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« Thought for the Day | Main | More Flannel - Josh 88 »

Intolerant correspondence

There has been some correspondence in Nature, picking up on Sir John Beddington's earlier comments about being intolerant of people who dare to question scientists. Two letters were published together with Beddinton's response. Here's an excerpt from one of the letters, from Brian Wynne...

And here is Beddington's response.


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Reader Comments (63)

Here's a non-scientist's view, Mr. Beddington:

You get paid to perform a function. You do research and provide information to decision-makers.

That'd be me. I get to make my OWN decisions. And sometimes, I decide to do something you don't approve of, for reasons I feel no particular urge to explain to you. Yes, I know that's inconvenient, but I don't care.

And if I hear the phrase "you MUST" come out of your mouth again, I'm quite likely to slap you around.

Mar 25, 2011 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

The more I see it, the more I feel uncomfortable when it's used...


Surely the ‘fundamental evidence’ will set out the case by itself, without the need for going.. "and all these people agree". Feels like a playground argument to me.

However I am not a scientist so this may be more common than I realise.

Mar 25, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss H

"a thin line between healthy sceptism and a cynical approach"
"You played a blinder, Ronald!"

Mar 25, 2011 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Sir John disapproves of "a cynical approach that ignores or distorts inconvenient evidence". So should everybody. But has he not noticed that this applies just as much to the warmists. The inconvenient evidence of the decline in the tree ring proxy temperature record for instance. The inconvenient evidence that Mann's methodology generates hockey sticks from red noise. The inconvenient evidence in the climategate emails that climate scientists have deliberately tried to subvert peer review. He could check with the Bishop for full details if he were really interested in doing more than propping up the consensus himself in a cynical and distorting manner.

Mar 25, 2011 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

there is a consensus amongst the three main political movements that AGW is a major threat but the science does not support their policies. The scientific evidence is based almost entirely on GCMs and i think there is a consensus that these models are riddled with bias's.
That leaves us with agenda based policies persued under the precautionary principle for which there has not been a credible cost benefit analysis.
I don'f know anyone who would reject proper scientific evidence which had been independently replicated but there isn't much of that type of science in climatology.

Mar 25, 2011 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

I note we're still talking in terms of "significant consensus" as some kind of official near certitude, which as Judith Curry pointed out several months ago can be highly misleading.

Where 'above-board' scientists add the weight of their support to other scientists in related fields, in the mistaken belief that those others are acting entirely in good faith.

Mar 25, 2011 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommentermikemUK

Who gets to draw Beddington's "thin line" on this hotly debated subject?

Also, how do you weigh a consensus?

Seems to me more nonsense and bile spouted by Beddington.

Mar 25, 2011 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Beddington's statement could have come straight out of the Inquisition's examination of Galileo. What's next, a return to geocentrism?

Mar 25, 2011 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

Valid scientific conclusions are based on reason and evidence, not consensus.

If Beddington wants to exert political influence he should stand for election. Doing so as a Scientific Advisor is an abuse of his position.

Mar 25, 2011 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterR2


Hear, hear!

Mar 25, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterThomasL

JB makes no apology for demands that are demonstrably not the points at issue with those who wrote in to Nature. What a class act.

Mar 25, 2011 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

I read stuff like that and shake my head. Is there anyway to get through to Dr. Beddington?

Mar 25, 2011 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergenealogymaster

Dr. Beddington's reply amounts to nothing more than a put down, his magisterially arrogant tone is reminiscent of a disdainful headmaster, addressing a pupil he sees to be a laggard and intellectually, way beneath him.

I could not care less about Dr. Beddington's qualifications, he is one of the many in government advisory circles who obviously thinks he's seen it all, read it all, done it all and finally because of his God given role - he gets to write the script.

The 'ex cathedra' style is galling and goading, it is exactly the way this and the previous governments talk down to the electorate; "it is decided!"
And: "we will brook no argument, if you argue, all you do is demonstrate your ignorance of the issues!"

Dr. Beddington is a paid shill, an advocate, he is there to tell the government what it wants to hear. Long ago he sold his soul, spurned his academic training and ability to objectively reason and to continue in the [noble] quest for the scientific truth.
No he chose easy street, thus, he walks in the corridors of power whispering to all and sundry; "the science is settled, so says the consensus".

