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Message from the Guardian

This article was amended on 20th August 2010 following a complaint from Andrew Montford to make it clear that we did not mean to imply that Andrew Montford deliberately published false information in order to support the arguments made in his book. We apologise if such a false impression was given. 

See it here.

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Reader Comments (22)

Strange but the whole article seemed to be based around this false implication.

"Sorry I did not mean to shoot him, the gun just when off when it was pointing at his head and I gently touched the trigger."

Maybe next time the brain will engage before lazy PR pieces from "friends" of the paper...

Well done.

Aug 25, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

" We apologise if such a false impression was given. "

Is there something wrong here? I didn't find this impression false. It looked, to me, like that impression was exactly what was intended.

Aug 25, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

As it does not appear that the Graun is going to allow the Bish right-of-reply on CiF, a la Richard North, can he now expect a friendly visit from Dorlomin, OxfordKevin, ARebours, JBowers, thesnufkin,scram,Cannaman et al ? Better get the kettle on !

Aug 25, 2010 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad


We are not finished yet.

Aug 25, 2010 at 4:19 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I notice the apology is written by "We". "We" did not write the article, "He" (Bob Ward) did. "We" just endorsed what "He" wrote by publishing it. "We" did not interpret what "He" said to imply that you purposely published false information, even though "We" suspect that you did purposely publish false information. "We" have now covered our green arse with used toilet paper.

Aug 25, 2010 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrCrinum

Opps. forgive my bungled syntax. the false impression was intended but it is false nonetheless.

Aug 25, 2010 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

As you so eloquently made clear in your response to Bob Ward's attempted smear, the implication that you were dishonest was all he had.

This is a typical MSM 'retraction', withdrawing one part of the piece while failing to note that without that part the rest of the diatribe falls apart.

Aug 25, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterNF

It says, effectively:

"We mistakenly gave the impression that we think he is a liar. Apologies for that. We intended to convey the impression that we think he is an idiot."

Aug 25, 2010 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered Commentermrsean2k

It matters not.

The warmists have an infinite number of smears at hand.

Aug 25, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I'm irritated at the Guardian article because they inject the title "self-proclaimed" before climate sceptics, as a way of trying to smear sceptics with a sense of invalidity (because they weren't annointed as official climate sceptics by some approving authority and must be pirating the title). My position is that I've done a good amount of due diligence into the veracity of anthropogenic global warming and feel quite confident that the science is not settled (to be polite). More pointedly, the case for AGW has not been found to be fully persuasive.

The Guardian does itself a disservice by editorializing in that way, because now the reader knows they're biased rather than being professional journalists, so why bother reading them?

Aug 25, 2010 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn a

The apology the Guardian has conceded so far implies that they agree that the original review implied that Your Grace deliberately published false information.

Am i wrong - or does anyone think that sounds actionable ? With both Ward and the Guardian potentially liable for damages for impugning reputation ?

I assume any claim would need to show intent - but the review reeks with intent. And as to damage - the review seeks to damage sales of HSI, as well as reputation.

Anyone asessing the matter might well pay close attention to the comments (now closed) on the review. Time and time again people point out that the review was a deliberate hatchet job.

Obviously any contemplation of legal action can cut both ways in terms of risk. But the Guardian's apology already shows that any claim would not be without merit. And how about - as a wild card - asking for a decent spread in the Guardian by way of recompense - while still holding fire on Bob Ward. And as Bob Ward's job is PR - is his employer drawn into potential liability ?


(In situations like this it is difficult to decide what to do. But FWIW I once had a dispute with Sky News over copyright, and Rupert Murdoch himself was involved personally in publishing material of mine without permission. I spent months trying to negotiate reasonable compensation but they gave me the elbow, would not even reply. I could not afford lawyers to take on these fat cats - but I could afford to buy a couple of books on contract law, and then I could afford to spend time writing my own writ and then uttering it through the High Court - one writ to each of them. Within 3 days I was called by Murdoch's eminent solicitor (at Mishcon de Reya) and the matter was settled in cash to my satisfaction at the first meeting. As Tom Denning said in quoting the jurist Thomas Fuller "Be you ever so high in the land - the law is above you." I pursued my case on the old-fashioned notion that before the law we are all equal. So - if you cannot afford too much in legal fees - there is nothing to stop you acting for yourself. I had simply stated my case and the events surrounding it, and refered to settled law on copyright and a few noted cases to make it clear I was serious in my claim. And anyone who can comprehend all the material necessary to write HSI is perfectly capable of mugging up the relevant law, all it needs is a specialist legal textbook. Plus a quick look at how the law on defamation has recently been clarified :

And even if you are using solicitors - it does no harm to try to research the relevant law. People are going to be gunning for you, Your Grace, not just on HSI but also on your forthcoming "review of the reviews". Fair comment is fine - but you should not be open to deliberate defamation without consequence.

