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« Matt on 'bat | Main | Ignorance in academe »
Sunday
Jan232011

GLOBEspeak

Ellee Seymour has had a chat with Lord Deben, the politician formerly known as John Gummer, and who, if you go a little further back, was called John Selwyn Gummer.

Lord Deben is now the head of GLOBE International, the green legislators organisation. Given the number of GLOBE's members who have come to the attention of the constabulary, it's a wonder that anyone would want the role.

The report is, well, pretty toe-curling.

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Reader Comments (32)


he does not believe it [population increase] can be prescripted like China which he feels is disastrous as families are meant to have more than one child, and only children tend to be selfish

I know he fed his daughter that burger during the BSE crisis, but I think perhaps he might have taken a bite or two himself.

Jan 23, 2011 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

He always was barking!!!!

Jan 23, 2011 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

“He genuinely wants to leave the world a better place.”

Cause or correlation?

Rest assured Ellie, either way, it will be.

Jan 23, 2011 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

The guy is totally illogocal.

Jan 23, 2011 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

With an intellect as sharp as that....... well, words fail me.

Jan 23, 2011 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterFZM

"it is pretty obvious that if you put a whole lot of alien gasses into the atmosphere it is likely to have some effect."

Klingon dioxide perhaps.

Jan 23, 2011 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterTufty

I posted this fairly recently, but for the benefit of those who may have missed it (apologies to everyone else - skip!):


I’d forgotten how repellent Gummer actually is. Here are a few snippets from his wiki:

On 30 December 2009, Gummer announced his intention to stand down at the 2010 general election in order to participate in a new pan-European campaign in support of action in response to climate change

As Environment Secretary he introduced the UK's first Environmental Tax, the landfill tax. BBC Wildlife magazine described him as the "Environment Secretary against which all others are judged", putting him in the top ten environmental heroes [BBC Wildlife Magazine 2007]. In 1997, he was awarded a Medal of Honour by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England from 1978 until he left the church and was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1992, following the decision of the General Synod allowing the ordination of women to the priesthood.

He introduced an Early Day Motion on Climate Change[5] to Parliament along with Michael Meacher and Norman Baker.

He is also a strong opponent of abortion.

Soon after the election of the new leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, in 2005, Gummer was asked to chair a new Quality of Life Policy Group[8] with Zac Goldsmith as his deputy. He was chosen for his experience as Secretary of State for the Environment and known interest in environmental issues.

He is noted for delaying a ban on beef in 1989,[9] and for the way he attempted to feed a hamburger to his four-year-old daughter Cordelia at the height of the BSE panic in 1990, though his daughter did not eat it as it was too "hot" and she was full, so it was actually bitten into by a civil servant.[10]

In 1993, he was called a "drittsekk" (translated as "shitbag")[11][12] by the Norwegian Minister of Environmental Affairs, Thorbjørn Berntsen, who commented "John Gummer is the biggest shitbag I have ever met."[12] after Gummer had refused to discuss an acid rain problem on Norwegian soil.[12][13]

In 2009, Gummer achieved notoriety because of his parliamentary expense claims, in which he charged the public purse for, among other things, mole-catching, jackdaw nest removal and "gardening" on his country estate at Debenham in Suffolk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gummer,_Baron_Deben

Jan 23, 2011 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

More repetition I’m afraid, but again hopefully of interest to some. Gummer’s assurance is as breathtaking as the extent to which he has burrowed in to the money:

[From the Orlowski piece in El Reg http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/17/shale_ignorance/]

This is priceless.

Back to the Lords - where the debates's fruitiest remarks came from Lord Deben, the peer formerly known as John Selwyn Gummer.

Deben began by acknowledging that he had fingers in several pies. His chairmanships include greenwashing outfit Sancroft; Veolia, which is big in recycling; offshore wind company Forewind; and Corlan Hafren, the Severn barrage company. There are more directorships.

Perhaps having so many bets on the table explained his position, which is an unusual one.

"The argument is over. There is no point in arguing," he insisted. "If you do not believe in climate change, you must just accept the population argument and the changes that will be needed to reserve and conserve the resources that we have," he said.

