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Flood and drought

Charlie Flindt is a farmer, who has written a rather funny piece at Farmer's Weekly wondering about the antics of DEFRA and the climatologists. Flindt doesn't like conferences but, he says:

...there was one meeting the other day that I would have given anything to attend, even at breakfast time: the DEFRA drought summit.

All the great and the good were there: Mrs Spelman, the Environment Agency, Natural England, British Waterways, the Met Office, and representatives from the agricultural sector and environmental NGOs.

Reports suggest that there was much earnest discussion of this year's drought, the problems it brings, and measures that can be taken. These measures ranged from the bleeding obvious, like stopping leaks, to the fairly major, like suggesting that farmers consider on-farm storage of water.


If I had somehow blagged my way in as an important person or a quangocrat, I think that it's at this point that I would have been forced to put my hand up. Perhaps Mrs Spelman would have called for a silence, and all heads in the room would have turned to face me.

"Well. Mr Flindt?" she'd have asked (I assume these meetings are all very formal).

"Um, I'm sorry to butt in, Mrs Spelman, but I'm confused," I would have said. "Ten years ago, there was another conference. It was called 'Flood Risk in a Changing Climate', and was held at the Royal Society in November 2001. The message from this conference was very simple: winters will get wetter. Rivers will burst their banks more often, and flooding will become more regular - as was indeed happening at the turn of the century. Climate change – or perhaps it was still called Global Warming in those days – was to blame. Messrs Osborn and Hulme, scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, had models to prove it. Now, if a farmer at that conference had suggested it would be wise to start planning the building of a reservoir, he would have been laughed out of the building."

Read the whole thing. It's very amusing.

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Reader Comments (35)

The Green Treens continue to use hearts and mind control to convince us that wet is dry, hot is cold, and economic ruin is bold. Dogby investigates....

Mar 10, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

I think it is bloody obvious why he wasn't invited. :)

Mar 10, 2012 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

could someone expand on tenant of national trust? i take it that he is farming on land belonging to some sort of piece of paper. Is there much of this? And no, this is not the prelude to one of my weak attempts at humor.

Mar 10, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

j f, I think the NT is the 2nd largest landowner after HM, and most of this is farmland, so yes it's quite common for them to have tenants to run the farms.

Mar 10, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Great article, nice one Bish' and of course Mr. Flindt.

Old mother earth, blimey she is a very capricious girl, she simply won't allow those big computers at the Met Office to 'set the weather patterns' - which is a damned inconvient truth for the government - I mean look how much taxpayer funded research has been wasted spent and so surprisingly - man still is no where near providing any sort of an answer [shock horror at the Environment agency!].

I think - what's needed here you know - is a bigger computer down in Exeter and loads more [DECC shills + global warming coordinators] civil servants to solve this ' is it weather or climate, wet or dry - when it suits' conundrum.

Charlie Flindt, should sell the farm and set up an advisory agency [buy himself a Mac but leave it in the corner, use it for emails] to provide sage 'old fashioned farming weather prediction' advice [and thus command enormous fees] - to government departments and cut out the middleman - them down there in Exeter.

Mar 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Reminds me of the "predictions" In australia by Flanery and his ilk that in future there will be droughts and now they have floods. Exactly the reverse here but with equally predictable consequences. Mind you, they live with their heads down "down under" so no surprise they have gone from too little to too much water and in SE England the opposite at more or less the same time. No shortage of water here in the west of Scotland so maybe they should hire some of the laid up tankers and ship a few million cubic meters from Loch Lomond.

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

This is the whole issue of those Thermogeddonists who scream the word 'Denier' at anyone who disagrees with them in a nutshell. Leaving aside the fact that they tend to attack a straw man, I think probably unintentionally, in that climate sceptics don't actually think what the Thermogeddonists think that they think. The issue to my mind is that predicting the future is notoriously difficult and even the best and most astute scientists have ended up looking silly by trying to do it. So now we have a group of people predicting climate catastrophy who are so absolutely sure of themselves, so completely convinced that they cannot possibly be wrong, that they regard anyone who dares to disagree with them to be as wrongheaded as the flat earthers.