Best wishes however you proceed)

Aug 25, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohninLondon

The "apology" is certainly somewhat lacking - and it is most unfortunate that comments are now closed. However, the good news is that there is now a link (right at the top of the page - which I don't recall seeing earlier) to our noble host's original response. Somewhat late in the game - since comments are closed - but better late than never.

Aug 25, 2010 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Seems a little unfair if the apology was added today and the comments remain closed.

Aug 25, 2010 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

Meh, The Grauniad. What'd ya expect, professionalism?

Aug 25, 2010 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

DrCrinum is right to note the distinction between “we” who apologise and “he” who is being apologised for. But within the “we” there is a further distinction to be made: between “we” the environmental editors, (who use the environment pages, not only to report on the warmist protest movement at length, but also to advise them how better to protest; and who invite their warmist friends like Bob Ward to attack their enemies, or like Gavin Schmidt, to review their own books) and “we” the editors of the “real” paper.
It’s all very well for environment editor Randersen to announce that global warming is “editorial policy”. Staying in touch with reality, staying on the right side of the libel laws, and not insulting their readers’ intelligence is also editorial policy. One day the different policy priorities will have to be thrashed out in public. It should be fun to watch.

Aug 26, 2010 at 5:54 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Even the title has changed. It was a statement, now it is a question.

Aug 26, 2010 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

It looks as though Dr North's recent cage-rattling has had an effect. The Bishop's appearance on Newsnight must have been a shock, too!

Aug 26, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"the matter was settled in cash to my satisfaction at the first meeting"

Probably still less than Mishcon de Reya's bill, though.. :-(

Aug 26, 2010 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

James P

Yes, I was probably very naive. Murdoch's lawyer later acted for Princess Diana and screwed some £20 million out of the Palace on her divorce. A touch more than I received.

But I simply wanted the business finished, with what I regarded as fair compensation. I was not thinking in terms of "What is this costing Murdoch and Sky for this very charming senior solicitor plus a QC somewhere, with their charge-meters running".

I would not be surprised if the Guardian has already racked up quite a large external legal fee on the "Ward/Montford" issue, quite apart from the costs of its in-house lawyers.

I am pleased His Grace appears to be still standing firm. More power to his elbow.


Aug 26, 2010 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohninLondon


“I simply wanted the business finished”

I can well imagine! Still, I hope you were compensated for the time and effort expended in bringing them round.

Groucho Marx had a nice tale about an advertising man who visited him before a performance to persuade him to endorse a brand of cigars. Groucho (who was always short of money) readily agreed, but was cool enough to refuse several increasing offers. He finally caved in at $20,000 and the man pulled a cheque for that amount from his pocket, already made out. As he left the room, he took out one more for $50,000 and tore it up, rather spoiling Groucho’s evening. As he said, “I wasn’t very funny that night”.

Aug 26, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

“we did not mean to imply that Andrew Montford deliberately published false information..”

Is that so? In which case there must be a lot of porcine aerial activity around the Grauniad’s offices.

Aug 26, 2010 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

It's worth rereading Richard North's recent post:

"Using the biggest crooks in the libel business, known to Private Eye readers as Carter Fuck, Pachauri has done a 'no-win, no-fee' deal which, with a special insurance scheme introduced under the last administration, enables these sharks to go to law and stack up colossal fees. Recently, they represented a minor celebrity in a libel case, gaining £15,000 in damages – for which they then charged £350,000 costs."

There might be a model here for Your Grace versus The Guardian. A vestments budget of £15,000 ought to be sufficient for a new mozetta, a small pectoral cross, and a rather groovy liturgical comb.

Aug 26, 2010 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJane Coles

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