There can be no argument with this man, he knows it all [perhaps the government should seek to broaden his portfolio to include, foreign affairs and fiscal policy too].

We know too, that 'consensus' is the last redoubt of mountebanks, liars and scoundrels.

Well, Dr. Beddington, since the El Nino of 1998 [even though the peak was manufactured by the manipulation of the temperature data sets - particularly in the last 32 years] even GISS and HadCRUT have to admit that, the world has cooled, it is cooling quite fast now and will continue to do so.

So! if there is any scientific and conclusive proof of man made CO2 emissions are warming the world, now would be a good time to let the world know, would it not?

Silence can be deafening.

Mar 25, 2011 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan


"I am a member of the consensus group in current authority. I have enough political support to silence or sideline prominent critics.I will use that political clout to batter dissenters into submission."

In what way is this different to Colonel Gaddafi? It is different in the method of silencing dissent, in the damage done to individuals by that method. Where it does not differ is in philosophy, and in the damage done to the society that meekly accepts the totalitarian rule. It only differs when considering the effect on the dissenters own person (I am not seeking to claim that Sir John Beddington would torture dissenters or imprison them without charge, despite what some on his side of the argument would like to do), not on the wider effects.

Mar 25, 2011 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Athelstan, your words are better than my thoughts.

Mar 25, 2011 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

How's this for having an agenda and then being able to write propaganda [and be paid for it no doubt], just goes to prove how cosy the club is, Beddington will know them all - all part of the 'great scam claque'......a CONSENSUS!

"I’ve also recently blogged about Bill Hare, the Greenpeace “legend” and IPCC insider. I pointed out that he was a lead author, a core writing team member for the Synthesis Report, and an expert reviewer for both Working Group 1 and Working Group 2 – which adds up to four hats."

It's not wot yer know but who yer know.

Mar 25, 2011 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan

Among honest scientists who have examined the actual evidence and seen the extent of corruption of science, there is no consensus in favor of global warming.

Mar 25, 2011 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

@Athelstan: You said it all. You said all that wanted to say, but which I am so ill-equipped to say. But what I wanted to say, to emphasise part of your theme, is that Dr Beddington really ought to know that science is NOT about the freakin' consensus! It's about having the balls to challenge the consensus!

Well said Athelstan.

Mar 25, 2011 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

What an arrogant man Professor Beddington is.

Mar 25, 2011 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered Commentermitcheltj

In reply to Sir John I would cite Clarke's first law with two minor modifications; "When a distinguished scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; when he states that something is definite, and everyone else should shut up, he is almost certainly wrong."

Mar 25, 2011 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBill Sticker

On the bizarre use of "consensus" -- I think it is important to highlight that the disagreements over climate science are not a typical case where people are looking at the same information and simply coming to differing views. In climate science, the skeptics are arguing that the information being evaluated is faulty. The evidence of fraud, corruption and incompetence is compelling. The supposed 'facts' are wrong.

In a situation where the validity of the information has been called into serious question by responsible people, no one should be making any decisions until they have investigated the charges and determined what to do with the information subject to dispute. [this isn't limited to science.] That so many establishment figures have ignored the clear evidence of fraud, corruption and incompetence tells us all we need to know about their "conclusions". Their conclusions are not based on an honest review.

Mar 25, 2011 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

What a spineless and intellectually bankrupt argument. My reading of Beddington's position is that if you "take a cynical approach that ignores or distorts inconvenient evidence" (e.g. hide declines/inclines, delete/censor data, splice incompatible graphs, fake statistical techniques), and con/bully enough of your peers/fellow travellers into believing you, you then have a 'consensus'. Which is, according to him, becomes unassailable.

With that understanding of the scientific method, he's not fit to run a school laboratory prep room.

For how much longer does my profession have to be debased by these charaltans?

Mar 25, 2011 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSayNoToFearmongers

Oh for a post posting edit function...

Mar 25, 2011 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSayNoToFearmongers

That 'c' word again....!
He just doesn't get it, does he..?