So heads he wins, tails you lose. He accepted that the consumer would pay the price, but said they'd be grateful in the long run.

"It would be foolish to tell people that because they do not like the rise in the cost of electricity we should not allow it happen. They will be much angrier if we allow the world to be endangered because we have not taken these steps."

The Ex-Gummer is President of GLOBE International, the international club that flies eco-aware politicians around the world.

[Originally from BBD comments on ‘Shale bonanza’ (Jan 20) http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/1/20/shale-bonanza.html]

Jan 23, 2011 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I am from Norway. Thanks for this very nice blog, btw.

BBD: I can confirm the 1993 "shitbag" story. When I saw the name Gummer, I thought immediately: "wasn't that the guy our minister Berntsen called 'drittsekk' a long time ago"?

It used to big in the news back then. Berntsen was also 'colourful'.

Jan 23, 2011 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarsten Arnholm

Guys like Gummer seem to do well in business by ignoring ethics completely. "I just know" is hardly compelling logic and knowledge!

Jan 23, 2011 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Carsten Arnholm

I remember it myself. I seem to recall laughing quite a bit.

'Colourful' he may have been, but Bernsten certainly knew a drittsekk when he saw one.

Jan 23, 2011 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Sorry. 'Berntsen'.

Jan 23, 2011 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

...“Isn’t it much more difficult to believe that it doesn’t have some effect? if you suddenly put – suddenly in terms of the history of the world – suddenly put huge quantities of gas into the atmosphere as you burn all over the world, would you not think that sensible people would say this might have an effect"...

Since when has personal incredulity been a valid scientific argument?

Jan 23, 2011 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

Scottie asks:

Since when has personal incredulity been a valid scientific argument?

Indeed.

And Gummer (he will always be Gummer to me) fails to complete his chain of reasoning. He says:

would you not think that sensible people would say this might have an effect

The argument is not so much the likelihood of 'an effect' but the exact nature and extent of the effect.

We're back to the real value for climate sensitivity to CO2. And that nobody knows.

Jan 23, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Just so everyone has it, here is a link to the report of his lordship (then agriculture minister in John Major's conservative government) tucking into a burger, with his daughter, at the height of the BSE food scare ...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/369625.stm

Jan 23, 2011 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterTimC

At least he's shown sense in the past, ignoring an over-blown scare story!

Jan 23, 2011 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

I suspect he now realises that if he'd played that one better he could have made some money. This time he's not going to miss the boat.

Jan 23, 2011 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

What does this mean exactly?

You are very lucky. I suppose if I am lucky I have got another 20 or 30 years, but many people here have got another 70 years, but you have that in the most exciting moment that we have seen since Dante, and that must be worthwhile, and it should give us great confidence and great enthusiasm and a huge sense of responsibility.

I know this chap is head of GLOBE International and it sounds like SMERSH but, as we all surely accept, it cannot all be conspiracy and personal greed. Some of it is genuine belief - false belief as I would call it, as there isn't anything objective supporting it, in the science, which is a route to objective truth (albeit always incomplete - critical realism being the most sensible approach to such matters in my book).


But behind the false belief there is deep desire for significance. I think that's what Gummer is on about here. Our politicos deeply need this and it can lead them badly astray. But such a thing doesn't make me want to mock the guy either. I follow Victor Frankl in thinking "Man's Search for Meaning" is always key. I think we do well to think more about this as we deal with CAGW as a cultural phenomenon.

But anyone else have an interpretation for this bit?

Jan 23, 2011 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

He claimed that stopping the use of CFC's has reduced the size of the hole in the Ozone layer. I left a comment with a link to WUWT saying otherwise.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/08/new-rate-of-stratospheric-photolysis-questions-ozone-hole/#more-31209

Jan 23, 2011 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

Richard Drake

I am puzzled too. It all hinges on what Gummer thinks ‘since Dante’ actually means.

I assume he is referencing hell (a negative consequence of ‘wrong’ behaviour) and the ‘great enthusiasm and a huge sense of responsibility’ is the moral imperative we are supposed to feel to avert bad stuff.

