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« 1984 and all that | Main | Another petition »
Friday
Dec072012

Huppert on 28gate

Don Keiller has sent me copies of his correspondence with his MP, the Liberal Democrat Dr Julian Huppert. Huppert is one of the few ex-scientists in the House of Commons. He is also, incidentally, the son of Herbert Huppert, one of the scientists on the Oxburgh panel.

Dear Dr. Huppert,

I am writing to you about a serious concern regarding the BBC’s reporting of climate change science and associated issues.

From the detail emerging in the aftermath of Mr. Tony Newbery’s F.O.I case (EA/2009/0118) it is absolutely clear that the BBC is in breach of its Charter, which requires it to be impartial.

Furthermore it knowingly and wilfully breached its Charter in this regard and has since tried to hide this fact from the Public and license fee payers, at the public's expense.

In June, 2007, the BBC Trust published a report entitled “From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st Century”. That report, which is fully endorsed by the BBC Trust, contains the following statement (page 40):

The BBC has held a highlevel seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus."

This statement forms the basis for the BBC’s decision to breach its Charter and abandon impartiality on the subject of climate change and instead provide a highly biased and alarmist presentation of the science of climate change, without any attempt at counterbalancing argument, let alone “equal space”.

Since then attempts have been made, via FOI requests, to find out the identities of the so-called “best scientific experts” who attended the “high level seminar” which thereby provided the justification for the BBC to abandon its principle of impartiality in this area. To my best knowledge, the BBC has not abandoned its impartiality in this way, even in wartime.

Tony Newbery, a pensioner, clearly felt the same way and has gone through a long series of FOI requests and processes, culminating, earlier this month, in a tribunal at the Central London Civil Justice Centre (case no. EA/2009/0118). The FOI request was for the identities of the “best scientific experts” who attended the seminar. In order to conceal this information, the BBC fielded a team of 6 lawyers, including barristers, at an estimated cost of £40,000 per day, to prevent the list of names from being published. Whilst they were successful, it was a pyrric victory, as it transpires that this information, that the BBC had tried so hard to conceal, had been in the Public domain for some time.

So who were these “best scientific experts”? 

It turns out to be a motley collection of climate alarmists, activists, environmental advocates and those with vested financial interests:

  • Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
  • Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
  • Trevor Evans, US Embassy
  • Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
  • Anuradha Vittachi, Director, Oneworld.net
  • Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
  • Claire Foster, Church of England
  • Saleemul Huq, IIED
  • Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
  • Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
  • Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
  • Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
  • Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
  • Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
  • Matthew Farrow, CBI
  • Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
  • Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
  • Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
  • Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
  • Joe Smith, The Open University
  • Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
  • Anita Neville, E3G
  • Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
  • Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
  • Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia.

Not one of these could be described as “scientific”, let alone an expert.

The remainder:

  • Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
  • Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
  • Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
  • Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

are scientists, but were misleadingly described in court by Helen Boaden (of Jimmy Saville infamy), as “scientists with contrasting views”. In fact all are unashamedly alarmist. Pointedly, not one of these scientists deals with attribution science, or the atmospheric physics of global warming.

So where are the real experts? Scientists from the Met Office, or the Hadley Centre, one of the foremost climate research centres in the world? Where are the names of Dr.

Chris Landsea, World expert on hurricanes, or Dr. Nils‐Axel Mörner, World authority on sea level rises? Or Professors Richard Lindzen, or Murry Salby, World experts on atmospheric physics? Why are there no experts from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia?

It now crystal clear why the BBC went to such great lengths and expense to withhold the names of those attending. They are not the “best scientific experts” but rather a group overwhelmingly comprised of environmental activists and NGO’s, with no scientific training, whatsoever, or those with a vested interest, often financial, in keeping climate change alarmism firmly in the Public eye.

In conclusion I put it to the BBC Trust that:

1. The BBC and, by endorsing the report, the BBC Trust, have lied to the public that they organised and/or attended a seminar at BBC Television Centre involving the “best scientific experts” on climate change.

2. That its change of policy to no longer be impartial on the subject of climate change was not based on scientific evidence, or the views of the “best scientific experts”, but in fact was as a result of listening to the views, advice and lobbying from inappropriate and biased individuals, groups and organisations including Greenpeace, Tearfund, US Embassy, BP, IIED, IBT, AsRia, E3G etc.

