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Ed Davey on Sunday Politics

Ed Davey was given a pretty thorough interrogation by Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics today. Well worth a look, and probably due-a-line by line examination as well.

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Reader Comments (157)

Wow. You obviously did a great job when you ran into Mr Neil chairing that event the other month, Bish.

The difference between Neil and Hasan this weekend is so stark as to make one wonder if there may not be a future for our state broadcaster after all, in some shape or other.

As you say, worth a line by line analysis but utter respect to the professionalism and research of the BBC interviewer in this case. And for sticking to the one subject - until near the end he came to the cool £400bn Mr Davey is planning to toss down the drain on our behalf. The only obvious error was a slip of the tongue - talking of 3 percent or 1 percent, rather than degrees K (increase in globally averaged temperature anomaly - again the two a words are never mentioned but should be).

As I've said on the recent Lindzen thread none of us is going to be optimal on live telly. But this was way better than any such encounter I've seen for years. Another pointer to a change in the intellectual climate.

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:24 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Bow your head and shade your eyes from the light that doth shine from the one amp Davey Lamp!

The person I have just watched is more akin to a zealot with a cause than a politician looking to securing the well being of citizens.

Deluded is one step away from committed.

Thanks for this Mr Neil, for the opportunity to see the true light of the Davey Lamp!

Jeez! A UK Minister quoting a discredited survey from a blog authored by a cartoonist? That questions not only his intelligence but also his integrity.

A rather succinct assessment came from somebody very close to me who having watched (not by choice) - "That man has the brain of a pea!"

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:36 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I started to watch this interview, caught it by accident, but after 5 mins of continuous lies and BS from Davey and Neil not quite asking the really penetrating questions, I had to turn it off. Davey just makes me sick.

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards


I have to agree with Richard Drake, this was a fantastic performance by Neil and he really put Davey on the spot, so much more of this please. If the Bish had any input to this performance then congratulations indeed.
Davey constantly tried to question why Neil only asked him about surface temperature when there was so much evidence that the oceans were warming? Sadly Neil did not/could not answer/discuss that but the whole point is that it is surface temperature that has been at the heart of CAGW. Sadly I do not even know if there is a record of ocean temperatures over any substantial timescale.

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:44 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Neil has been on our case fro some time and can be a very penetrating interviewing. As Richard D says a better encounter than for soem time but few Brit will see Davey as a plonker as a result of this interview. It is more likely that they will not like Neil for being so 'rude' to a minister.
The UK is a very sad place to be.

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

If ever there was a case of briefing akin to "Yes Minister" then this was it. Davey stuck to his line, given by his Spad - and seemed oblivious to the question. Andrew Neil did his usual demolition of a politician and it strikes me at least that Mr Neil is rather more partisan on this issue than others. His evidence comes from blogs such as this and the GWPF which is indicative of the turmoil within government. Secretly, I believe that the government realizes the folly of its present policy but is unable to cope with such a loss of face,that face being mainly composed of well meaning but dim witted Lib Dems such as Davey. each answer was a political one and the poor man was incapable of appreciating much of the stupidity which was coming from his mouth.

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones


Surely this is an opportunity for the Conservatives to distance themselves from Davey's lunatic policies while explaining that the coalition agreement prevents them from currently changing policy. UKIP have already established their climate skeptic credentials with their own energy policy.

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Davey is an officious, condescending santimonious and insufferable weasel. Excuse me while I go take a shower now

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean Peake


His evidence comes from blogs such as this and the GWPF which is indicative of the turmoil within government. Secretly, I believe that the government realizes the folly of its present policy but is unable to cope with such a loss of face ...

I agree with this. But with the current energy bill the current incumbents can still do great damage. I'm not sure how much Ed Davey himself understands but I don't need to know that. We can see things are changing.

As far as the average viewer is concerned I think the situation is better than Stephen Richards describes. One is never going to achieve 100% conversion rate but I would expect those stumbling across this piece to have a higher one - conversion from convinced to searching, I mean - than any such one-on-one piece since The Great Global Warming Swindle on Channel 4 in March 2007. (Not that Swindle was a one-on-one but this will be more effective than anything in this format for over six years, in my view.)

