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« Pursuit of Fox | Main | Going »

Bob's boss in bizarre hoax

It's not often I link readers to the Sun, but this turned up via a Google alert. It appears that Bob Ward's colleague at the Science Media Centre, the former revolutionary communist, Fiona Fox, is something of a practical joker. Fox, readers may remember, has called for sceptic views to be avoided in media coverage of global warming.

She is also apparently a close friend of Jim Devine, a former Labour MP who is now facing fraud charges over his expense claims. She appears to have got herself involved in a bizarre and rather nasty practical joke involving Devine and his office manager, and which has now led to a substantial damages award against the politician.

They're a rum lot at the Science Media Centre aren't they?

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Reader Comments (52)

I don't see any sign of a practical joke. It looks more like a conspiracy to commit fraud.

Oct 15, 2010 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Surely Fiona Fox's participation in this bullying and fraud should be brought to the attention of her employers. This is a serious matter and she shares part of the guilt.

Oct 15, 2010 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterEdbhoy

Miss Kinley (Devine's ex-office manager) went on to say that she phoned and confronted Ms Fox when she got home and asked her what was going on. She told the tribunal that Ms Fox had said: "I'm really sorry but Jim (Devine) asked me to do it (pretend to be a Telegraph journalist). I don't know why but he seemed to think it would be hilarious (completely fabricated story). I'm really sorry, he phoned me back later on Saturday night and said it hadn't worked anyway, but thanks."

Science Media Centre bio of Fiona Fox, "Fiona has a degree in Journalism and 15 years experience in media relations. She held the position of Senior Press Officer for the Equal Opportunities Commission for six years, followed by two years running the media operation at the National Council for One Parent Families. A total change of environment followed as Fiona became Head of Media at CAFOD, one of the UK's leading aid agencies. She founded the Jubilee 2000 press group, which helped to force serious Third World issues onto the media and political agendas. Fiona is an experienced public speaker and a trained journalist, who has written extensively for newspapers and publications, authored several policy papers and contributed to books on humanitarian aid."

This is much more than acting in an unprofessional way. Why would someone with such a background, especially with her work for the Equal Opportunities Commission, stoop this low? It simply beggars belief.

Such people completely discredit the organisations they work for. Fiona Fox is another person, like Pachauri, that needs saving. They are a god-send to sceptics.

Oct 15, 2010 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Oh I get it. Like humour, but different........ and nice to see that Fiona has set aside special time to humiliate not only herself but also others in public. These people seem to be ugly inside out.

Oct 15, 2010 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterH

Did you know that Fiona Fox, back when she was a committed marxist, used to publish news articles under the assumed name of Fiona Foster.

Not a lot of people know that.

She doesn't seem to be good at pretending to be other people.

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Has anyone asked the SMC or the Royal Institute for comment?

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterSlowjoe

If there are good references for Fox's time with communism, it might be worth including citations of them in the Wikipedia biography:

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterSara Chan

These are the funders of the Science Media Centre.

I wonder what their response is to the evidence given at the tribunal about Ms. Fox's behaviour?

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Fiona Fox, December 1995. Massacring the Truth in Rwanda. Published under the assumed name “Fiona Foster” in Living Marxism.

From what I understand this article written by Fox 'denied' that there had been a genocide in Rwanda

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Tribunal hears of bizarre events at Jim Devine's office

Jim Devine: "'They are going to print all your details in the paper and they are going to say that I'm paying you that much because you and I are having an affair."

Miss Kinley: "I said to him, 'no amount of money in the treasury would entice me to have an affair with you'. "I wasn't having that printed. I was actually more worried about that than them printing my salary."

I'm not sure what this demonstrates, if anything. I have taken the view that a long time ago the moral fibre of the civil service/public sector/authority figures was little different to today but their scope for interfering in our lives was far smaller than it is today and we had fewer opportunities to uncover their failings.

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

What a disgusting pair Devine and Fox are. That poor woman deserves a very large sum for the harassment and smear campaign.

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterGurgeh

In his day wasnt Jim Devine a member of the Science and Technology committee?

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Fiona Fox is of course an "expert" to whom the BBC often turns. The very objective of the SMC is to manipulate media suckers like the BBC to amplify the false message of AGW.

Her behaviour in this case sounds disgusting. Decent organisations have rules that allow the sacking of people who bring the organisation's name into disrepute. Obviously the SMC as an organisation was not directly involved with this, but Fox is very much the public face of the SMC.

Sack or not sack ? I dunno. But certainly the BBC ought to stop using someone who behaves in such an atrocious manner. Except that the BBC seems to be joined at the hip to propaganda outfits like SMC.

