Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Yeo in more trouble | Main | Steve McIntyre at the GWPF - Cartoon notes by Josh »

End of the CMEP road

My long struggle to find out who attended the BBC's seminar on climate change has come to an end (if you are not familiar with the story, see here). Readers here will recall that the seminar appears to have been attended by a bunch of NGO people, who decided that there was a consensus on climate change that meant that sceptics could be sidelined in the corporation's output. The BBC Trust then falsely reported that the decision had been made by leading scientists.

My FOI request, dating back several years, has been repeatedly turned down and the appeal has gone all the way to the Information Tribunal, a rather more formal process than the Information Commission, being overseen by a judge. My appeal was on a number of grounds

  • that the seminar was not a bona fide attempt to assess the science and as such did not fall under the journalistic purposes exemption that the BBC was using
  • failing this, that administrative emails relating to the seminar were so far removed from journalism as to put it outside the  exemption
  • failing this, that the information was nevertheless disclosable under EIR.

The ruling was issued at the start of the week and can be seen below. Not good news, but you win some and you lose some.

Tribunal ruling

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Bonuses
    [...]- Bishop Hill blog - End of the CMEP road[...]

Reader Comments (32)

The simple fact the BBC went to such lengths to deny you this relatively innocuous information is a huge victory.

What your application and persistence has done is shine a very bright light on the climate change antics of the BBC and, I suspect, put the fear of God into them in so far as they knew very well that their seminar was, at best, tainted.

Well done the Bishop!

Aug 17, 2012 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJay Currie

" a tool to reflect upon and ultimately improve BBC output, and which have led
to improved coverage of certain issues
by the BBC" (para.6)

Really? It seems like the reverse to me.

Well done for sticking with it, though, Bish. As Harmless Sky and others have found, the Beeb puts far more effort into resisting criticism than it would take to acknowledge it. Perhaps an FOI request for the relevant administrative spend is in order?

This may cheer you up..


(H/t Foxgoose)

Aug 17, 2012 at 8:34 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Well done, Bish; persistence did not pay off in this instance, but you succeeded in exhausting that particular line of attack. It's the end of that road, but I wouldn't say it's necessarily the end of all roads. Roger Harrabin and Joe Smith are still alive, and they know who was there. The information still exists in the world, and as Stewart Brand once said, information wants to be free. It may just be a matter of time.

Aug 17, 2012 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

I can do no better than endorse Jay Currie's comment.
The lengths to which the BBC has gone to prevent details of this affair being made public probably tells us more about the Corporation and its attitude towards the general public than releasing the information would have done.
It appears to be a characteristic of organisations like that that they eventually become so sclerotic that they can no longer raise the gun high enough to miss their foot.
No doubt there will be high-fives round Broadcasting House with management totally oblivious to the fact that their "victory" can only barely be described even as Pyrrhic!

Aug 17, 2012 at 8:56 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

As has been said before, by those of us who have had FOIA requests turned down, the BBC is functionally exempt from FOIA. They are, in effect, unelected and unaccountable.

Guardian TV.

Aug 17, 2012 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Let me see if I can get hold of Mr Assange.

Taaaxxxii for Julian!

Aug 17, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

So a publically-funded body is permitted to keep the names of its policy advisers secret from the public.
So if the BBC take advice on their GW policy from Michael Mann, and nobody else, for example, we are not allowed to know. What a farce.

Aug 17, 2012 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

There is massive corruption involved in the climate change scam. Those involved at the heart of government and in carbon trading in the City aren't going to allow such details to be revealed:

Aug 17, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

Bish writes:

My FOI request, dating back several years, has been repeatedly turned down and the appeal has gone all the way to the Information Tribunal, a rather more formal process than the Information Commission, being overseen by a judge.
Not good news, but you win some and you lose some.

Seems to me that same perversion of I'm not quite sure what (it certainly could not be "principles", could it!) protected the BBC (and the BBC Trust) from being required to disclose the findings of the Balen report, the remit of which was to examine the extent of BBC bias against Israel.