3. That the BBC and the BBC Trust are in breach of the charter and acting unlawfully. The following quotations are taken from the website http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-editorial-values-editorial-values/

1.2.1 Trust

Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.  We are committed to achieving the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences. 

1.2.2 Truth and Accuracy

We seek to establish the truth of what has happened and are committed to achieving due accuracy in all our output.  Accuracy is not simply a matter of getting facts right; when necessary, we will weigh relevant facts and information to get at the truth.  Our output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, will be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language.  We will strive to be honest and open about what we don't know and avoid unfounded speculation.

1.2.3 Impartiality

Impartiality lies at the core of the BBC's commitment to its audiences.  We will apply due impartiality to all our subject matter and will reflect a breadth and diversity of opinion across our output as a whole, over an appropriate period, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented.  We will be fair and open-minded when examining evidence and weighing material facts. 

1.2.4 Editorial Integrity and Independence

The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity.  Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests. 

Each and every one of these guidelines has been knowingly breached.

This is a scandal that is, in its own way, more disturbing than the one over the Jimmy Savile affair, as it has implications for the whole population. Interestingly the key players in this scandal, George Entwistle, Helen Boaden, Peter Rippon and Steve Mitchell, are also key players in the Savile affair. However whilst the Savile scandal is being looked into by a series of inquiries, this has been ignored.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course on this matter. Please also be advised that I have sent a copy of this letter to the Director of the BBC Trust.

 

Yours sincerely,

Dr. D. Keiller (M.A., PhD., Cantab)

And here is Huppert's response

Dear Don,

Thank you for writing to me with your concerns about the BBC Trust and the BBC’s reporting of climate change science.

I do appreciate your concerns that the attendees of the BBC’s ‘high-level seminar’, where it was decided that there was enough evidence about climate change to justify not giving equal space to “the opponents of the consensus”, were originally withheld from the public. I would have like to have seen a greater amount of transparency on this point. However, it remains the case that the FOI request made by Mr Tony Newbery to reveal the names of the attendees was denied.

Because the BBC has not published the list of attendees we can only speculate as to whether the list you have provided is indeed accurate. To my mind the list – whether it is correct or not – is impressive in that it suggests a wide range of views would have been represented, including a number of experts in the field.

I appreciate that you are likely to disagree with my interpretation of whether those mentioned on the list are experts or not. However, I am satisfied that the list is not compromised of merely alarmists and activists.

Furthermore, although the seminar was significant as it was on this occasion that the decision to accept climate change as a fact was made by the Trust, the BBC have engaged with a huge range of scientific experts to discuss this issue since then. In your letter you have asked why scientist from the Met Office and other experts in various fields of research were not included in the seminar’s attendees list. I would like to point out that on numerous occasions the BBC has collaborated extensively with the Open University, Met Office and academics from a number of distinguished institutions to produce broadcasts and news articles concerning climate change and I am afraid that I do not share your concerns about the BBC Trust having breached its charter in the ways which you have suggested.

As a former scientist I know all too well the need to work from a solid evidence base. Indeed, this is a principle which I apply to politics as well. I am proud that the Lib Dems are a party which believe in evidence-based policy making and if I thought that an institution as important and as influential as the BBC has developed its policy towards climate change on anything but the most reliable and compelling evidence then I would raise my concerns with the Government in the strongest possible terms and without hesitation.

Although I do not share your views I would like to thank you for taking the time to make me aware of your concerns. I hope that you receive a helpful response from the Director of the BBC Trust.

Yours sincerely,

 

Julian Huppert

Member of Parliament for Cambridge

I'm speechless.

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Reader Comments (128)

That's an incredible response to a such a clear and well-written letter and I too can think of no rational explanation.

Dec 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

It's worse than we thought.

"It" being the politician's mind.

Dec 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterSara Chan

A perfect and chilling example of Orwell's MINITRUE come to life:-

WAR IS PEACE," "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY," "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH."

Dec 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Huppert is a Liberal Democrat - need one say more

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Two thoughts occurred to me:

1) There are none so blind as those that will not see.

2) What is the point of scientific qualifications if you simply turn a blind eye to the evidence?

