I have not mentioned anywhere the attention-seeking, abusive and offensive remarks of a well-known TV presenter about strikers. He was on the TV at the time ‘to launch a new DVD’ so the abusiveness and offensiveness were deliberate and the means of attention-seeking. His publicist will on balance be happy, the DVD will sell well, and the world will move on.
A worse form of attention seeking comes from this week’s Spectator magazine which leads on an article by a scientist casting doubt on climate change. Though this may get less attention than Mr Top Gear, it is more serious.
I talked at the Leveson inquiry about the MMR scandal, and the determination of parts of the media to believe the sole high profile scientist casting doubt on the vaccine, because it made a better story if it could damage the Blair government, whatever the consequences, like the risk of measles.
But The Soectator’s provision of a platform to Dr Nils Axis Morner to peddle lots of nonsense stems from a belief that ideology can beat science. Look down through history, and see the right wing standing again and again in the path of reason and progress. Why it should be particularly right wing to resist the idea that the world is warming as a result of our habits I don’t know, but it is.
It leads too to a situation where environment secretary Chris Huhne has to deliver a ‘protest too much’ defence of his Chancellor George Osborne, who is perhaps the least green Chancellor we have ever had, and that includes climate change denier Nigel Lawson.
My partner bumped into a senior civil servant who works in a major government department earlier this week. He said one of the worst things about the Chancellor and other ministers is that they have next to no interest in hard analysis of the impact of policy. They want analysis that confirms their ideology, nothing else. So when Osborne says his policies are working, he believes it, because of the dozen papers alerting him to what is happening, he picks out the one that confirms his original view.
Mr Cameron promised this would be the greenest government ever. Nick Clegg promised to hold him to that. No further comment is needed on either of them.
But the triumph of ideology over science, reason and analysis adds to the danger this government and in particular its right wing pose to the country.
MY GOD! LittleJohn on page 17 of the Daily Mail has a colour Trumpton fireman in the middle of his page! Blimey finally, the Daily Mail is going bonkers! Buy the paper if you don’t believe me, or is it just in the welsh edition?
Song and vid for them anyway – Trumpton for Littlejohn and his Daily Mail little mates, re-mixed from my memory….
What baffles me is why it should be regarded as left-wing, centrist or ‘progressive’ to uncritically subscribe to the secular religion of climate-change hysteria. Many of us whose politics are on the left are equally sceptical (global temperatures have not risen for the past 13 years and historically there is no correlation between industrialisation, CO2 and and global temperatures). As is typical of all cult-like secular religions, the global warmers label anybody who dares to question them ‘deniers’ – a self-conscious attempt to bracket opponents alongside those who would deny the Holocaust.
I absolutely agree. The coalition’s disregard for green issues is staggering. As is there disregard for many other issues people hold dear: human rights, the welfare state, education…
Out of interest, what did you think of Cameron’s use of ‘left wing’ as an insult during PMQs the other day?
“They want analysis that confirms their ideology” Of course Mr Blair (Iraq) and Mr Brown (Borrowing trillions) didn’t want the same thing now did they?
I don’t take much notice of my West Riding compatriot any more, once a person has over-inflated themself to that extent there’s no hope and when they’ve mocked a blind person you have to make allowance that perhaps he only reached such insensitivity after being mocked as a child for his own physical afflictions.
He’s on a bit of a guinea-pig torture wheel, round and round and money money money it’s all about the money and believing oneself a celeb when surrounded by the gormless gazing in to camera.
Trying to be positive I hope lots of people are employed in the Clarkson Corp’n and do enjoy the discovery of James May who’s a lot more fun.
I’m afraid the media and its editing are to blame for some of this furore, they presented certain people with one part of what JC had said, which was an add-on described as ‘the essential balance’ to an earlier statement (which I didn’t hear nor have looked for).
That’s manipulation of all those equally uninformed who jumped to the command of the mike thrust in front of them.
This was very interesting about how Goldsmith has actually been sidelined since entering Parliament (he’s apparently another hacking victim too).
I don’t suppose his being so wealthy helped any street cred, nor the fact that there seems so little cross-party activity.