Spot on about narcissism, but also commendably fair:

But behind the false belief there is deep desire for significance. I think that's what Gummer is on about here. Our politicos deeply need this and it can lead them badly astray. But such a thing doesn't make me want to mock the guy either. I follow Victor Frankl in thinking "Man's Search for Meaning" is always key. I think we do well to think more about this as we deal with CAGW as a cultural phenomenon.

Jan 23, 2011 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Gummer visits the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham to pray to a wooden dressed up doll, and parades through the streets behind this painted image - I've seen him do it. As for the superstition of praying to this lifeless idol: “Isn’t it much more difficult to believe that it doesn’t have some effect?"

Jan 23, 2011 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Dante's *inferno* (AGW - geddit?)
His lordship is catholic, with fire and brimstone a speciality. And he read history and tory party politics at Cambridge, so he *really* knows what he is talking about, lol.

Jan 23, 2011 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterTimC

John Seldom Glummer as he was called by the long suffering inmates of the Environment Agency.

Jan 23, 2011 at 11:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

Would he be Napoleon Snowball Squealer or Old Major?

Jan 24, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Richard Drake: ... it cannot all be conspiracy and personal greed.

Conversely, the agreement between what is believed and what is personally advantageous - including but not limited to financial gain - is something to behold, is it not.

It is a common enough strategy, especially among members the political class, to systematically convince one's self of the moral case in support of what is personally expedient, beneficial or profitable; the better that one's machinations might acquire at least a veneer of sincerity.

As ever, "let that maxim of Cassius apply".

Jan 24, 2011 at 5:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

[Snip - It's OK for Ellee to give her telephone number out on her own blog. I'm not entirely comfortable with it being posted here.]

Jan 24, 2011 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Bish,

The point that she prominently advertises her "creative, professional services" on that blog was, I thought, worth mentioning for those who may have missed it while enduring the "toe-curling" piece.

While I may be dismissed by others for being in the pay of Big Oil, so can Elle for being in the pay of Big Globe. Elle states "So I was only too happy to accept an invitation to hear him speak" - I assume that invitation came via the telephone number displayed.

If Elle was working 'pro bono', she really needs to make that point clear.

Jan 24, 2011 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

She is a dreadful writer. If she can't write clearly she probably can't think clearly, and so she probably can't be trusted to correctly comprehend and represent his views. I'm not saying he's right or wrong, I'm just saying this article doesn't contribute anything one way or the other. The only story here is that she's a bad writer, and who cares?

Jan 24, 2011 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Old Gummy bear hasn't got have much of a handle on this does he? He refers to putting "huge quantities " of co2 into the atmosphere compared to the history of the world! hasn't anyone told him that co2, in terms of the history of the world is actually quite low at the moment? As for co2 being alien... No comment needed.

Jan 24, 2011 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered Commentersunderland steve

Don't forget that his distinguished predecessor as President of Globe International was the highly regarded Right Honourable Stephen Byers.

Jan 24, 2011 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

ScientistForTruth:

As for the superstition of praying to this lifeless idol: “Isn’t it much more difficult to believe that it doesn’t have some effect?"

Ouch.


dread0:

"... it cannot all be conspiracy and personal greed."

Conversely, the agreement between what is believed and what is personally advantageous - including but not limited to financial gain - is something to behold, is it not.


Double ouch.


Tip to reader: combine viewpoints for maximum insight.

Sorry that some strange technical problems prevented me from expressing my appreciation of these (and other) comebacks earlier in the day. These two particularly resonate. I accept there has to be much wishful thinking and profit-hoping buried deep in the psyche of a 'Glummer' - with profit to be taken in the widest sense, as dread0 implies. But the search for meaning looms large for me. Pity JG's Catholicism doesn't seem to provide enough of it - and thus an injection of AGW is also required. Yes, more's the pity.

Jan 24, 2011 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

As noted by others above, in 1993, he [Deben] was called a "drittsekk" (translated as "shitbag") by the Norwegian Minister of Environmental Affairs, Thorbjørn Berntsen, who commented "John Gummer is the biggest shitbag I have ever met."

The above was removed from the Wikipedia entry on Deben/Gummer sometime during 2012. The waybackmachine contains archived copies.

Mar 12, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

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