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« Huppert on CCS | Main | Physics World comes over all sceptic »

Echoes of Oxburgh

Nick Cohen in the Guardian writes about the scandal of the London School of Economics' acceptance of funding from the Gaddafi regime and the questions that are being asked over its awarding of a degree to the Libyan leader's son. There is an interesting twist though:

The university has appointed Lord Woolf – a retired lord chief justice, no less – to investigate Giddens, Brahimi and their colleagues. He will find out what happened to the hundreds of thousands of pounds the university took from Gaddafi's son, Saif, and whether it was in return for a Phd and academic support for his crime family's rule of Libya. The "independent inquiry" will establish the "full facts", the university says, as it drops heavy hints that it is time to "move on".

Willing though the amnesiac media always are to jump to the next scandal, this story isn't over yet. No one outside the LSE has noticed that Lord Woolf may face a conflict of interest. Some would argue that if he were still a judge in a court of law, he would have to tell the parties to a case that they had the right to ask him to stand down.

Somebody remind me how the Guardian dealt with the appointment of Oxburgh to deal with the UEA inquiry...

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Reader Comments (20)

Well, the Guardian always holds itself to the highest of double standards.....

Apr 4, 2011 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Clearly LSE believes in undemocratic nepotism as demonstrated by Libya.

Libyan School of Economics

Apr 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

One interesting point here is that this is the same Anthony Giddens who has written a book on the imperative of global warming called The Politics of Climate Change. I attended a small group discussion with him not long after its publication and was shocked both at how little he knew about one of the book-related topics he was pontificating on (which I happen to know a lot about), and how much the organisers and other attendees fawned upon him. Needless to say the meeting summary reflected his views almost 100%, even though many of us there were critical. If I hadn't been a sceptic already, this meeting would probably have made me one.

Apr 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

In this week's the Sunday Times there was an in-depth Exposé of the treatment of John Venables, the bulge murderer, during his time in care. Needless to say, there was dreadful mismanagement of his case.

However, an ‘independent’ enquiry into this didn't look into the most serious allegations raised. When the chairman was asked: why not? His answer was that those particular issues were, "not in his remit".

How familiar to those of us who have followed the climate gate enquiries. Obviously a standard bureaucratic trick.

Apr 4, 2011 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Giddens is an odd fellow. I attended a seminar given by him with Lawson on climate change and adaption at the Policy Exchange last November. He went on about the science. In questions afterwards Dr Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Institute ripped his interpretation of science to shreds (in a humble and polite way that made his gentle critique all the more excruciating to witness). When Dr Whitehouse was speaking I noticed that Giddens was shaking his head and mouthing 'what rubbish' and 'denier.' Lawson then said that perhaps Giddens hadn't come across Dr Whitehouse before and told him that he was a distinguished former science editor at the BBC and a professional scientist. At this point Gidden' face dropped and he blustered and changed the subject.

My impression of Giddens was that he cheery picks his facts and basically doesn't know what he's talking about. Does he have the same bluster when it comes to Economics? I couldn't say.

Apr 4, 2011 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRHatton

If my memory is accurate, this Nick Cohen is the same Nick Cohen who is an advocate for catastrophic global warming and fiercely defended the indefensible notion that the Maldives in the Indian Ocean are sinking at an alarming rate. If it is the same Nick Cohen, I would have probems accepting the veracity of anything he writes on any topic unless I am presented with written verification from an independent and unimpeachable source. I am perfectly willing to accept that the LSE has hewed to a rather flexible ethical line regarding money and mixing with world players with distinctly non-mainstream views and reputations, as the LSE's reputation has been a topic of chatter world-wide for many years, but terms such as kettle and black tend to come to mind in this instance.

Apr 4, 2011 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

The Marshall Foch Professor of French at Oxford and the Douglas haig prfessor of English at the Sorbonne are funded by gifts received from the notorious arms-dealer Basil Zaharoff. Is that morally more acceptable than taking money from Gadaffi? I am just curious why the Gadaffi story bothers people.

But we all know nthat independent enquiries are only set up to achieve a cover-up - to make it seem as if the establishment cares.

Apr 4, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Interesting what happens to formerly respectable organizations that become activist laden: BBC, Guardian, LSE, Nature, etc.

Apr 4, 2011 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

It's getting to the point where if any establishment linked body held an enquiry into Black being Black, I'd seriously consider the likelihood Black was White.

Apr 4, 2011 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

@ Diogenes

I think the significance of the LSE foasco is that it conclusively proves you can buy anything you want from a left-wing university, whether it be academic endorsement of tyranny, quack psyence about the climate, or whatever.

There was no shortage of support from this quarter for Stalin in the 1930s. It's salutary to be reminded how little the left has changed.

Apr 4, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Did anyone happen to watch episode 4 of Niall Ferguson's "Civilisation" series on channel 4 in which he was discussing eugenics. He described it as being similar to the way climate change is seen today. He was making the point that the tenets of eugenics were where the consensus was in the early twentieth century. Very revealing.