Sorry to be OT but I visited science blog Pharyngular this morning and there was an article up about some climate guy called Suzuki who appeared to be calling for climate sceptics to be gagged. PZ Myers is a commited CAGW believer so I was interested to see what his take on this would be. I was busy this morning so I thought that I would come back later and read it. I have gone there just now and that particular post has disappeared. Has anyone else heard the Suzuki gagging story?

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Check this link out

Be ready with a sick bag

Theres a saying about astrology if you dont beleive in God you will beleive in anything

Watch out Suzanne cuddley Russel Grant he may be the Devil

These Christians have obviously lost faith in their God and have found a new green one

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJAMSPID

Oh dear I am becoming senile already. Just been to WUWT and seen the Suzuki post there. There is a cartoon of a Santa who looks like PZ Myers and I was skimming my favorite blogs very quickly and obviously got confused.

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

If you want to talk about rare elements, one of the rarest and most useful on Earth would be Helium 3. Gotta go to the Moon to find reasonable quantities of that. Great for nuclear fusion though.

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Opps, wrong thread -- sorry

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

yes, lot’s of people here live on ground belonging to a piece of paper; others live on ground belonging to a pointy hat with knobs on called the Crown; - something your people took objection to two centuries ago...

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

An old farmer once told me "It's never dry when it rains, and it never rains when it's dry". How true.

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Well it would appear that climate alarmism is linked to a mental disorder.

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Blimey, that's my article. A very proud moment!!!!!

'Tenant of the National Trust' means that I rent my farm off the National Trust (a very large landowner and charity in the UK - thousands of acres have been left to them over the years by landowners when they die. My hamlet used to be owned by the Duttons, who left it to the Trust in the 1980s). We've lived in the farmhouse and occupied the land as if it were our own since 1959, and pay quarterly rent to the Trust. It's a very old, tried and tested British system.

So it's not mine to sell, unfortunately!

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie


"Be ready with a sick bag
Theres a saying about astrology if you dont beleive in God you will beleive in anything
These Christians have obviously lost faith in their God and have found a new green one"

How very true - when the Church starts meddling in politics, it invariably gets egg all over its face. I put it down to a complete breakdown of Faith by the Church - and they are the people who are supposed to encourage us in Faith. What a bunch of weapons-grade hypocrites.

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Charlie, with articles like that, do feel free to come here with more of the same.

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Charlie - Thank you for that article - it has made my day.

BUT you will never get anywhere pointing out the truth, you will be saying it hasn't warmed for 15 years next!!!

I wonder if anyone attending that conference who read your article would see the irony - no of course not, I am just being silly.

Surely somebody at the conference must have suggested a Minister for Drought be appointed - when they did that in 1976, within a month they needed to strike-through drought and put in Floods.

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

I posted an approving comment and link back to here underneath Charlie's article about 3 hours ago - it hasn't appeared yet...

Mar 10, 2012 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

I fell about laughing when I heard they were holding this meeting. These people are totally utterly stupid.

I remember back in the early eighties this same group had 8 conseqetive years of hosepipe bans then it rained for 7 years then we had the drought conference again and so on.

They simply don't seem to know that the UK sits right in the middle of the temperate zone of the planet. Yes, we will have periods when it doesn't rain and we aill have periods when it will. Like green energy all you need is storage to even out the wet and dry, plentiful and scarce moments.

I wonder if R Betts was there nodding sagely.

Mar 10, 2012 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Surely somebody at the conference must have suggested a Minister for Drought be appointed - when they did that in 1976, within a month they needed to strike-through drought and put in Floods.

This time they were followed by the heaviest rain sinde last year. Prats all of them.

Mar 10, 2012 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

"Drought" is an Anglo-Saxon word. They had droughts in those days. They also handed-on some good words to describe this conference...

Mar 10, 2012 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

His short article has the title, Climate Change Predictions are Drying Up. Is CO2 the cause of this shortage of predictions, or would sceptics be right to postulate another reason?

Mar 10, 2012 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Good Heavens Charlie - Bishop Hill and GWPF in one day. You really have made it - just a pity it doesn't pay well, unlike attendance at the conference in question.