In 2005 Steven Sugar, a pro-Israel lawyer, sent the BBC a Freedom of Information request to see the Balen Report. The BBC rejected his application, and the resultant dispute was pursued through the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. After Mr Sugar sadly died, in 2011, his widow Fiona Paveley continued the fight.


It seems to me that there are far too many similarities for comfort in the way that the BBC (and far too many other media) covers (and covers up its coverage of) Israel and "climate change".

Aug 17, 2012 at 9:43 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Well done for all the hard work Bish, it is appreciated.

The lengths the BBC have gone to avoid disclosure of the attendees of this meeting speaks volumes about its journalism and its editorial policies. It is terrible to see a once great journalistic organisation reduced to such pityful state, and no wonder so many people now don't trust the BBC reporting to be unbiased.

As ever there is a silver lining, being that this adds to the evidence that the licence fee should be abolished.

Bish, do you think the BBC trustees should reasonably concur the CMEP meeting was part of an concerted attempt to sidestep charter responsibilities?

Aug 17, 2012 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterVarco

It's more than that: there should be a fraud investigation which must reveal the investments of people who have arguably abused their public position, government members included.

Aug 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

I feel your pain. I "won" my FOI Tribunal case against UEA and they were ordered to search for the email I requested.
This was six months ago and I am still tied up with UEA's lawyers.

These scamsters, funded by the Public purse I might add, never give in.

Aug 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Compare this result to how Neil Wallis's complaint was handled, says it all.

Aug 17, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Here is the role of the BBC Trust:

The BBC exists to serve the public, and its mission is to inform, educate and entertain. The BBC Trust is the governing body of the BBC, and we make sure the BBC delivers that mission.

Led by the Chairman Lord Patten, and consisting of 12 Trustees, the Trust is the guardian of licence fee revenue and of the public interest in the BBC.

The Trust is separate from the Executive Board which is led by the Director-General. The Executive Board is responsible for the operational delivery of BBC services and the direction of BBC editorial and creative output in line with the framework set by the Trust.

Our job is to get the best out of the BBC for licence fee payers.

We set the strategic objectives for the BBC. We have challenged the BBC to:

increase the distinctiveness and quality of output;
improve the value for money provided to licence fee payers;
set new standards of openness and transparency; and
do more to serve all audiences.

We issue a service licence to every BBC service stating what we expect it to deliver and how much it can spend. We set the BBC’s editorial guidelines and protect the BBC’s independence. We monitor performance to ensure that the BBC provides value for money while staying true to its public purposes.

Here you can find out more about us, the decisions we have made and the way that we govern the BBC. Let us know if you have any feedback and comments.

It would seem the BBC Trust is not fit for purpose.

Aug 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Sad but very predictable they will fight tooth and nail with our money to stop this stuff getting out to those who pay for it !

Aug 17, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered Commentermat

Obviously time for a private member's bill to make the BBC a Public Authority.

Aug 17, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterDizzy Ringo

BBC = Ministry of Truth

We will all learn to love the Big Brother Corporation.

Aug 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Chris Patten is a senior advisor to the International Crisis Group which has lots of interesting names if you browse through. On the exec board are Mark Malloch-Brown, who helped to put to bed the "Oil for food" scandal, protecting Kofi Annan and Maurice Strong. Also on the board is George Soros, whose "Open Society" appears in many countries and is accused of fostering the colour revolutions. He also "owns" Human Rights Watch, with funding of $10 million a year. They are always there for a TV interview in any new conflict and are always the source of the "rape and pillage" stories, aimed at whichever dictator we are currently trying to unseat at the time.

Soros was a member of the EU high level climate finance panel with Nick Stern, indirectly referenced by Spartacusisfree in his link re Lehman Bros. More here:

This was Patten's take on AGW in 2010:
"Nor does a global solution to the challenge of climate change appear any closer. A few weeks of rain in Australia has emboldened those who think that global warming is a gigantic hoax perpetrated by the United Nations or conspiring scientists or maybe men from Mars."