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Julian Huppert:

... the seminar was significant as it was on this occasion that the decision to accept climate change as a fact was made by the Trust ...

Fascinating. But we all accept climate change as a fact. And that deaths from extreme climate events have been coming down for 80-90 years. Was that mentioned in the seminar? When is it ever? We don't all accept the need for wind farm subsidies as a fact, or carbon credits, or biofuels, or a whole range of policy proposals, which can never be 'facts'. Or the likely range of climate sensitivity given by the IPCC. Or their shoddy treatment of Forster and Gregory in order to support that in AR4. Or the hockey stick. And on and on and on.

I am proud that the Lib Dems are a party which believe in evidence-based policy making and if I thought that an institution as important and as influential as the BBC has developed its policy towards climate change on anything but the most reliable and compelling evidence then I would raise my concerns with the Government in the strongest possible terms and without hesitation.

Clearly the Lib Dems aren't. And you are too scared to take even a small step out of line.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Huppert says:

However, I am satisfied that the list is not compromised of merely alarmists and activists.

What a fascinating slip of the keyboard! I wonder which correction he'd prefer to make:

"... the list is not compromised by the presence of merely alarmists and activists"

or

"... the list is not comprised of merely alarmists and activists"


No wonder he's a former scientist! But that aside ...

Maybe someone should ask Huppert which specific "reliable and compelling evidence" he and the BBC have examined which has led him to such certitude.

Do you think he got Bob Ward and Fiona Fox to draft this for him?!

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

"To my mind the list – whether it is correct or not – is impressive in that it suggests a wide range of views would have been represented, including a number of experts in the field."

"I am proud that the Lib Dems are a party which believe in evidence-based policy making and if I thought that an institution as important and as influential as the BBC has developed its policy towards climate change on anything but the most reliable and compelling evidence..."

Wow...

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterEric H.

Julian Huppert what a guy you can tell he is a politician as he is wilfully blind deaf to honest questions and talks with a tongue with more forks then a Harry Ramsdens !
But a few bits still stick out like
'As a former scientist' ? what how do you stop being a scientist surely you stop being a practising one but you are still trained and qualified ! what did he renounce his past life? did he fake his own death and by leaving a canoe on a soon to drowned coastline ? as his work was about DNA and Steve Jones is also a DNA type am not shocked by his response how's the line go 'birds of a '!
Plus he seems to be saying 'look we had the experts in last week and we think it's unfair that they get all the chin time and free cakes so we invited some new friends we found on twotter and faceache instead '

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered Commentermat

I'm speechless.

Bish, I am sometimes not sure when you say things like this whether you are making an ironic Claude Rains declaration of being “Shocked!” Shocked!” ;)

I am not sure what anyone would expect, I mean, for God’s sake he is a politician who said:

The current Copenhagen talks are absolutely critical for us to make a stand and take a concerted effort to avoid all these disasters.

Bless. How did that turn out again? Huppert obviously has learnt to live with dissapointment.

So give him the slightest wriggle room and I suggest he will easily find a way to disingenously answer such a letter.

However, I am satisfied that the list is not compromised of merely alarmists and activists.

You see? It is fine there were only *some* alarmists and activists lobbying the BBC behind closed doors and then boasting to have had “a significant impact on the BBC’s output “ ;)

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Having had a look at Dr. Huppert's website http://julianhuppert.org.uk I cannot believe that Don Keiller is altogether surprised by his MP's response.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

The response from Mr Huppert speaks volumes regarding the mendacity of our politicians. Mr Huppert and his views are irrelevant, his party deceived the voters at the last election and it is unlikely that he will get re-elected.
No doubt the Cleggs will be able to contribute to his lost deposit from their wind fall.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Hilary: hilarious malapropism. "The list is not compromised by the presence of merely alarmists and activists" is my preferred correction, as this seems most accurately to reflect the MP's view.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I have sent an extremely polite email to Dr. Huppert suggesting that I consider his reply is an airy dismissal of a very real problem and urging him to look more closely into the matter.

In an effort to remain calm I did not mention his opinion upon the orientation of the attendees. I do wonder how he could have possibly come to the conclusion, if he genuinely examined them, that they represented a wide range of views on CAGW.