Mar 25, 2011 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

So Beddington demands that “the … weight of consensus … is set out in a proper and fair way”. Strong stuff. Well, Iain Stewart in his Met Office article discussed by Paul Dennis on this blog earlier today is another warmist who’s keen to rely on consensus (he also describes it as “the prevailing scientific view”). And Beddington would be proud of him because, albeit indirectly, he sets it out “in a proper and fair way” by referring to evidence supporting that consensus. But an examination of the paper to which he refers (see comment here) indicates that his consensus amounts to no more than agreement that the planet has warmed since 1800 and that human activity has contributed to an unspecified amount to that – neither surprising nor controversial. And certainly not a call for action.

Could Beddington satisfy his own demand and do any better? I rather doubt it. So it’s doubly absurd that warmists keep banging on about consensus – although it does, I suppose, help them to distract attention from the dearth of real evidence supporting their beliefs.

Mar 25, 2011 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

"Doctor" spelt backwards is Rot Cod.

Mar 25, 2011 at 7:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

If my mother never bought consensus, as in negative response to "All the other guys' mothers are going along with the trip idea." Why should we?

Mar 25, 2011 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

I am watching the second series of James Burke's series "connections" on science. My son is of the age where I think he needs to learn about where some of our discoveries and tecnology comes from so we have watched these series together - hey, its better than yet another textbook on how we are killing polar bears which at the same time doesn't discuss how steam engines work.

In the first episode of the second series he (James B) notes our willigness (as of the early 80s) to defend our point of view with weapons that assume that our enemies will die as they kill us - the old Mutually Assured Destruction theme. He presents this from a cold-war underground US missile base.

The interesting related topic is that he describes what we are (were) defending is being sceptical about everything. His argument, quite superbly put, is that we in the "west" have become dominant because we have refused to accept a consensus on anything - this refusal means we confront and challenge everything - religion and science. And through that we have advanced and learned more that we knew before.

The trouble Galileo had is a case in point.

It would seem that Beddington would have us disregard this key part of our development and move into a landscape where we just accept the prescribed doctrine of the accepted science and disregard anything else.

Which means we lose our development advantage ?

Mar 25, 2011 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Michael Crichton got it right, viz.

"...Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period."

Mar 25, 2011 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougS

Beddington has crossed the Rubicon from advisor to advocate. Thus compromised, he should resign from his post as scientific advisor. Partisan advice serves no-one well.

Mar 25, 2011 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Amusingly, though, Brian Wynne is even more of a green crusader than the likes of Beddington.

Mar 25, 2011 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBlib

Nice post mojo:-


Here's a non-scientist's view, Mr. Beddington:

You get paid to perform a function. You do research and provide information to decision-makers.

That'd be me. I get to make my OWN decisions. And sometimes, I decide to do something you don't approve of, for reasons I feel no particular urge to explain to you. Yes, I know that's inconvenient, but I don't care.

And if I hear the phrase "you MUST" come out of your mouth again, I'm quite likely to slap you around.

Mar 25, 2011 at 3:25 PM | mojo


Standing right beside you.


Mar 25, 2011 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug

Given that Beddington's first two degrees were in Economics, may I assume that he's in that ever-increasing category of scientist who has never performed an experiment?

Mar 25, 2011 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

I fear you are right, dearieme. Given that his field hs been "population biology", ie modelling, and he has no background in any of the physical sciences, it is hard to see how his opinion on climate issues is of any more value than that of the average layman, and considerably less than those who have approached the subject with an open mind rather than a career built on spurious alarmism.
It seems the precautionary principle has been at work ever since BSE; successive appointees to the job have been ever more hysterical, allowing governments to wallow in a series of preposterous alarms in the belief that they have every angle covered.

Mar 25, 2011 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Mr Beddington must have skipped the classes on the history of science or he would know that 'scientific consensus' is meaningless at best and has proved lethal.

Does he not know the story of cholera and John Snow? In the 19th Century cholera was routinely killing hundreds of thousands of people. In 1832, it left over 60,000 Britons dead. Further outbreaks occurred in 1848. '54 and '67.

What was the cause? Between 1845 and 1856 over 700 books were published on cholera, and the scientific consensus was that it arose from impure air - 'miasma theory'. This was indulged by The Lancet, endorsed by the likes of Liverpool's Chief Medical Officer and championed by Edwin Chadwick, adviser to parliament and member of many Royal Commissions.