Just this week I read through an essay from Naomi Klein that gradually and powerfully makes the case for the (predominantly) right-wing being wrong on the conspiracy while being more honest than most climate change campaingers with the severe impacts in adapting to a vastly changed climate:
The social contract of capitalism is threatened by Climate change. Growth is not infinite on a planet with finite resources and no means to economically find more (given the cost of tar sands we’ll not be going extra-planet for duty free commondities). Climate change, and having to seriously deal with the fallout form drastic changes calls the capitalism on it nakedness that we all in our hearts saw but ignored.
A greengrocer’s apostrophe has crept into your last sentence. I know it’s a typo and not ignorance on your part but the pedant and proofreader in me has forced me to point it out.
I’m sure you are right not to give further coverage to Clarkson. However, as a campaigner on mental health issues, you might like to note that his far more offensive remarks about train suicides on the same programme have had very little coverage and seem to have provoked few complaints.
The line about strikers can be passed off as a joke (albeit a remarkably unfunny one) but the comment on suicides was just callous and gratuitously offensive, especially to families of those who have killed themselves in this way, and indeed to those amazing public sector workers who have the nightmarish task of retrieving body parts from the track.
The danger is – as I think you said yourself? – that rational debate regarding climate change takes place in peer-reviewed scientific journals and at conferences between scientists who understand the technical issues and yet are robustly critical of others work (Science is a dog-eat-dog world). The general consensus coming out of this bun fight is that the climate is changing due to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, however most of this debate takes place out of sight of much of the general public.
The bit most of the general public see is ‘balanced’ debate in the media where there’s equal representation from Pro & Anti climate-change camps. Despite the fact that there’s not equal numbers of scientists supporting each side. This gives undue weight to the less well supported Anti group.
Add on top of this the continous injection of fear, uncertainty & doubt by the likes of right wing-nut James Delingpole – who’s primary concern is with paying less tax not saving the world and seems to take his political inspiration from Homer Simpson- and it appears as if the science is on a knife edge and could go either way. That’s not the case.
The same tactics were / are used to pick holes in Evolution, Second-hand smoke, Tobacco causing lung cancer and Lead in petrol to name a few.
The Coalition might find itself borrowing trillions soon, Chris. That might cause even you to change your tune.
There was once a time when people believed that the earth was flat. In 100 or even 50 years’ time, far from your children or grandchildren inhabiting a world destroyed by CO2, they will be having a great laugh at this generation’s expense for believing that flatulent cattle were a threat to global survival. In terms of the phoney left-right dichotomy surrounding this issue, what I find most offensive about the stance adopted by the climate-change cultists is the assumption that they represent some sort of progressive tendency. They don’t. The cult has spawned carbon taxes, the most viciously regressive and reactionary form of taxation of the modern era. Frankly, the middle classes are well able to pay carbon taxes so that they can get into their 4X4s in leafy suburbia and drive half-a-mile to the newsagent’s to get their Guardians, before going home, turning up the central heating and tut-tut-tutting about how terrible it is that we are (allegedly) destroying the planet. Meanwhile, the people who are really being hammered by the cult’s delusional obsessions are precisely those that the Left should be protecting; the most vulnerable, the elderly and kids in poor homes where many people now fear to put the heating on in winter. If you’re well off, heating is a small proportion of your household income. If you’re poor, it’s a huge part of your expenditure, yet everybody pays the same carbon taxes. Fuel poverty is now a reality for many people. This is progress? Finally, for those who live in rural areas, as I do, and for whom there is no public transport option, carbon taxes are a tax on going to work and generating the income that makes the welfare state possible.
Don’t you think the lack of rises you list is due entirely to changes that have happened in that period (even over 50yrs) … unleading of most petrol, improvements to diesel engines, our use of clean gas at home and so many other examples of better occupation of our place in history?
No, I don’t. First of all, I am not aware that even the cultists would claim that lead in petrol has anything to do with global warming. Secondly, global temperatures have not risen since 1998, 13 years ago, long before the cult went mainstream. The climate has always fluctuated, but if you look at global temperatures and map them against periods of history when, if the cult was correct, there should have been rises in temperature – for instance, during the most rapid period of industrialisation – no such rises took place. It is bunkum and it is the poorest sections of society who are paying the price for this nonsense.
