection. It might be better if we ditched English as the formal language: then America wouldn’t be so obsessed with us. They don’t seem quite so obsessed with Norway or Switzerland, do they?? They need to see a shrink and forget about the War of Independence. None of us over here had anything to do with it and we’re sick and tired of their slave-owners demeanour to the UK. We have contempt for the way they dealt with Katrina. Contempt. Their city governance is a shambles and most of them are about to go bust. Wall Street is organised mafia and no-one has the power to stop it. There is no value whatever added to the economy by Wall Street. Nothing it does couldn’t be done as well, if not better, by 50 Warren Buffett-like folks, one in each state, in terms of investment decisions. All the speculation would be got rid of and ordinary folks on Main Street could safely deposit their savings in thrifts again, without fear of getting raped by descendents of Solly Brothers and the other Wall Street Crime Families who carried out heists that make Fort Knox look like a stroll in the Park……..and are lionized for having done so.Agree with you about UKIP, however a twit today has probably given Nigel Farage more media time than he’s had in weeks. All he needs next is a joint announcement of Boris’ latest affair along with a dalliance of one of his candidates and he can say: ‘See – we’re just like Boris, who got re-elected as Mayor of London!’

    I’d like to write another one about why the Labour Party don’t deserve to win too.

    But I would also like you to actually start mapping out what a detailed UKIP manifesto might look like.

    I won’t vote for them in 2015 as a protest. I’ll only vote for them if their manifesto is credible, costed and free of fascism.

    They have two years to produce one.

Comments are closed.

What really happened on BBC Any Questions | James Delingpole

June 10, 2013

One of last night’s protestors.

I did very much enjoy recording Any Questions in the belly of the beast – aka Eco Loon Central, aka the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth – this week. But I’m not sure it necessarily had the makings of brilliant radio.

The big problem with radio – as opposed to TV – is that if things start kicking off in the recording venue (as they very much did with last night’s unusually lively audience of yoghurt-weaving yurt-dwellers) there are no cameras to relay what’s going on to the outside world. If you were listening last night – or if you listened to today’s repeat – all you’ll have heard is some background protestations from the audience and the sound of Jonathan Dimbleby trying to keep order.

I think the technical term for what the BBC did with this programme was “trolling.” Step one: arrange to record your panel show in ground zero of green lunacy. Step two: invite one of Britain’s most infamous climate sceptics and one of Britain’s most outspokenly anti-wind-farm, pro-fracking MPs (Owen Paterson – who was partly responsible for effecting the government’s recent policy shift making it easier for groups to oppose wind farms). Step three: light touch-paper and run.

That noise you’ll have heard in the background was partly all the mung-bean-munchers in the audience jeering and hissing me when I expressed scepticism about climate change; but mainly – the real rumpus at the end – was when a small group of anti-badger-cull protestors in the front row tried to hijack the show by loudly shouting insults at Owen Paterson. Annoyingly this was at the very moment when it was my turn to speak about wind farms and I ended up having to shout into my mic so as to avoid being drowned out by the yelling badger huggers.

Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot, as I think Paterson did too. We didn’t feel threatened, the volunteers from the Alternative Technology Centre were all very sweet and welcoming, and of course it’s always tremendous fun getting to tell a bunch of eco loons to their face that they’re a bunch of eco loons – and have it broadcast all over the country.

But I fear that the real – and thoroughly undeserved – losers from all this were the thousands of people all over mid-Wales who are struggling desperately to stop their matchlessly beautiful landscape being destroyed by wind turbines and pylons. Taking the train to Machynlleth on Friday I looked out of the window slack-jawed at the magnificence of mid-Wales’s The-Shire-like hill country which has been rendered more lushly green than perhaps at any time in recent history thanks to the atmospheric abundance of glorious CO2. And the question I kept asking myself is: “How could anyone who really cares about our natural heritage possibly want to destroy this with wind turbines?”

Under current government plans, 800 turbines – some over 400 feet tall – are to be built in mid-Wales, with another 100 miles worth of pylons to be built across Montgomeryshire and into Shropshire in order to connect their expensive, intermittent, unreliable electricity with the national grid. This is going to cost a minimum of £2 billion. Yet, for about one fifth of that cost you can build a gas fired power station capable of producing nearly three times as much power – without blighting the countryside for miles around and without draining the pockets of the poor, put-upon energy user with unnecessary green tariffs.

These people deserve better than to have the cause dearest to their hearts trivialised in the way it was on BBC Any Questions. Given a bit more space and given a more balanced audience, I could have made a much more persuasive case for them. Instead, I was forced to bellow my point, slogan-like, into the mic in the last few seconds before the show closed while the badger protestors were barracking Paterson. Exciting for some us, perhaps, but not really fair on the people who really matter: the thousands of victims of the unconscionable wind energy scam still being forced on them by our Coalition government, the Welsh Assembly and Alex Salmond.

UPDATE: I’ve written some further thoughts on this which I think a few of you might enjoy. There’s a particularly delicious section on one of our house trolls.

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