I wasn’t planning on bringing up my hideous encounter with Old Etonian climate-fear promoter Jonathan Porritt on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions again. It feels like picking at an old scab. But, if you’ve ever nurtured suspicions about the BBC’s persistent left-liberal-AGW bias, here’s a blog you absolutely have to read.
In it blogger TonyN gives the programme a thorough Fisking and demonstrates, pretty comprehensively I think, just how far presenter Jonathan Dimbleby allowed his instinctive sympathies towards Anthropogenic Global Warming alarmism to hijack what should have been a balanced debate. (Hat Tip: world’s greatest living Kiwi Josie Jackson)
He notes, for example, the decided mismatch in the way Porritt and I were introduced: Porritt as a respected elder-statesman type; me as a comedy right-wing caricature.
Jonathan Porritt: Doyen of the green party, founder of Forum for the Future, and until a few weeks ago, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, and the government’s chief environmental adviser, to which post he was appointed by Tony Blair a decade ago.
James Delingpole: comes from a rather different tradition, author and Spectator columnist, he reviles what he calls the deceit and lies of the anthropogenic global warming industry … He’s also scathing about left liberals who he is prone to see in his words as ‘stupid’.
I remember baulking at the intro even at the time. I don’t think left-liberals are necessarily stupid, just misguided, self-deluded and wrong (which aren’t the same thing at all). Problem is, if you try picking the presenter up on something he says about you right at the beginning it makes you look either pompous and self-regarding or it raises the possibility he’ll pick on you later on. Not that I should have worried about the second option: as TonyN suggests, Dimbleby did that anyway.
The question about climate change came from a Mr Gent, who asked, ‘Is the answer to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions blowing in the wind?’
On this programme the panel genuinely do not know what the questions will be, although they may be able to guess what is likely to be come up and do some home work. The chairman [Dimbleby] immediately slipped the poisoned pill to Delingpole, although he must have realised that pitting a journalist with no specialised knowledge of this subject against a specialist like Porritt could make for an uneven contest. And addressing the question first is always a disadvantage; there is nothing to react to and no thinking time.
TonyN goes on to quote in full what I was allowed to say on the subject, and what Porritt (Prince Charles’s chief climate-fear guru) was able to say on the subject. He is in little doubt as to who was given the more leeway.
When guests on Any Questions get abusive, Dimbleby usually cuts them off pretty quickly and tries to restore some semblance of propriety to the discussion. In this case he let Porritt continue, in spite of his repeatedly having suggested that a fellow guest was a liar.
As I’ve said before, I believe that Dimbleby is a decent, well-intentioned, likeable man who does his best to stay neutral. But he is also a paid-up member of the Green Alliance and is about to install a wind turbine at his Devon, much to the upset of some of his neighbours. This, I would suggest, makes him a somewhat parti-pris moderator for a debate on Global Warming.
But please, do be sure to read the blog at www.harmlesssky.org in full. Then make up your own minds and let me know what you think.