On the sceptical side sat the lonely figure of John Snow, a man of modest background trained in medicine. He dared to observe how cholera outbreaks behaved in the real world and he (correctly) deduced that it was related to water contaminated with faeces. He helped solve a deadly outbreak in Islington by removing the handle to the water pump. Problem was, the scientific establishment shot him down. He appeared before a select committee and his theories were rubbished. The Lancet vilified him as in the pay of business interests, wanting continued freedom to pollute the air. No credence was given to Snow's theories and he died, hardly noticed, in 1858.

By accident, Bazalgette's brilliant sanitary engineering reduced the incidence of cholera as the 19th Century wore on. But the scientific consensus on miasma theory had already consigned thousands to die. It took until 1883 for Robert Koch to identify the bacillus Vibrio cholerae as the cause of cholera, found in contaminated water. Edwin Chadwick went to his death in 1890 still believing in miasma theory.

It would seem that windmill-tilting in relation to evil, invisible gasses is nothing new. And nor is using the scientific establishment's consensus to discredit those with alternative hypotheses.

Mar 25, 2011 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Beddington is a paid-for hack. The government likes his advice to cover up green-tax-stealth, so they heap honours on him to make his cover-up more authoritative. He is a worthless paid-for shill. Whatever he once was in his scientific career, he is a vain old greedy man who has taken the King's shilling, and believes we are all to stupid to notice his dishonesty. "Sir John Beddington" my arse.

Mar 26, 2011 at 12:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterLondonCalling

Beddington is simply a politician and long ago gave up scientific work. His arrogance is simply astounding.
I just wish he would make his bloody mind up!

One minute its, "The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change" and the next its "Intolerance"!

Anyway, I hope he enjoyed his trip to Tokyo

Mar 26, 2011 at 4:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retirede bureac rat in a field only remotely related to science, with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

1. Any Chief Government Scientist is first and foremost a bureacrat paid to do what his masters want. (The appointment must surely be political.) The Scientist bit of the job title is spin but may perhaps reveal some previous connection with true science.

2. I found it interesting that Sir J refers to skepticism and concensus. In an interview (Sir Paul Nurse on Skeptics again, Mar 9 2011, this blog) Sir P, waffling about science, said that science (i) respected data, (ii) subjected data to skeptical review, and (iii) strengthened confidence in a theory by consensus. (My paraphrase.) Is this formulation commonplace among scientists or just current fashion? Did Sir J see the same interview?

Recently, when explaining my preoccupation with this blog to working scientist, I trotted out Sir P's dictum, and was taken to task over the consensus bit.

It seems that, when it comes to the scientific method, the President of the Royal Society and the Chief Government Scientist hold views that may diverge from the consensus!

Mar 26, 2011 at 4:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

According to Wikipedia:-

......... Beddington was accused of "misinforming" the British Government over the Fukushima I nuclear accidents. He initially underestimated the seriousness of the incident by "unequivocally" saying there was no danger from radiation, but 24 hours later said he was "extremely worried". This resulted in in "significant delay" in evacuating British citizens from Japan, according to a British minister.

Mar 26, 2011 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

Well, as an example for a put-down by agreement, sting in the tail - you couldn't fault Beddington's letter. That's how the establishment does it.

His letter also shows to a nicety what 'consensus' means, for him and his like: it is the establishment's consensus, to which The Team belongs.
Everybody else, be they scientists, single politicians or us unwashed peasant, might be 'heard' with decreasing politeness and patience, but that is all. The arguments, heard, will be swept away contemptuously, as we've seen through the last few years.

What to do: KBO!

Mar 26, 2011 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

Bennington’s statement highlights the extraordinary fact that our entire political class, the establishment institutions, the church, academia, various well-meaning charities, the mainstream media and, worst of all, the so-called scientific “community” are in thrall to a dogma which, although described as “science”, is based on a hypothesis not verified by science’s basic requirement, empirical evidence.

It seems we are witnessing the emergence of the secular religion of environmentalism. As with any religion, “faith” or “belief” is paramount and evidence irrelevant. And it’s a recent phenomenon: the smoking/cancer link, for example, was established by logic applied to a vast amount of physically observed evidence, as was the HIV/Aids link. Yet, with “climate change” and the supposed link between CO2 emissions and a dangerous increase in global temperature, we are told we must bow to the authority of the “overwhelming consensus”.