The Government-NGO revolving door
E3G is a quasi-governmental organization in the UK, with constant interchange of staff between government and E3G. In the last couple of years staff numbers have mushroomed with the addition of young graduates plucked from the Universities AGW assembly line and transfers from NGO’s. It is unashamedly a proxy for the UK government in pushing government policy on coercing the UK into “Low Carbon Energy”. It boasts of being “funded by foundations, governments and NGOs.”, including Defra, DfID.

Founding Director John Ashton was appointed as Special UK Representative for Climate Change by Margaret Becket as Foreign Sec under the Labour Government. Until this year he was on secondment to the government from E3G, where he had previously been Chief Executive since its inception. He worked for Lord Chris Patten when Patten was Governor of Hong Kong and supervising the hand-over to China.

He claims to have played a key role in designing the FCO’s climate change network and strategy. He got a CBE in the 2012 Birthday Honours for "services to international climate change." He is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London, (Grantham Centre) and a Member of the Green College Centre for Environmental Policy and Understanding, (Crispin Tickell). He also happens to be on the advisory board of Ron Oxburgh's Climate Change Capital

Founding Director & Chief Executive Nick Mabey was a senior policy adviser to Tony Blair, and former Head of Sustainable Development in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Environment Policy department. Before he joined government, Mabey was Head of Economics and Development at WWF-UK

Tom Burke is a Founding Director of E3G, and Special Advisor to three Secretaries of State for the Environment from 1991-97 after serving as Director of the Green Alliance from 1982-91. Formerly Executive Director of Friends of the Earth and a member of the Executive Committee of the European Environmental Bureau 1988-91.

Shane Tomlinson is E3G’s Director of Development, prior to which he worked in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office.

Aug 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

It would seem the BBC Trust is not fit for purpose.
With Fat Pang at its head, Phillip, are you surprised? The people of Bath booted him out of the Commons in 92 and he's never looked back: Governor of Hong Kong, EU Commissioner, Chancellor of Oxford University ...
Remember that as an ex-EUcrat he is duty bound on pain of losing his pension to promote the glories of the EU at every opportunity or at the very least never get into a position which might be considered detrimental to its interests!

Aug 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

No I'm not surprised. One set of words for public consumption and a different set of objectives hidden from public scrutiny. A network of corruption runs through Government, the NGOs and the green groups.

Aug 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

DennisA, Many of these seem to be 'facilitators' rather than 'originators'. In a machine like this, there is interaction with press (propaganda), banks (laundering), NGOs (childhood education), government (legislation, regulation) and the judiciary (enforcement and workarounds of difficult cases). In a Ponzi scheme, these would be near the top of the pyramid, but the really hard names to find are those who set it up and sit at the peak. The rest, to a degree, are useful idiots who are at the beck and call for the reward of an occasional gong or title or smallish paper bag. But mostly, these are not the 'ideas' people, the ones who have to steer the pirate ship as the winds and tides change. I have some thoughts on the Mr Bigs and know a few people who are also interested in them. In time, they will be outed. I hope that they will have to give back ill-gotten gains and the proceeds of any crime.
My list has a centre of gravity around Germany. There are reasons for this. One is from a paper approved by the German Environment Ministry and probably well known beforehand to some of my Al Capones. Some quotes:
"Make no mistake: a new world order is emerging. The race for
leadership has already begun. For the winners, the rewards are clear: Innovation
and investment in clean energy technology will stimulate green growth; it will create
jobs; it will bring greater energy independence and national security."
"However, in the coming years green investment can be part of
a broader surge of investment. After the global crisis of 1929, such a surge of investment in
Europe as elsewhere was initiated by the perspective of military armament. Nowadays, this
is obviously not an option. However, after the financial crisis of 2007–08, the perspective
of sustainable development can mobilize investment in a similar way for a worthier purpose."