AC it does not matter if you believe in climate change or not, that’s not the point, the great British public could care less what a bunch of Guardian readers think on this subject. They want jobs, they want their living standards not to fall through the floor. They want yesterday, it could be the welfare state to climate change, that ERA is over, the glory days of New Labour are well and truly over, as TB said his memoirs GB had won, well the politics sons of GB are in charge, Miliband and Balls. Given the present economic climate they should be miles ahead, but if you ask people who they trust with the economy, it’s the Coalition, who do the blame in part for the present economic conditions, the Labour Party. Your fighting yesterdays battle AC, saw that the TV news didn’t show much of you at the Press Inquiry, just a few seconds in fact. The press always WIN AC in the end, you should know that better than anyone.
The right (namely the GOP and their associated vested interests in the States) have every reason to obfuscate at each and every turn. I still recall watching an American oil exec agrue on TV that it was his constitutional right to f*ck up the environment to make money. Astonishing but true. At least he was upfront about it.
These guys are in power for a lot longer than most politicans and so can afford to play the long game. It is a game they appear to be winning. Our democratic cycle is in no position to truly compete with generations of embedded vested interests.
What the UK does has next to no impact Since 2006, the Chinese have been opening approximately 1.75 coal power stations each week. They use more coal than the USA, Europe and Japan combined.
Whatever proposals Huhne wants us to implement, the results will be negligible.
Let’s hope you are right, Brendan because if you are wrong the world burns but if the other side is wrong we go as before. On that basis alone it is best to err on the side of caution and take the measures needed to curb global warming. These are sensible in their own right since they deal with pollution, promote energy efficiency, eke out our diminishing oil reserves and reduce our dependance on oil from the volatile Middle East.
My first post here. Given my views, I should hate Alastair Campbell but I don’t.
But come on Alastair… I’m surprised at you. Do you really think what Clarkson said was offensive and blah blah, or do you think that it was a joke – albeit as you say an intentionally controversial one to sell dvds.
Does Ken Livingstone really want to assasinate all the people he claims to? Er, well maybe he does I suppose… but I still think Clarkson’s joking!
Why do the right rail against climate change – its climate change socialism they rail against. Giving the necessary power and authoritarianism to the state so that we have to fear our binmen, whilst China, the US carry on doing whatever they like, seems a bit crazy to the right.
Also the climate change issue is really really simple, whereas the left prefers making things complicated where possible (see tax and benefits under brown for example – I’m not complaining, I made thousands due to the complication.)
Nigel Lawson has a sensible analysis, but here’s mine:
Global warming MAY be real, and may be man made. It seems to me 80 to 95% of scientists seem to think so. So it probably is. Doesn’t matter.
If its NOT real – then we only need to worry about the same things we always did, ie war. We need to make sure our economy, military, and technology can defend us. This means keeping strong alliance with USA and strong nuclear deterrent.
If it IS real – then the same goes only with more urgency, ie the only thing we have to focus on is defence, but with more urgency. We are not going to come to some happy clappy sharey sharey consensus on how to save the planet and share its resources. As at any other time throughout history, when the resources get scarce, be it land, manpower, food, oil or in this case cool climates – the people with the guns will get them.
If for example in the future the world can only support 40% of today’s population – then the 40% with the most guns will own it.
And yet you guys think its the right who ignore the evidence… waken up.
My God the comments function on this website blows! Sort it out alastair! Even the daily telegraphs is better, at least there is waiting for mod approval on every post there, or the last messages on a thread getting strung out to single characters (see below.) The comments function here is rubbish, the comments function on the telegraph is rubbish – surely there’s a “Third Way”! (Chortle)
Yeah yeah. The left are all for science and ideology – when it suits them. Climate change – they’re all for science, hard facts, evidence. Belief in God – again all for science, hard facts, evidence.
But step into economics or military matters, and they don’t want ANY evidence or facts or scientific cause and effect analysis.
I personally do believe in climate change (on balance, at this point), but don’t believe in God, santa claus, pacifism, the tooth fairy, or Keynesian economics.