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:04 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Self-serving, delusional,... patronising,...... boring ......... Zzzz. Gosh, sorry, nearly dropped off there!

I have heard much bull-excreta from many Morons over the years. But Davey?

WALOOC (What a load of old Cobblers)

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterYertizz

Andrew Neil on Twitter
Please, anybody, give me one factual error that was presented to Ed Davey this morning. Some people have just stopped thinking.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterarthur

I hope this will inspire more journalists to take a more aggressive line with the disciples, the dupes, the circus-masters, and the high priests of the carbon dioxide alarm movement. Their faith is reduced to catch-phrases such as 'no regrets policy', or 'what about everything else' when the rising air temperatures with which the movement was launched and upon which the most massive promotions of alarm were based, stopped rising.

Journalists will hopefully be a little faster to realise that the 'everything else' is also unconvincing as evidence to warrant alarm. Davey is no more than a balloon filled with the catch-phrases and enough hot air with which to expel them roughly at the right times, and he will fill up with another set in due course as and when the political tides turn.

Let us hope for more journalists sharp enough to prick balloons in this subject area, rather than, to mix the metaphor a little, help launch them or sell them to the public. Thereby treating the public with contempt, and failing to aspire to even the foothills of the investigative journalism which once upon a time seemed to be an aspiration in that profession.

Andrew Neil is a credit to that profession, not just for this interview in which I thought he did a good job in raising questions which were sharp and quite penetrating, while at the same time treating the Minister with respect and giving him plenty of time to speak his pieces.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:19 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

There is no way on this earth that the interview would have been allowed to have been conducted ten or so years ago on the BBC. That is not to say that they are changing their stance by any means, in fact the reverse is true but I suspect Neil is blessed with such clout if they tried to rein him in there might be something of a bust up.
Neil stands supreme in respect to his critical analysis and combative stance. Paxman is yesterdays man and there really is no other that we can rely on to pose the right questions.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Bob Ward on Twitter

.@afneil you falsely asserted that effects of greenhouse gases only really "kicked in" after 1980, and @eddaveykands corrected you.

.@afneil You falsely asserted that there is no consensus among climate scientists that human activities are driving global warming.

.@afneil You falsely implied that temperature should rise continuously due to greenhouse gases regardless of natural variability.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:29 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

You could see the line of retreat being prepared through the argument that many (all?) of the actions being taken were good in any case and not necessarily expensive (although that last seems very improbable). It will be very interesting to witness the point at which this line of argument meets the pressure for 80 percent decarbonisation. We might then get a sensible debate on the intrinsic merits of the green agenda finally divorced from claim and counter-claim about global temperature. Personally, I think Davey would lose that argument.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan kennedy

It would be fun to look at the transcript. My first listen suggests that Davey frequently contradicted the IPCC and the Met Office, his supposed advisers.

Davey also claimed that most the 112 pound rise in average energy bills is because of the policy against energy policy. I would have thought that energy poverty is better combated by reduced energy prices.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

I watched the whole, terrible performance.....

Andrew Neil asks "Please, anybody, give me one factual error that was presented to Ed Davey this morning". Here is the easiest one - Davey said that the ice caps in the arctic and the antarctic were melting, while the fact is that (during the satellite record) ice in the antarctic has been INCREASING, and global ice cover has been more or less static (see WUWT ice cover page). There were many, many others - Go for it chaps (and chapesses).

As a scientist I would make only two points, that I do not think can be falsified:

1. There is no empirical evidence to support the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

2. General circulation models (GCMs) have proven themselves to have no predictive power at all.

On the second point, in Parliament a statement was made by Baroness Verma (Parliamentary Question HL1080): "General circulation models developed by the Met Office are continually reassessed against observations and compared against international climate models through workshops and peer reviewed publications. The validity of general circulation modelling has been established for over four decades, as evident in the peer-reviewed literature. Such models are further developed in light of improvements in scientific understanding of the climate system and technical advances in computing capability.”

I have wtitten to the Met Offics and asked them to supply me with the references to the evidence in the peer-reviewed literature that have established the validity of general circulation modelling for over four decades.