Think "The Thick of It" and the cry going up : "What is our line on the BBC and Climate Change?"

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Leopard:

... an ironic Claude Rains declaration of being “Shocked!” Shocked!” ;)

Martin:

... I cannot believe that Don Keiller is altogether surprised by his MP's response

It's important to remain shocked, because it really is shocking. So the Bish is holding the MP for Cambridge up to public ridicule. Quite rightly.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Unbelievable. And people like him (and less qualified) are running our country (into the ground).

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Lol, Oh yeah missed that "compromised" definitely makes Huppert's thinking look a bit clearer than I first thought!

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

In other words,' LA LA LA LA I'm not listening...'

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

However, I am satisfied that the list is not compromised of merely alarmists and activists.

But I am afraid it is, sir.

:) :)

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Registered Commentershub

Richard : the good people of Cambridge elected Julian Huppert to represent them in Parliament and I rather depressingly suspect that his views are in line with the majority view of his constituents on this matter,

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

I promised Julian MP a Christmas Card if he's able to find the non-alarmist voice among the people at #28Gate. But I won't stock up on stamps as yet.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Martin: I could be in the unenviable position then of wishing to hold up to ridicule the voters of my university town. But, the party system being what it is in our representative democracy, they are by no mean bound to be as stupid as their MP in this area.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:50 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

And I thought my MP was pathetic regarding climate change alarmism. Though he is not a scientists, I am pretty sure he would have done a lot better than Mr Huppert. I am fairly certain, based on past experience, that he would have passed any such letter on to the Culture Secretary for comment. This is clearly what Huppert should have done. I am unsure what the response would have been from that department. But at least we do know, from recent events, that the current Culture Secretary is not frightened to criticise the BBC.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Richard: at the last election the Cambridge result was

Huppert (Lib Dem) 39.1 %

Zeichner (Labour) 24.3 %

Juniper (Green) 7.6 %

So 71 % of the voters supported parties with a "green" slant.

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

"I do appreciate your concerns"

"To my mind the list – whether it is correct or not – is impressive"

"I appreciate that you are likely to disagree with my interpretation"

"... the BBC have engaged with a huge range of scientific experts to discuss this issue since then."

"As a former scientist I know all too well the need to work from a solid evidence base."

"Although I do not share your views"

All the above phrases are not those of someone trying to bury his head in the sand, or someone who is afraid to stand up against the party line.

These are phrases from someone trying to provide a polite response to a letter he considers to be from a nutter.

I know most of us "denialists" don't believe it possible, but many MPs will simply accept CAGW as fact, since all the major scientific institutions in the world say it is fact, and as we all know too well, 97% of experts agree. Why would you expect him to respond in any other way?

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:12 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

Don,

I think that we all know that there is a very long road ahead of us in making certain that the truth about AGW will "come out". How long? Who knows.

Here is a little quote from Churchill which might stiffen the back bones of all Realists:

Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never, never, -- in nothing great or small – large or petty -- never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Winston Churchill. (1874-1965).

Speech, 1941, Harrow School

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Registered Commenterpeterwalsh

To be fair, students in the full flush of idealism, newly emerged from a school exam system positively camouflaged by green thinking, elected him. The rise in student tuition fees since, must have injected some healthy scepticism about Mr Huppert into their thinking.

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterLJH

I get the impression that Julian Huppert thinks Don Keiller believes that the climate isn't changing. Somehow, thes people have been convinced that skeptics deny that the climate changes, and that belief, is sufficient to justify their dismissive attitude to those who challenge the (so called) consensus view.(AGW).
As it has not warmed in the last 16 or so years, is it now time to transpose" AGW "into "ACT" anthropogenic climate change. If nothing else, it will allow a certain play on words which might be amusing.

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Martin and LJH: There's more to the Cambridge vote than students but student tuition fees is a good example of a policy area, different from climate change, which may have inclined some to go Lib Dem. There are myriads of others. When we vote we have to decide which candidate - plus their party plus their probability of being elected in first past the post - maps best onto a whole range of opinions we have. It's compromise through and through - unless we're lucky and live in Surrey Heath, because Michael Gove remains my hero :)

I reiterate the claim, then, that the voters of Cambridge, if confronted by this brilliant letter from Don Keiller, could not have done a worse job with it than their MP. It's appalling. I agree with steveta that it suggests Huppert thinks Keiller is a nutter. If so, all the worse for him. One day such a casual attitude to truth will have paybacks. Electoral oblivion for the Lib Dems might be a useful first step.