The point about the Clarkson fiasco was that he broke the BBC guidelines on bias and giving offence. As such he made a nonsense of these rules much in the same way that newspapers make a nonsense of of the Press Complaints Commission code,as you brilliantly pointed out in your appearance before the Leveson Inquiry, Alastair.
Clarkson is more than a clown. He is a nasty right- wing celeb who gets away with saying the most obnoxious things because the BBC wish to hang on to his ill-gotten ratings.
This is therefore every much a scandal as the matters you drew attention to on Wednesday.
I’ll agree with you up to a point, in that it is funny how the strikers got the most coverage. He clearly was joking about shooting strikers. But I believe he was serious when he said why should the train stop because it has hit someone.
I can only assume its because bbc etc are sure strikers are left wing (not necessarily true), whereas suicide victims could be either left or right and so don’t get the same mock horror phony sympathy and protective response.
I dunno, I have been on the jubliee when this has happened a few times and it seemed that all the travellers were thinking the same three thoughts in this order:
“Oh my god, someone got hit by the train thats awful…”
“Why does it have to hold up the train though, it won’t change anything and I’m in a big hurry”
“I suppose I shouldn’t complain, at least its not me or my family in front of the train, things could be worse, poor soul.”
I’d generally agree with anyone who criticises Osborne, but not on ideology. Alastair, you are brilliant at many things, in your role as press man for Blair, in your work for mental health etc – but you admit you don’t know much about economics, which is fine Tony never asked you to be Chancellor.
I think it is demonstrably wrong to call Osborne an idealogue. I think he is closer to the u-turn shapeshifter Cameron. Some examples:
– Osborne used to support a flat income tax (like some on the american republican right), this is now dropped.
– He called quantitative easing / money printing “the last resort of desperate governments” now he backs the Bank of England in doing it.
– He has got more and leftist as time goes on, as yesterdays budget shows with many hat tips to Keynesianism and indeed Brown-onomics.
One of the problems when addressing this governments record, is to try and not say ,”I told you so”. As everyone knows, there is nothing that turns people off more, to what you have to say, than to utter the words of the insufferable know it all – especially among friends and family. Here is where Labour must tread carefully.
It is important to get the message across, but without appearing in any way smug. The right-wing at BBC London, would have a field day, with any sign of this from Labour. The message from Labour must be their alternative economy, and where Britain would be, had austerity programmes been much more tempered. They must also supply the public with a different picture of where we could be in 6 months, a year or two years, with a different set of measured and reasoned options. Without this, the public will be suspicious of Labour.
There’s always wariness toward any opposition, but there is even more antipathy directed at the coalition government. I personally don’t think that green issues are game changers, in the current climate, and that is why the right-wing are having a field day, espousing these barren arguements. The more they repeat it, the more people will become conditioned to accepting them as the norm, and the lack of interest is understandable.
Therefore, it is important to concentrate on policy; and expose the changing face of government, for the lie it is.
Actually, Alistair, you’re the one who sees this in terms of ideology rather than analysis, because you see this in terms of left versus right, us and them, Labour versus Tories. It’s not Burnley versus Blackburn Rovers. It’s too important for that.
tidy, big big big tidy.
Humour is good for humans. You run a close second to Richard Dawkins when it comes to humour.
I don’t have any problem with any of that, Stan. What I have a problem with is the fact that while people like you, I and most people who will post on here can afford to pay carbon taxes, there are plenty of people who had a choice last winter of sinking even further into crippling debt or letting their kids go cold. They may yet face the same choice this winter. I know elderly people who are frightened to put the heating on. Where I live, in Ireland, it’s now around €800 to fill a tank with heating oil and the government has already flagged that carbon taxes will be raised even further in this week’s budget. If you’re on the dole, a low income, are an OAP or a single parent, even €400 for half a tank of oil is a huge sum of money. This has now become a revenue-raising scam for governments and the science – which is very questionable anyway – has become secondary.
They already are Dave. More public sector cuts needed!
You will probably be aware that Clarkson has made even more offensive comments on train suicides in his Sun column on Saturday: references to ‘Johnny Suicide’, the suggestion that smaller body parts be left on the trackside to be eaten by ‘Foxywoxy’. It’s clearly a jokey subject to Clarkson.
