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Thought for the day

Does anyone else find it a bit odd that almost all of my big media appearances have been in what would generally be considered left-wing outlets?

  • Prospect
  • BBC
  • The Courier  (I think - can't imagine a right wing paper would sell much in Dundee)

There have been citations in right wing outlets - Spectator, Telegraph, and so on - but the interviews and reviews have all come from the left.  Isn't that strange?

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Reader Comments (18)

I've always felt that the answer to CAGW will come from a combination of the best of left and right - social conscience plus limited government, as I would frame it. The arguments from the welfare of the poor are to me absolutely conclusive. First do no harm. Once that is settled, do all the science you can (to misquote John Wesley - a favourite person who's also hard to fit on a left-right spectrum, as any follower of Thatcher or Hattersley will tell you).

Go for it. Show respect to all. Support will come from the most surprising places.

Apr 15, 2010 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Either- the left now sees AGW as establishment science, or they hope to claim an easy scalp.
Perhaps the right is afraid of being portrayed as in denial.

Apr 15, 2010 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat

Being politically "left of the right" (I was an active Young Liberal in my youth), it doesn't strike me as a negative thing. I'm still "green" at heart, but I'm not militant. Militancy - extreme right-wing or extreme left - is diametrically in opposition to Liberal thinking.

I hold the truth and integrity of science above politics or religion. Considering the "birth" into popular politics of the green movement happened within the ranks of the Liberal Democrats, it happened there because the understanding was that, whether politically popular or unpopular, environmental considerations were of significant importance. I still believe they are, but it is specifically the Liberal in me that demands that the justifications for policy are "pure as the driven snow". This is a Liberal concept - truth above even politics - that you won't find in the other parties, where political advancement has been the sole driving force for a century in the UK (and damn the actual facts).

I genuinely believe that, if the politicised false/flakey-science AGW movement will be halted, it will be halted where it was born, in the Liberal camp. Killed by its own mother, as any decent parent of a kid with 666 on its head would do for the sake of civilisation and the common good. The solution isn't right-wing politics over left-wing politics, it's science over any politics.

It needs to be the extraction of demon politics from the infant climate science. And now I've run out of anthropomorphisms, so I'll shut up. :o)

Apr 15, 2010 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

The 'left' are trying to kill it, engage, rollover, squash.

the 'right' are just following the herd. or have been greenwashed - think david cameron, zac goldsmith, boris johnson, etc. even the Daily Telegraph

the issue itself, is of course 'apolitical'

After the general election, david camerons father in law raking it in with windfarms, etc -
expect open season.

massive job losses, due to energy intensive business (ie chemical, etc) relocating out of the UK and EU, because of HAVING to but carbon credits now..

The story will become very Real, to real people (ie ordinary members of the public)

Apr 15, 2010 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterbarry woods

Beware of attempts to set you up as the straw man.

The BBC is still framing the debate as:

Climate Change is Consensus and let's find some quirky old white man sceptic to make a fool of.

Apr 15, 2010 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterO'Geary

I submitted an FoI request to the BBC asking for information that, it transpires, I couldn't have - information pertaining to instructions from editors and eds-in-chief to journalists and presenters on stances and/or positions to take with regard to global warming. I didn't get any letters or emails as requested, but I did get a summary of the BBC's position. They say the BBC is following the IPCC AR4 conclusions (apparently ignoring the caveats and varied postulations on probabilities) asserting that global warming is real and is man-made. That, therefore, is the BBC's journalistic position. Seems they abandoned investigative journalism long ago.

Apr 15, 2010 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

Here's a theory: the lamestream media have finally realised that maybe the story is more complex and has 2 sides. Right wing outlets can cover the skeptical view from withing their own ranks: Delingpole, etc. The left wingers can't find anyone from inside the tent to cover the skeptical angle.

Step forward one Bishop.

Apr 15, 2010 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Pretty sure Courier is right wing. Granted its odd for a Dundee paper but there you are. Certainly, they're not keen on unions.

Apr 15, 2010 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeedster

Lefty mouthpieces have no dissenters,groupthink reigns supreme they simply have no-one to talk to.You must seem a rare and mythical creature to them.
On the other hand media of the right has plenty of `in house` radicals to choose from.
Then again maybe it`s time you offered fancier biscuits,

[BH adds: Times are hard, 'ob nob. No choccy diggies in my house!]

Apr 15, 2010 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered Commenter`ob nob

I suppose that bishops ought to be other-worldly but, Your Grace, there are limits . . .

The Courier is owned by the D C Thomson group. Wiki is correct when it notes that:

"Thomson was notable for his conservatism, vigorously opposing the introduction of trade unions into his workforce, and for refusing to employ Catholics."