Yet science’s escape from the tyranny of the consensus of authoritative opinion was a major achievement of the Enlightenment, an achievement of which Bennington – amazingly the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser – would seem to be unaware. It’s well illustrated by these quotations from Thomas Huxley (whose famous Oxford debate with Bishop Wilberforce in 1860 established the pre-eminence of the theory of Darwinian evolution):

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.

In science, as in art, and, as I believe, in every other sphere of human activity, there may be wisdom in a multitude of counsellors, but it is only in one or two of them.

The ultimate court of appeal is observation and experiment... not authority.

It was on this basis that the scientific method became the indispensable tool of science, whereby a problem is identified, a testable hypothesis put forward and tested against empirical evidence. But that process is now, it seems, to be subordinated to authority. That seems to me to be a most alarming development. Am I exaggerating?

Mar 26, 2011 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

So there is supposed to be a consensus. If there is, the words of Einstein spring to mind - "It only takes one person to prove me wrong" - or words to that effect.

Mar 26, 2011 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterTom Mills


Eventually the grateful citizens of London awarded John Snow their highest possible honour. They named a pub after him.

Mar 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought


I salute your indefatigability at attempting to bring down the low lives who infest the CAGW movement.

However, for the citizens of the UK it is "CAGW - mission accomplished" since 28 October 2008 when nearly all the MPs in Westminster voted (463 Yes, 3 No) for the Climate Change Act 2008.

Until such time as this infamous piece of legislation is overturned, your fate is sealed; the voters in the UK are doomed to return to a new stone age.

It is the law that:

"A legally binding target of at least an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, to be
achieved through action in the UK and abroad. Also a reduction in emissions of at least 34 percent
by 2020. Both these targets are against a 1990 baseline.

With regard to nuclear power, on Thursday, 24 March, in Parliament, Huhne told the house that:

"As my hon. Friend knows, the coalition Government's plans clearly envisage an important role for nuclear. We aim to bring the first new nuclear on stream for 2018.</I>"

What the slippery gentleman forgot to mention was that this first new nuclear is a paltry 1.6GW and construction has not even started yet, never mind the up-coming protests, (just have a look at and note the presence of C. Lucas), but by the end of 2018, 3.6GW of nuclear will have been closed down, with another 2GW to be closed down during the following year, 2019.

Why are they incapable of telling the whole truth?

With regard to CCS, this exchange occurred in Westminster on 24 March 2011:

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con): Does my hon. Friend agree that, ................. the coalition Government need to ensure that the funding for large important projects such as CCS is as simple and straightforward as possible?

Charles Hendry: My hon. Friend is absolutely right, which is why the Chancellor made his announcement yesterday. This is a simpler way of getting the funding in; it provides the funding up front rather than it being based on output, and it is a significant step forward.

Malcolm Wicks (Croydon North) (Lab): ................Will the Minister assure us that public spending will be made available in addition to what has already been announced to ensure the future of this technology, which is absolutely vital to our fight against global warming?

Charles Hendry: The right hon. Gentleman has tremendous knowledge in these areas, ......................What the Chancellor announced yesterday removes the tremendous complexity from the levy and provides a much more straightforward scheme to drive this technology forward.

So, here is a Conservative Minister brown-nosing an opposition Labour MP, with no shame because he knows that they are all up each others' hindquarters.

So, what chance of getting these gentlemen to reverse their mind-set?

What odds would Ladbrokes offer?

Mar 26, 2011 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Sir John Beddington has become totally a creature of the Establishment, an Establishment whose authority must not be challenged or mocked, according to Sir John. As others have commented, he does not seem aware of the Scientific Method established during the Enlightenment, or even of the Enlightenment itself, but would have us all worship in the Establishment church, the Church of the Immacculate Concensus.
What's next from him and his ilk, a one-party State run by the True Believers? Iran runs on that model.

Mar 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

I notice the original letter brings up the public's questioning of GM and MMR.

I would be very careful about associating scepticism over CAGW with oppostion to GM and MMR vaccination, two hobby-horses of anti-science nutjobs.