Re halting trains, he doesn’t seem to realise that until the police have confirmed that it is suicide the scene is a potential crime scene.
He is also breaking a fundamental human taboo: that dead bodies should be treated with respect, even in such extreme circumstances.
I would like to see this article referred to the PCC because it breaks the PCC code in respect of discussion of suicide.
I also think it should be considered by the Leveson Inquiry which at this stage is looking at the general issue of press ethics.
It also arguably contravenes the BBC’s code of conduct which says that whilst employees may undertake outside work, they should not say or do anything that might bring the BBC into disrepute.
I’m afraid I don’t have much time for people whose suicide directly
affects other people. Imo it is just damn selfish behavior.
If someone decides to take their own life, that is their decision. But to involve others is unforgivable to my way of thinking. People such as train and lorry drivers have been physiologically damaged for life by these selfish people deciding to involve others in their way out.
I realize this may sound a little harsh and others have told me that “these people are not thinking clearly or straight at the time” which is a point I suppose. But I’m sorry I just don’t buy it. They are being self-centered and downright selfish imo. Which simply goes towards explaining why they couldn’t hack it in the first place.
If they had any thought for other people at all, they could easily make their suicide appear as an accidental death. There are plenty of ways to do that.
Might as well post this, Gwyn Thomas from 1966, succinct eulogy on BBC radio, when over hundred kiddies got drowned in liquid coal dust. A total hell’s occurance in time,
Get your hanky ready, I am blubbering…
More public sector cuts, loss of markets for some private firms, more public sector employees on the dole, consumer spending down, more job losses in private sector, etc, etc….
And so it all spirals down, as it is spiralling down, and eejits like you want more public spending cuts even though even you must acknowledge that the present economic crisis originated in what’s variously called ‘private enterprise’, ‘free enterprise’, ‘the market economy’, ‘capitalism’. Or maybe we’re all wrong – it was caused by public sector employees with their inflationary salary rises of 57% and their gold-plated pensions?
Everything you say would be true but for one simple fact: these people are suffering from mental illness. You acknowledge this but then say you “don’t buy it” and that their selfishness is the cause of their mental illness in the first place.
Your comments are almost as bad as those of Clarkson, with whom you share an inability to comprehend that mental illness can destroy the capacity to make normal judgments or think rationally.
I wonder if you take this attitude just to those with depression or also to those with paranoid schizophrenia, some of whom also commit suicide in this way.
I didn’t say that their selfishness was the cause of their mental illness in the first place.
I did say that it goes towards explaining why they are how are they are and what their attitude to other people is. I’m feeling mischievous ambrosian, so this next sentence may annoy you also. That’s not my intention btw. But, like the poor, the feeble-minded will always be with us!
I would go to any extreme to help a sufferer who wants/needs help and I have done just that in the past. But there are people out there who think the world owes them a living and that they deserve happiness! ergo, they are selfish and self-centered and when things don’t fall into their laps or they don’t get what they want, they simply haven’t got the courage or mental strength to deal with the reality of life.
We may like to kid ourselves that we live in a caring society. But ultimately it will be down to the survival of the fittest. This will become all too sadly evident during the coming difficult years imho. Just look at how the BBC are encouraging euthanasia for old people!
They keep showing us how badly treated the elderly are, whilst at the same time broadcasting programs about people choosing to end their lives. The overall message is clear, i.e. don’t get old, there is no one to care for you, you might as well end it while you can.
Finally, I don’t know much about scizophrenia or serious physcotic mental illness except to say that if they are a danger to themselves or others they should be kept under lock and key unless and until they are better or at least well-managed on medication. That way they wouldn’t be able to kill other innocent people or do away with themselves in a way which directly affects and damages other innocent people. Surely that’s just common sense.
I think we have to live with China’s pollution for some time, given that we sympathised with their being held down by Mao and are trying very hard now to do catchup with the parts of the world that progressed while they didn’t.
Given that they are catching up pdq and in fact might soon ovdertake the West, then will be the time to demand they startt doing their bit for future generations.