Hmmmm. The Courier has mellowed over the years and is now a delightfully old-fashioned provincial newspaper with the virtues and vices of the breed (though with rather higher journalistic standards than most) but to describe it as "left" is, well, innovative. It is also a description for which the current owners are unlikely to thank you

The case of the BBC is less straightforward. The political right lambasts it for its left bias, the left for its right bias, a sure sign it is either doing something right or (the explanation I favour) almost nothing right.

The 2004 Hutton Inquiry into the David Kelly suicide is key to understanding its current politics. The inquiry was turned by government from a purported investigation into cynical efforts to provide "casus belli" for the Iraq war into a campaign to weaken the independence of the BBC. In this, it was largely successful, due partly to Herculean (manic) efforts by Tony Blair sidekick Alistair Campbell but mainly to the BBC’s pitifully supine Board of Governors.

There is a good account in "Inside Story", the autobiography of its Director-General at the time, Greg Dyke. (His analysis of the inquiry is commendably balanced - the rest of the book can safely be skipped.)

The episode is IMHO a precedent for the current spate of inquiries into "Climategate" but that's perhaps another story for another time. My main points are that The Courier can in no way be described as a voice of the political left and that it is, at best, an over-simplification to say the same of the BBC.

The latter is an organisation in something of a crisis and beholden to the government of the day to a degree unprecedented in its history but Climategate seems to have emboldened some at least of its journalists to try to restore its tradition of balanced reporting.

"Prospect" I know nothing about.

Whatever, congratulations on your debate with Bob Ward. The attempt to portray you as a "vested interest" on the basis of royalties from HSI (!) was pitiful and reeked of briefing by PR Consultants.

Unless, of course, Dr Ward thought of the line all by himself.

[BH adds: Dave - I was guessing on the Courier, which I don't read myself, so I will bow to your superior knowledge there. On the BBC I accept some of your analysis - the bending to the will of the government in power at the time, but its personnel are overwhelmingly left-liberal so I think my description was a fair one.]

Apr 15, 2010 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave B

Does the Courier still have classifieds only on the front page, like the Times used to?

Apr 16, 2010 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMingmong

Come to think of it, is it still a broadsheet?

[The size is that one halfway between tabloid and broadsheet. Unfortunately it's news on the front page these days].

Apr 16, 2010 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMingmong

Might just be a good cop/bad cop scenario. They look good by giving you a forum while n factorial pinball wizards spend the next five news cycles ripping your story to tatters, ultimately assuring the faithful readership that you are a nut case and they each are further validated with pinwiz wit, rejoinder, and repartee.

Apr 16, 2010 at 7:09 AM | Unregistered Commenterdp

I believe Jack Hughes had it in a nutshell. Given the overwhelming press on AGW most people have assumed that it's all cut and dried, and the "science is done", the climategate scandal has woken them up to the existence of doubt about the "science". They can't yet find scientists brave enough to speak out so they look for other pundits. The Bishop is reasoned and articulate in his approach so is an ideal candidate to talk about the issues.

The BBC claims that it is going with the findings of the IPCC AR4 in it's editorial approach, but it's a news organisation, it should be doing more than reporting the news and indeed does when the targets are soft, do investigative journalism. It has moved from being a national treasure to a national disgrace during the last 13 years.

Apr 16, 2010 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"Left-wing Media" is a tautology.

Apr 16, 2010 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

Ditto for me, if a sample of one is statistically significant, Prospect again.

I also think that the Spectator, Telegraph, even Times and Sunday Times, have their 'sceptics' already in-house, as in Plimer, Delingpole, Ridley, Leake, whereas the lefties just don't have them on tap, and are forced to go outside for a renegade Bishop.

I see Jack Hughes has made this point above, sorry for dup.

Apr 16, 2010 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoddy Campbell

Of course they are - they fully support you. Behind you all the way - after all, it's necessary to get behind someone before you can stab them in the back!

Apr 18, 2010 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Fisher

Barry Woods

The 'left' are trying to kill it, engage, rollover, squash.

the 'right' are just following the herd. or have been greenwashed - think david cameron, zac goldsmith, boris johnson, etc. even the Daily Telegraph

the issue itself, is of course 'apolitical'

After the general election, david camerons father in law raking it in with windfarms, etc -
expect open season.

I'm not sure that Green politics are inescapably of the left.

First of all many of the luminaries of the movement originated from traditional Conservative ranks. Zac Goldsmith's uncle (?) was editor of the Ecologist magazine, was founder of People, then the Ecology Party and then was important within the Green Party. The Goldsmiths background is common to many. Think of George Monbiot, Jonathan Porritt or Caroline Lucas, or even Prince Charles. They are all Tories in the traditional sense of that term or Patricians sharing the attitude that they are destined to lead the ignorant plebs. They alone appreciate the important things in life. They alone can have wealth yet behave responsibly.

So I don't think Boris, Cameron et al are following the herd. They believe in this crap.

Apr 19, 2010 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTDK

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