Apr 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Tipp

LSE is mainly extortion funded (as it rides on the back of UK taxpayers). It's just being consistent. I'm sure it's bunged honorary degrees to those who allocated UK citizens loot to them, so why not degrees etc for foreign looters?

Apr 4, 2011 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

A sheep in wolf's clothing will be just the ticket:-)

Apr 4, 2011 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Apr 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Derek Tipp
AGW is the biggest/worst/most horrible use of ´science.´ NO!
What we have seen pales beside the crime of eugenics. Virginia, my home, promoted cruelty against feeble/minded, non-Whites, and many ´others.´
Also, has LSE a library? can they find the term ´useful idiots?´ can they find a mirror?

Apr 4, 2011 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn R T

Powerful stuff here.

I'd already made a note to catch up with Niall Ferguson's series, Derek, not just because the first episode was so thought-provoking but because a friend in the City was mentioning it when we had lunch last week. But most of all after reading James Delingpole on the weekend highlighting Ferguson's focus in that recent episode - not just on eugenics but the "Kaiser's Holocaust" in Namibia. A very serious and until recently neglected area of scholarly study that has utterly gripped me since I first read about it in Anne Applebaum's 'Gulag' around eight years ago.

Nipping bad things in the bud is the phrase that comes to mind as I ponder this. Really, really bad things. That's what the Germans had to do in the early 1900s and they dismally failed to do it. I've felt for a long time that we are in a similar position. Delingpole's recent posts have been awesome on this, all strength to the guy's elbow.

On Nick Cohen, a Jewish fellow that I have a lot of time for in other areas ... well, I have a lot of time for him. But at the momentous debate between Delingpole and Monbiot at Free Word in early December 2009, on whether one should ever compare climate sceptics with holocaust deniers, I can see now Nick asking what seemed a very angry question about us sceptic scum. At least that's how it came across. Stuff that like really pained me and still does, because the man has got a lot else right, in my view.

In which context, the example of David Whitehouse is key. "In a humble and polite way that made his gentle critique all the more excruciating to witness." Thanks for that witness statement, RHatton. We so need that grace, all the more so when the attacks on us seem so unfair. I have a lot more to learn about all that.

But thanks everyone for the thoughts here - and to our gracious host, as always.

Apr 4, 2011 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

You must remember that, in the interests of impartiality, Lord Oxburgh's appointment was made on the recommendation of the Royal Society, once one of the most respected scientific institutions in the world.
However, far from being independent, Lord Oxburgh was at the time chairman of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and the wind energy company Falck Renewables. He was already on record as saying , "what we don't want to see is in two years' time the government simply becoming bored with climate change after we've invested a lot of our shareholders' money"

He previously appeared on a Greenpeace platform saying "Governments in developed countries need to introduce taxes, regulations or plans such as the European Union carbon trading scheme to increase the cost of emitting CO2. This is the only way that technologies such as bio-fuel, carbon sequestration, the use of hydrogen as a fuel and wave, tidal, wind and solar power would displace the use of oil, coal and gas. None of this is going to happen if the market is left to itself"

Lord Oxburgh had already made his prejudice known in a speech in the House of Lords, as reported in HANSARD

14 Jan 2010 : Column 623

12.15 pm
Lord Oxburgh: My Lords, I had not intended to talk about science today because the science was not seriously questioned at Copenhagen-it was not the issue. On the other hand, it is worth making a comment or two on it. When the former leader of one of the world's important countries, said, as he commonly did, that the science is not certain, that was pretty much a content-free statement. It does not mean anything unless you specify what question the science is supposed to answer. Although scientists, climatologists and so forth disagree about a great many of the details, the general direction of change is not seriously questioned by many.

It is very difficult to question the influence of our greenhouse gases in controlling the earth's temperature and question the fact that during the past 150 years we have significantly increased those by roughly 30 per cent. People who deny that really have to recognise that they have to come up with a whole new theory for temperature distribution in the terrestrial planets, which has stood the test of time for about 100 years, if they want to throw out the concept of greenhouse gas perturbation......

We in this country must continue to attach high priority to using less energy in a whole range of ways and, in addition to reducing our overall energy consumption, to obtain our energy from more sustainable sources. On top of that, as long as we are obliged to use fossil fuels, if we are to avoid calamitous climate change, we have to prevent the emissions from those fuels escaping into the atmosphere. The means of doing that is by carbon capture and storage ......

I watched a politically significant shift in Australian public opinion over a period of 12 months, triggered by a combination of extreme climatic events and a successful and well publicised lecture tour by Al Gore.


And it is on the basis of Oxburgh's report that climate scientists are said to have been 'exonerated'.
Enougth said?

Apr 4, 2011 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBomber_the_Cat

it is interesting how few people even know about Zaharoff and his impact on the early 20th century....

Apr 4, 2011 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Thanks, Bomber
those are very interesting Lord Oxburgh quotes.

Apr 5, 2011 at 6:59 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu


If you are interested in Oxburgh's previous pronouncements on climate there is a webcast from the Royal Society here.

Apr 5, 2011 at 8:28 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The editorial level of the corrupt media knows they are selling crap.

Apr 6, 2011 at 5:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

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