I think some honesty’s required too, their unchecked pollution whilst producing cheap goods for Westerners is what pollution credits is all about is it not?
I’ve been away hence the late response; no bad thing if you don’t see to do your lickel autiopilot thang.
It always always happens that on a thread to do with climate change there will be more new posters than on other topics.
It’s not about serendipity or coincidence, it’s about being linked on isn’t it chaps?
I can understand someone not wanting to go on living if they’ve lost someone they think they can’t live without or can’t see a worthwhile work/career future but I can’t understand those that affect lots of people by choosing violent methods that look like blind/untargeted spite at the world.
I understand your comments ambrosian but I still err on the side of the bereaved or the witnesses (especially those just doing their job, like tube drivers).
You seem to be saying that you can understand depression that has a cause like bereavement but not depression that has no external cause and much clinical depression falls into the latter category. This is a common reaction to mental illness that leads to much of the prejudice and stigma that the mentally ill suffer from.
Regarding suicide, it’s not about taking sides. One can have great sympathy for the bereaved and the witnesses without accusing the deceased of calculated spite or selfishness.
I much prefer to think you are being ‘mischievous’ rather than serious.
Both myself and AC have suffered from mental illness and I’m sure neither of us would consider ourselves either feeble-minded or particularly selfish.
Insofar as any of your comments are serious, it just emphasises the huge task that faces mental health charities and their supporters like AC in explaining mental illness and combating prejudice.
So much use of the word ‘cult’.
LOL, it takes a really stupid kind of cultish faith to even pretend to believe it’s possible to move what has formed and oozed underground over millennia, lift and burn it all up overground within a few decades and pretend the Earth has not been changed for the worse.
Not to worry Brendan, you can pretend to your heart’s content that there’s no harm being done, you aren’t on one of the low-lying coasts of the world or elsewhere that already endure metres-high floods even inland for weeks of each year.
Ok M, so where’ve you been…..Kathmandu? The Chinese and the USA are amongst the worst of polluters and don’t need our sympathy but rather our demand/encouragement to change. But I agree with Brendan, I’m sceptical of the science so far and need a lot more convincing.
Nope, not been to Kathmandu but have been to Kashmir and other parts of the lower Himalayas and to other low-lying parts of the mid and far east.
Mostly for work but a lot of pleasure along the way.
Most of the work has been in India and it’s hard to describe the improvements in its cities since its motor industry’s filthy fuel was cleaned up to some extent; my best friend’s asthma isn’t as likely to kill her any time soon as it was even ten years ago.
ambrosian, I think you are spot-on when you say that the mental health charities have a huge task explaining mental illness and combating prejudice. Because if someone like me who has battled with depression in the past can’t fully understand all the complex issues involved. Then for so-called normal people it must be incomprehensible, I would imagine.
I just thank God that I was brought up in quite a harsh way i.e. to stand on my own two feet and get up and get on with it sort of way, because when push came to shove it was the saving of me.
I agree Michele, it does come across as blind/untargeted spite at the world. Attention seeking at its worst imo. Unless of course I am missing something here.
I suppose it is as ambrosian said in a previous post that they have mental illness and are incapable of rational thought and behavior. Which is of course the difficult bit for most people to understand.
I still genuinely believe it was a huge mistake in closing down the asylums though. As the word (asylum) means, it was a safe place for the severely mentally ill and it also made the country a slightly safer place for the not mentally ill.
Iif we’re going to forgive someone jumping off a motorway bridge and harming others’ futures due to illness or bad medication don’t we moreso have to forgive brainwashed people with backpacks?
We simply aren’t important enough as individuals to want to have those effects on unknown others and their families, probably change them from content individuals to disturbed forever. It’s even worse btw imhoo when Buddhist monks claim self-immolation in public places is legitimate as nobody else is harmed. What the?
I’d have thought the Jubilee is least likely of all lines to be so-exploited, given that most of its platforms’ doors don’t open till the train has stopped.
Apoligies I mistook your query above as being related to the topic and yattered on in honest response.
I’d not realised it was a smartrrrrrs attempt at humour, Have a ho-ho-ho.
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