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

The thing is you really want such people to remain in their positions. Such people discredit the organisations they work for. So everytime SMC produces a press release, or an SMC representative that appears on radio or the TV, the first thing that comes across your mind is this is an organisation that employs someone who denied the Rwandan genocide and conspired to have someone sacked thru subterfuge. It is in sceptics interests for SMC to retain Fiona Fox's services because everytime the SMC state, "The vast majority of scientists agree that the greatest contributing factor in the current trend of climate change is human activity" people will be able to reply in the doubly positive, "Yeah, right!"

Oct 15, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Mac - I'd prefer it if she went and they got someone into the job who didn't issue the drivel in the first place.

SMC:"Our ultimate goal is to facilitate more scientists to engage with the media, in the hope that the public will have improved access to accurate, evidence-based scientific information about the stories of the day. "

Evidence based? Accurate? Yes please; bring it on. Unlike Devine and Fox's little "jape".

Oct 15, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

At the Science Media Centre we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people we don't like to resign. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.
Onwards and upwards,
Fiona, Jim and the whole team

Oct 15, 2010 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterH

In his day wasn't Jim Devine a member of the Science and Technology committee?

From his face it looks like the brewing sciencies were his main focus

Oct 15, 2010 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnH

Joking aside, in all fairness, Fiona at least seem to be feeling “awful” about it (Jim couldn’t even be bothered to file a ET3) and she participated in the “joke” as a private person so probably shouldn’t have to go but serious misjudgement on her behalf.

Oct 15, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterH

Arrghh, shouldn't be blogging with a hangover………….but sure you get my point.

Oct 15, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterH

what has this got to do with bob ward? i don't think he's ever worked at the science media centre, or for Fiona Fox. are you getting the RI and the Royal Society mixed up?

[Bob W is on the board of the SMC]

Oct 15, 2010 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid

It looks from Ms Kinley's statements that Fiona used her work email account when communicating to Jim Devine about their nasty little jape / fraud. This would make it a disciplinary matter for most creditable organisations. But are the SMC creditable?

"She added: "There was one marked urgent from Fiona Fox, Director at the Science Media Centre in London.

"There was a PS saying, 'I phoned that poor woman in your office and left the message. Hope you've put her out of her misery. Remind me never to work for you'."

Oct 15, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterEdbhoy

Is this Fiona Fox, the tireless defender of the scientific consensus on global warming, or her evil twin, the pillar of the Living Marxism network? Perhaps George Monbiot could explain:

Oct 15, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Edbhoy, hmmmm, unless the email you send contains comments that can be considered discriminatory or abusive etc, which 'I phoned that poor woman in your office and left the message. Hope you've put her out of her misery. Remind me never to work for you'." doesn’t, then I wouldn’t really consider the email in itself a disciplinary matter. However, they may want to have an informal discussion with her about how she represents herself in public, in view of her position with the SMC ;o)

Oct 15, 2010 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterH

This is Muir Russell in February 2010:

"The University of East Anglia (UEA) announced the Independent Review on 3 December 2009.

Sir Muir and the Review team held a press briefing at the Science Media Centre in London on 11 February 2010.
You can download a voice recording of the briefing here (mp3 format -approx 30MB) ."


This is Muir Russell in July 2010:

1. Good morning – good to see you all here again. A lot has happened since
February! I hope you have enjoyed reading the fruits of our labours.
2. Thanks first to Fiona Fox and her team for hosting us this morning."


H/T Jo Abbess.

Oct 15, 2010 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Re H/T Jo Abbess - here is the full blog item:

Good stuff!

Oct 15, 2010 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

You know, I am in California, so I get to see all of this several hours later, and -- well to be honest -- while I am sitting here drinking my first cup of coffee I get the distinct feeling that all of you are making this up and having a bit of fun with me.

Now really , do you expect me to believe all of this?

And I thought California politicians were loony. Yours must spend the day hanging upside down in belfries with the bats.

Oct 15, 2010 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

While working for the Catholic Relief Agency Cafod, Fiona Fox wrote under another name for the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) monthly magazine, Living Marxism.

She phoned an MP’s secretary and pretended to be a Telegraph Journalist.

Ms Fox is a member of the working group that produced the recent Royal Society climate science report. She represents science journalism. Is this justified?

The RCP became spiked-online, which anti-CAGW.

Oct 15, 2010 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Clague


Agreed, however she is using her employer's email to confirm the conspiracy. I would think that that was part of the conspiratorial process and an abuse of her employer's resources.

Oct 15, 2010 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterEdbhoy


Many elements in the Marxist-Socialist movement took on new roles when the dream died. Many turned to environmentalism and took up the new religion. Many became neo-conservatives and now revere greed. Many others bought suits joined the Labour party and jumped on the political gravy train.