I'm interested in a list of the guys who fashion these concepts, more than in the ones who execute them. The Adolphs more than the Colonel Klinks.

Aug 17, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Would a privatized BBC have to answer under present UK rules?

Aug 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterAntonyIndia

Well we are entitled to draw appropriate conclusions from the BBC's desperation to conceal the information. After all, we have rather strong confirmation of rank bias from the inside, via the Sisson's 'When One Door Closes' revelations viz

'My interest in climate change grew out of my concern for the failings of BBC journalism in reporting it. In my early and formative days at ITN, I learned that we have an obligation to report both sides of a story. It is not journalism if you don’t. It is close to propaganda.

The BBC’s editorial policy on ­climate change, however, was spelled out in a report by the BBC Trust — whose job is to oversee the workings of the BBC in the interests of the public — in 2007. This disclosed that the BBC had held ‘a high-level 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’.

The error here, of course, was that the BBC never at any stage gave equal space to the opponents of the consensus.

But the Trust continued its ­pretence that climate change ­dissenters had been, and still would be, heard on its airwaves. ‘Impartiality,’ it said, ‘always requires a breadth of view, for as long as minority ­opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.’

In reality, the ‘appropriate space’ given to minority views on climate change was practically zero.

Moreover, we were allowed to know practically nothing about that top-level seminar mentioned by the BBC Trust at which such momentous conclusions were reached. Despite a Freedom of Information request, they wouldn’t even make the guest list public.

There is one brief account of the ­proceedings, written by a conservative commentator who was there. He wrote subsequently that he was far from impressed with the 30 key BBC staff who attended. None of them, he said, showed ‘even a modicum of professional journalistic ­curiosity on the subject’. None appeared to read anything on the subject other than the Guardian.'

Aug 17, 2012 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Varco -- I thing that you, and many others like you, really don't understand what the effect of removing the BBC license fee would have. If you think for one second that it would make the organization more responsive to its viewers, you are, if you will forgive me for saying so, living in a fantasy. All it would achieve would be to give external influences, those with most money, pretty much total control. You would be exchanging some control by a few internal radical elements for total control by uncontrollable commercial influences.

I was in the fortunate situation of being able to witness first-hand the coverage of the London Olympics by both the BBC and the American exclusive "distributor", NBC.

The most obvious difference was timing. NBC chose to tape-delay the whole event. Not as a convenience to their viewers, but simply to show it at prime-time in each US timezone -- at a time where advertising revenue was maximized.

The coverage was brutally edited, including the opening and closing ceremonies. NBC decided that they would prefer to air their own content rather than the tribute to the people who lost their lives in the London bombing (for example), the entry parade apparently had a new team entering the stadium at 4 second intervals -- except the US team, who somehow managed to get a much longer slot than anyone else. The closing ceremony had a one hour hole open up for NBC to slot in a pilot episode of a new series that they wanted to promote.

There are ads every 10 minutes. The same ads, over and over, maybe cute the first time around, but sickening the 500th time. They can't leave the filler between the ads alone either, pop-up garbage covering the lower 1/3 of the screen every few minutes, mostly promoting their own upcoming programming.

Then there are the "commentators" -- paid to speak, and,boy, do they speak ... the most inane drivel constantly spewing out without cease.

That is just the Olympic coverage. Normal programming is worse. Why do you think I, and millions like me, PAY to not watch some program when it is first aired, but wait until the next day, or longer, to grab a streaming version and watch it in peace with no ads, no pop-ups etc? I end up paying far more than a BBC license for the privilege of watching a complete program with no distractions.

By all means clean out the BBC.

By all means reduce the amount of money it gets so that it becomes less attractive to activists.

But DON'T remove its independence and leave it open to commercial greed.

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater...

Aug 17, 2012 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterPJP

@ Philip Bratby 10.23am: "set new standards of openness and transparency"

In other words, to set standards so low you can't read about them, you can only dig for them.