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Don

For what it is worth I think your MP is just spouting the party line on AGW, but given that he says this

'I am proud that the Lib Dems are a party which believe in evidence-based policy making and if I thought that an institution as important and as influential as the BBC has developed its policy towards climate change on anything but the most reliable and compelling evidence then I would raise my concerns with the Government in the strongest possible terms and without hesitation.'

I would suggest that you ask yer man to enquire of the BBC what reliable and compelling evidence has been presented to them and how, and in particular whether they have invited any opposing views - balance I think is the word we are looking for here.

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

Central to the problems arising from this "Gang of 28" fiasco is the BBC's use of the "Chatam House Rule."

http://www.chathamhouse.org/about-us/chathamhouserule

I first learned about this rule at a meeting in 1999 when I was doing some work for the Scottish Government's Futures Programme. As an American I thought the whole concept to be silly and quinessentially Britsh, but as it didn't afffect my behavio(u)r (I always say what I mean and always respect confidences) I went along with it even if slightly bemused.

However, what seems to have been a reasonable rule for the chaotic and fragmented world of 1927 now seems to me to be a complete anachronism in the information rich and information hungry world of 85 years later. The very rule that was designed to facilitate honest debate seems to have been in this case used by the BBC to stifle not only debate on the issues at hand but also the ability of outsiders to even know that such a debate occurred and who were the participants.

What other important issues are even now being debated by faceless and nameless individuals under the sanctity of Chatham House Rules?

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

We may wring our hands and cry foul, but the bottom line is ....people will die as a direct result of this man and his attitudes.

I would suggest we take a leaf out of the warmist activists handbook.

Thes people obviously don't worry about numbers or facts, instead they 'feel'.

Therefore I suggest we all keep an acccount, from our local press, of people who have died this winter as a direct result of fuel poverty created by this generation of politicians of all parties.

We should, if possible, collect information about the individual who has died, together with their details, age, state of health, where and how they lived etc. The ideal would be a recent photograph.

It would be most effective if we could upload these details to a website. (I have no skills in that regard).

We could then get people like guido fawkes / james delingpole etc to highlight these events.

I would also suggest we email the pictures and of these unfortunate people to the local MP and directly attribute the death to the way that politician has voted, and to the way that politician has supported these criminal policies.


The truth hurts, and so much the better if just one politician would grow a spine and vote against the 'consensus'

Dec 7, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Basically the "Liberal Democrats" are in no way whatsoever liberal,indeed they have officially saud that being liberal is "incmpatible with party membership". It is hence impossible for any member of the party top say he is a member of the "Liberal" party without being provable completely corrupt.

As Mr Huppert proves he is.

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

As a postscript I will be replying to Julian Huppert, M.P., pointing out some "inconvenient truths" and also directing his attention to this blog, where he can judge for himself what informed people think of his response.

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Another politician with his fingers in his ears...

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-92BYuLVJWRE/ULqIOpVikKI/AAAAAAAABFs/SivkPsCZPLY/s400/fingers-in-ears.jpg

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

Richard :

It is interesting that Huppert's website has a big section on his commitment to all things environmental - headed by the quote from Prof Sir David King said, ‘Climate change is the most severe problem we face today’. and moving on to his pride in drafting "policies aimed at moving this country to a zero-carbon economy by 2050"

On Climate Science he says:

"The science behind climate change is well established, despite what some portions of the media may make over a few badly phrased emails. There is of course some uncertainty in exactly what will happen – but I cannot see anyone can sensibly take the gamble that nothing bad will happen. "

Despite his unwavering commitment to the green cause, I am sure that electoral oblivion awaits Dr Huppert in 2015 - but I suspect that very many of his previous supporters will be voting for the Green Party candidate instead.

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Register of Members’ Interests

11. Miscellaneous

Research Councils UK Fellowship at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge (on long-term unpaid leave), giving use of a computer.

So the reply was written by somebody with a Fellowship at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, I wonder what “the crocodile” would have made of it?