Mar 10, 2012 at 10:58 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Yes, I've noticed that the original predictions regarding climate change in this country were for warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers. Somewhere along the line, the warmer, wetter winters bit seems to have fallen by the wayside, but they are still rabbiting on about hotter, drier summers. I suppose they still have to keep up the scaremongering. I know we need rain, but with all this staycationing we are meant to be doing again this year because we're all broke, I quite fancy a hotter drier summer. It would make a change.

Mar 11, 2012 at 12:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBiddyb

From experience, I can assure readers that one of the most important attributes of being a successful bureaucrat is having no visible sense of humour or appreciation of irony.

This is because, when the government changes after an election, people have to start saying that what was white last week is now black; what would devastate the country last week is now its salvation etc.

Many of us simply learned to maintain a poker face while inwardly chuckling. But, a significant and often very senior portion of the bureaucracy somehow is able to turn their belief system on a sixpence, and erase all memory of the bad thoughts of yesteryear. These rather scary people are the ones who you must never, never let anywhere near your exposed back. They will butcher you without a pang if they think you might be lacking in commitment to the current set of mantras.

Nice piece of writing, Charlie - but I suspect that you would never have made it as a bureaucrat!

Mar 11, 2012 at 2:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

You're right, retireddave - BH and GWPF now! Whatever next? Bramdean and Hinton Ampner Parish Newsletter (circulation 128)?

Mar 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Margaret Beckett had it covered in 2002, in response to the first UK Climate Impacts Report, (Playstation) a set of scenarios produced by Mike Hulme et al at Tyndall.

“The extra warmth in summers in decades to come may be welcome, but the more frequent droughts and floods will pose obvious problems unless there is significant forward planning."

A Tyndall Press Release from 7 November 2000, asked "What can we do about climate change?"
"As Britain battles through floods and major transport disruption, and the nations gear up for the UN climate conference at the Hague, how can responsible businesses and organisations prepare for climate change?

Dr Mike Hulme, the Centre’s Executive Director, said: “Society is at last waking up to climate change. What might once have been considered unusual weather conditions for the UK – the recent storms and flooding, for example – are likely to be much more frequent occurrences."

Mar 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

This reminds me of when I first had concerns about IPCC.
The prediction/projection/forecast/swag was for more drought AND more bushfires.
If we were to have this unrelenting drought.... how could we ever build the fuel loads required for a huge/repeating (let alone any) sort of a bushfire?
It was if they wanted me to believe that a huge fire this year followed by below average rain next year would lead to an even bigger fire......
And then they talk about basic physics...

Mar 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTony Hansen

johanna - absolutely right - BUT the scary thing after the last change of UK government (2010) was the fact that the new lot were just as deluded than the previous set of fools - after all only 3 or 4 MP's voted against the Climate Change Act. I think we can probably all throw up a few reasons for that, but I don't think that getting political about it will help.

I did ask my MP (I won't name him as that might be counter productive) by email to attend Prof. Lindzen's presentation at Westminster a couple of weeks back , covered by the Bish at the time. A few days after the event I got a written reply saying that he had been unable to attend, but said

"I understand that Dr. lindzen is one of the foremost minds bravely challenging the false consensus on AGW. I regret that the front bench has not yet seen the light regarding climate change and one wonders if they ever will. Still, it seems the preponderance of scientific evidence is against the alarmists, so one has the vague confidence that truth will prevail over the cartel sooner or later."

Well it's a start.

Mar 11, 2012 at 5:31 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Why not post a supporting comment for Charlie Flindt over at Farmers Weekly?

He deserves it!

Mar 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougS


I did, yesterday, but it still has not made it though moderation - not a single comment has appeared. I wonder if the editor of Farmers' Weekly is a Guardian reader?

Mar 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy


See my comments above, Mar 10, 2012 at 5:34 PM, echoing Gixxerboy... still no sign.

Mar 11, 2012 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

For a second I read the title as: "food for thought" .

Mar 12, 2012 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterAntonyIndia

Charlie, you remind me of why I treasure my rural upbringing and never forget the priceless things about 'real stuff' I learnt then. How many scientists/quangocrats would it take to measure and assess the wisdom and knowledge contained in statements such as this one, made by a farm labourer I worked with when I was fifteen years old.
" Ducks are nestin' high on the river's banks this season - it's gonny be bloody wet, them ducks reckon!"

Mar 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

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