Aug 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJanet, Scottish Borders


The BBC hasn't been Independant for decades! These unelected, unaccountable goons answer to no I've but themselves! The simple fact is the entire organisation needs to be defunded immediately!

Secondly there is a very real and very big difference between the BBC and NBC, namely that no one is forced by the pain of imprisonment to pay for the NBC's out put. We have no choice here in the UK BUT to pay the TV licence EVEN if we choose to buy sky tv's services etc.


Aug 17, 2012 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

PJP, where's the baby? The BBC has long since lost any pretence of providing a public service in favour of soaps, gameshows, football and other populist rubbish. For the last few weeks they have dedicated 2 of their TV channels to the Olympics, a pointless spectacle. Their news programmes are superficial and biassed, the production standards pathetic. There is no justification for publically funding any of this. Commercial networks may have adverts, but at least you can DVR the progammes and skip the adverts.

Aug 17, 2012 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

No. you are wrong, you can't DVR something that they just decide not to show.
You *think* you know what you are talking about, but believe me, you really don't.

ITV is kept somewhat in line by the existence of the BBC, you REALLY don't want to experience anything like genuine commercial TV.

The BBC is fixable. It may take tar, feathers and a pitchfork, but it is fixable.

Do you really want to try to watch a film which is 2 hours long, but takes over three to show, with ads getting more and more frequent as you invest more and more time in watching, until its literally 5 minutes of film and 6 of ads towards the end??

The add in the inevitable beeping out of ANY language that ANY pressure group may find objectionable, plus blurring out of even a baby having its nappy changed, or a dog licking its privates?

You truly don't kow what you are wishing for.

Aug 18, 2012 at 1:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Peake

"The BBC exists to serve the public, and its mission is to inform, educate and entertain. The BBC Trust is the governing body of the BBC, and we make sure the BBC delivers that mission."

This reminds me of the opening lines of the mother of all books about the mass media, Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman:

The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda.
In countries where the levers of power are in the hands of a state bureaucracy, the monopolistic control over the media, often supplemented by official censorship, makes it clear that the media serve the ends of a dominant elite. It is much more difficult to see a propaganda system at work where the media are private and formal censorship is absent. This is especially true where the media actively compete, periodically attack and expose corporate and governmental malfeasance, and aggressively portray themselves as spokesmen for free speech and the general community interest. What is not evident (and remains undiscussed in the media) is the limited nature of such critiques, as well as the huge inequality in command of resources, and its effect both on access to a private media system and on its behavior and performance.

It should be noted that the authors do not distinguish between publicly and privately owned mass media in their critique, except that the propaganda system is less visible when the media is privately owned.

Aug 18, 2012 at 2:25 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

I don't really care, the notion that television is vital to human existance is not one I subscribe to. It's a form of entertainment, which does not require a public subsidy.

The BBC is full of its own self importance - see the intro to the News, thundering music and a logo which proclaims "Nation shall speak unto Nation" before launching into the nightly parade of trivia, celebrities, soundbites, football and Pointless Pieces to Camera. (frequently miscued).

Then there's what they have done to music broadcasting at the behest of the record industry.

The notion that its very existance "keeps ITV in line" is a desperate argument for its retention, conveniently unproveable, and is just another form of the "capitalism is evil / they are only in it for the money" meme commonly found in the comments section of warmist websites.

Aug 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

The comparison between bbc Olympic coverage and itv4 tour de France might be more I formative for uk viewers. Itv4 did an excellent job, showing 3-6 hours a day live plus a highlights programme for each day, better commentary (Olympic sailing commentary was cringeworthy) for the cost of 3 adverts per hour.

Commercial sport viewing can be on par with the BBC.

Like for like comparisons can be made for F1 and football highlights too in the uk.. There is little difference.

Aug 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJim m

I think the Bishop and Tony N know who attended this - the truth will come out in the end. It's just a case of what it will mean for the BBC and Harrabin.

Aug 18, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>