That is why the numpties on the left are no different to the loons on the right - they could be the same person but a different decade.

Oct 15, 2010 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Edbhoy, I know it is Friday but let’s not get carried away here:o) “conspiracy”?, hardly. The woman seems more to me to be an utter fool in possession of little or no judgement of what is fun or appropriate, which is of course bad enough, but not the first time we have seen this in recent weeks…….:o)

Oct 15, 2010 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterH

Oct 15, 2010 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJockdownsouth

There's nowt as queer as folk.

Oct 15, 2010 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

My apologies if anyone has posted this before.

Fiona Fox is the director of the Science Media Centre, but guess who sits on the board?

That's right. Bob Ward.


Oct 15, 2010 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Obviously a bad hair day for Jim Divine when that photo was taken.

Oct 15, 2010 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

I recall her from the famous Guardian debate. Quite forceful and loud but spoke a load of twaddle. I am sure she scared the hell out of that poor woman.

Here is a link to her being a holocaust denier - the Rwandan holocaust,3604,181819,00.html

Oct 15, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDominic

NuLabour are solely responsible for the unprecedented rise to the fore of these nasty little shits people.

Well entrenched with their own kind, Fox must would may have been commended for the "goodwill" she undoubtedly enabled through her collusion with Devine.

Oct 15, 2010 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris S

Reminds me of some old sayings: "Birds of a feather flock together."
and "clever as dropping."

Oct 15, 2010 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Ward, Armstrong, Fox, and Pachauri need to hire PR consultants. Perhaps Tony Hayward could help?

Oct 15, 2010 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT


Max Clifford would be challenged. Mentioning old sayings, "You can't make bricks without straw", but come to think about it, the whole CAGW edifice is made of bricks without straw.

Oct 15, 2010 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

@cosmic: Agreed. The torque that needs to be applied will have to be eye popping.

Repetition in all media appears to be an important driver of the CAGW movement. I started a little compendium of examples in the scientific 'literature' - it was depressingly easy to find examples where parts of the papers are simply cut-and-pasted. This was only an hour or two of research - I'm not sure I'll maintain it, but if anyone is interested it is here:

Oct 15, 2010 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Lucia has a thread on Jim Devine, she asks: Who would sleep with this guy?

Oct 15, 2010 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterharold

So does the Guardian, picking up on the Fox slant, together with some obligatory Graun quick draw apologist commenters.

Oct 15, 2010 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Turning into a nice little slow burner, no smoke without the Sun.

Oct 15, 2010 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand


I used the term "conspiracy" with a small c. They conspired to deceive this woman. I think that this is obvious from the testimony. I did not intend to suggest more than this.

Oct 16, 2010 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterEdbhoy

FFFS (for fi foxes sake), what has this got to do with the price of cheese?
We've all got the message that you can smell 'em before you can see them.
Apart from the MSM and the Beeb, that is.
I have no issue with their cock-eyed fantasies. It's the Svengali hold on the headlight-entrapped adoration from our dear leaders that bodes badly for the sacrifices of yesterdays heroes!
Our political elite has, without any redemption, made the mad poet McG the voice of reason while elevating the spirit of Jo C, of I have a little piece of paper fame, into the reincarnation of AtH!
Guys, we elect/select you to take us forward. Did you misunderstand what we meant by forward?

Oct 16, 2010 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

PS. In the limelight of the shadow of the BBCsBE recent illumination of the basement dweller. Cheers, big ears? I'd like to point a wavering finger in the direction of the establishment smugnascenti and ask this.
When did you first use the phrase that ended. ... it's what you do with it?
At what point did you decide to abandon it ? Was that about the time you sold your soul to the consensus?

Oct 16, 2010 at 1:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

With the exception of the usual round-up suspects like BP and Exxon and some pharmaceuticals, many of the financial contributors to the Science Media Centre are associations or even charities.

One wonders if donators to the charities and members of the associations are even aware that part of their contributions are used in this way.

I'd be asking questions if I was funding without my knowledge or permission. I'd like to see an audit of the books.

Oct 16, 2010 at 1:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeof Sherington

Aren't appearances deceptive? You'd never suspect such a cultured and intelligent-looking fellow as Jim Devine to be the perpetrator of such sordid behaviour.

If his photograph showed a bloated, porcine thug with a reptilian brain, it would be easier to understand....

Oct 16, 2010 at 2:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

If his photograph showed a bloated, porcine thug with a reptilian brain, it would be easier to understand....


Oct 16, 2010 at 3:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterPanP

"he seemed to think it would be hilarious"

That would be the 10:10 definition of hilarity, then, or possibly what substitutes in people who simply don't have a real SOH.

Oct 16, 2010 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

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