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Peter Stroud
I wrote to Maria Miller at DCMS about the 28gate shenanigans, and this is what they said in reply...

"Under the terms of the BBC’s Charter and Agreement, the BBC is operationally and editorially independent of Government and there is no provision for the Government to intervene in the Corporation’s day-to-day operations. How the BBC allocates its funding, in meeting its objectives, is a matter for the BBC. The BBC is accountable to the license fee payer through the BBC Trust.
The Government remains fully committed to an independent, strong and successful
BBC forming the cornerstone of public service broadcasting in a diverse and vibrant
broadcasting sector. I suggest you contact the BBC Trust directly with any concerns about the BBC, by writing to the BBC Trust Unit, 180 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5QZ, by emailing trust.enquiries@bbc.co.uk or by calling their information line on 03700 103 100."

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Martin: Thanks for the further info. On the proper attitude of democratically elected officials everywhere I prefer James Delingpole's plea to the councillors of Daventry earlier today:

Now is not the time to let up in our fight. The war is almost over. And you really wouldn't want your local district to be the equivalent of one of those poor sods who was shot dead or blown up in the early hours of 11th November 1918, would you?

Nothing is predictable once the doubters include "more than a few senior members of the government from David Cameron and George Osborne downwards," as Dellers puts it. One Lib Dem MP stopped me as I demonstrated outside the Treasury with friends of Fay Kelly-Tuncay on 18th October under the slogan Green Isn't Working and was genuinely interested in our perspective on wind power.

Huppert hasn't taken the safe option; he only thinks he has.

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Cambridge. Along with Oxford, Islington & I think three other London constituencies represent Polly Toynbee's "silent majority", who were going to vote through AV in the Referendum.

Say no more.

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Registered Commenterjeremyp99

My local MP's (LibDem David Heath) line on AGW is that he believes the government reports. End of. Until the Coalition came into being, whilst I didn't always agree with him, he was a pretty good constituency-orientated MP. Now he's party first, and sod you if you don't like it. I sent him The Hockey Still Illusion for Christmas in 2010 and the bugger didn't even thank me.

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:43 PM | Registered Commenterjeremyp99

IMO, Chatham House rules should never be applied in any publicly funded body, and disregarded if they are WRT FoI.

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Registered Commenterjeremyp99

As a postscript I will be replying to Julian Huppert, M.P., detailing some "inconvenient truths".
I will also direct his attention to this blog, where he can read what informed people think of his reply.

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Did his original letter really say "I am satisfied that the list is not compromised of merely alarmists and activists"? (Since yesterday "principal" seems to have been corrected to "principle")

Dec 7, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

"Because the BBC has not published the list of attendees we can only speculate as to whether the list you have provided is indeed accurate."

Weasel!

Dec 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Extraordinary. Perhaps the substance (?) of Huppert's missive can be condensed as follows;

"Because what is,isn't ; therefore what isn't, is."

But Huppert knows that he can get away with this. After all, precedents have been set and who will take him to task?

Dec 7, 2012 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBullocky

Well done, Dr Keiller.

I doubt if your efforts will be rewarded by an enlightened response. However, they are worthy efforts.

Dec 7, 2012 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterEpigenes

Huppert wrote:

To my mind the list – whether it is correct or not – is impressive in that it suggests a wide range of views would have been represented, including a number of experts in the field.

The wide range of views would be on what must be done about man made climate change rather than on whether the consensus or the science was correct.

Dec 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

"...My local MP's (LibDem David Heath) line on AGW is that he believes the government reports. End of. " Jeremyp99

I have had occasion to talk to my Liberal councillor about Climate Change. I provided some IPCC data which contradicted the alarmist position he was taking. His response:

" I believe my briefing documents, because they cite scientific consensus, which is more authoritative than you..."

As has been said earlier, to the Liberal Democrats, skeptics are DEFINED as being wrong, and there is NO requirement for any representative, MP or Councillor, to enter into ANY discussion with them. I suspect this is specific advice from headquarters....

Dec 7, 2012 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Dr Huppert is a trustee of Newton's Apple Foundation which receives funding from .... The University of East Anglia.

Small world isn't it?

Dec 7, 2012 at 1:38 PM | Registered CommenterTerryS

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