Mar 26, 2011 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterO'Geary

Indeed Gixxerboy. Medical consensus also killed many woman of puerperal sepsis (an infection of the womb lining after giving birth) because doctors failed to see the necessity of washing their hands. Ignaz Semmelweis railed against them for years in the 1840s, even proving empirically that hand washing massively lowered the incidence but was completely ridiculed.

Mar 26, 2011 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterLynn

@ Brownedoff, Mar 26, 2011 at 12:21 PM

I'm afraid your conclusion is correct, we know for a fact, that some MPs are sceptical but not willing to raise their heads above the parapet.

To my mind, the first MPs, better yet, a leader of a political party who demurs/recants the AGW religion, would gain many hundreds of thousands of votes but then, they all worship at the throne of their [and our] - politburo masters, in the grim City of Forbidden Democracy in Bruxelles.

Thus, the very idea of a responsibility [first and foremost] towards the country and to us the people now never crosses their tiny minds. No, they say; "we do this for your own good, the EU is good for us [no thinking needed] and you and for the future of our (meaning MPs) children."

Therefore, what little is left of any loyalty to Britain, is abnegated.

Cameron said it all the other week, in that when asked [on Al Jazeera] about giving the British a referendum on, in or out of Europe said [paraphrasing]; "no! because I believe the future of Britain will be 'better' as part of the EU." or summat.

So, the chance of our political elite of growing a spine, becoming honest, doing something for the country and not for themselves. Is about as likely as, MPs taking an unpaid three year leave and working and doing something useful [who'd miss them?], like cleaning NHS toilets and hospital wards and awarding the forfeited salaries towards, repaying the national debt.

And, pigs might fly - no they don't............ they work in Westminster; "move over at the trough old boy!"

Mar 26, 2011 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan

Brownedoff & Athelstan:

I was at a local Tory party function last night. I'm not BTW a Tory member but I wanted to hear the speaker, Rory Stuart MP - and I was not wrong: his talk was most impressive. Inter alia, he noted how many MPs who had a reasonable grasp of what was happening now in the Middle East were reluctant to speak out because any unfortunate repercussions in the media might embarrass their Party. He commented how this was a relatively new phenomenon - up to WW2 MPs were commonly willing to speak plainly, even when it was contrary to the Party line. In his concluding thanks, the local MP - Peter Lilley (an overt AGW sceptic) - praised Stuart in particular for his ability to speak his mind. Yet, when chatting to Lilley before the dinner, after I had complemented him on being, with Graham Stringer, one of the few MPs who had made their sceptical views clear, he said that there were several others - but surprise, surprise they were unwilling to speak out.

Yet, if we continue on our present course, it is possible that Britain will face catastrophe within 10 years. To my mind, these cowards are, if anything, more culpable that the CAGW proponents.

Mar 26, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

Mar 26, 2011 at 2:26 PM | Athelstan

"To my mind, the first MPs, better yet, a leader of a political party who demurs/recants the AGW religion, would gain many hundreds of thousands of votes”

I know what you mean, but the statistics are against such a saviour emerging:

In 2010, there was a 65.1% turnout with 29,653,638 votes cast

Conservative - 10,706,647 votes and 306 MPs
Labour - 8,604,358 votes and 258 MPs
Lib Dems - 6,827,938 votes and 57 MPs

Therefore total of top three “CAGW believer” parties = 26,138,943 votes and 621 MPs.

Fifteen million eligible voters could not be bothered, so they are no use in turning the tide.

Some say UKIP could be the saviour.

Well, UKIP got 918,00 so for them to take power next time 5,000,000 Conservatives, 4,000,000 Labourites and 3,000,000 Lib Dems would have to switch to UKIP.

Most of the voters in the UK develop their opinions from the BBC and Sky News, where there is relentless promotion of CAGW guilt and mis-information.

I do not think a reversal of these policies is feasible.


Robin Guernier

Have you seen the disgusting, contemptuous, put-down of Peter Lilley in the HoC by Huhne on 24 March 2011:

see: just below “24 Mar 2011 : Column 1087”

I refuse to copy the extract here because I find it so offensive.

Mar 26, 2011 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

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