Guess what? - no answer. And all that I wanted were references!

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

I don't think Neill has a sufficient grasp of the subject. He failed to point out the logarithmic effect of rising CO2 on temperature. Davey has verbal incontinence - a sure sign that he is uncertain of his facts and is concerned that Neill may trip him up. Neill should have had Monckton in the studio as well.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterferdinand

I don't think we will see Davey accepting his invite back to the politics show to discuss sea temperatures, sea level rises and ice loss. In fact, I can see the Lib Dems avoiding Neil like the plague from now until the end of parliament.

This interview was unusual because it is the first mainstream example of the BBC questioning the established view of climate science. However, Andrew Neil cannot be the only voice - hopefully other journalists will now take more interest in the arguments.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al


You could see the line of retreat being prepared through the argument that many (all?) of the actions being taken were good in any case and not necessarily expensive (although that last seems very improbable).

Our real concern should be that the very expensive is about to be locked in by long term contracts for difference and in the worst case, by giving unfair advantages to wind and other phony-cronyism, these will drive out the opportunity for something like shale gas to come to our aid and blessing as a nation. It's a great moment for Andrew Neil to do what he did. But restoring sanity has to remain a team effort, because there is much detail to master and so little time to put the most harmful policies right.

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:49 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

To Andrew Neil: references to sea ice cover can be found here:

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Roger, Andrew was asking if he Andrew Neil had made any errors. I think he knows where to research for the next round with the minister in a month on two. Was there anything he himself got wrong?

Jul 14, 2013 at 6:56 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

@Richard Drake

Yes, you may be right. But this green nonsense was set in motion when the UK energy situation really did look desperate (I have always assumed this was because Blair thought he could not carry his party over nuclear power, but I could well be wrong). The situation is radically changed now and politicians can smell prosperity along with the shale gas. I am old enough to remember the way political attitudes altered when North Sea oil was discovered - it simply changed everything, more or less overnight. So I am not as pessimistic as you, but I do appreciate that it will be a close run thing.

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan kennedy

Thanks Richard.

Memo to self - do not post when hopping bloody mad!

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Richard Tol:

Davey also claimed that most the 112 pound rise in average energy bills is because of the policy against energy policy [poverty]. I would have thought that energy poverty is better combated by reduced energy prices.

Pity about the wrong word there Richard because it's the simplest and most vital point of all. Thanks be for an economist who isn't so sophisticated as to miss it.

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:01 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Watching and listening to Davey made me feel physically ill. The man is clearly on a mission, having been fed BS, lies, half truths and wishful thinking by the useless Met Office and his army of SpAds, not to mention the entire green army of activists and nutters. His belief in Cook's crazy 97% rubbish was a good indicator of the man's intelligence.

It is terrifying that this man is in charge of our energy policy.

It is amazing that the vast majority of the public is still unaware of the way he is squandering billions on insane policies. Even though he is a Lib Dim, I could never vote for Cameron or his party for tolerating such a hugely expensive and destructive policy of madness.

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

alan: I'm prepared to compete on the optimism stakes, just give me a bit of time. :) There's already the smell of prosperity I agree. But politicians can mess such a valid goal up greatly if they interfere with markets. With the CAGW delusion has come a return to a pre-Thatcher, pre-Lawson, pre-historic commitment to such foolish, elitist meddling. Meanwhile those that stand to benefit from the easy money of the contracts for difference are licking their chops and are far too much in bed with the men and women of DECC, from what I can see. As you say, a close run thing.

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:05 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Wow he really does not have a clue - the regurgitation of the worst arguments possible. The alarmists have done a great job filling his empty head with drivel.

Hohoho the 97% again! I cannot believe the stupidity!

Why is it he reminds me of Mitch in Supercar?

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfusedphoton

I don't think that the video can be seen outside the UK. I just get a "Not available in your area" message across the screen. A transcript would be a wonderful thing...

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuub Bakker

It is now on YouTube as "Ed Davey feels the heat"

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Davey is a zealot incapable of assessing the ebvidemxe. And for the benefit of ZDB, how dare you support this 97% lie. Andrew Neil pointed out that 35% of the replies had been wrongly categorised so can we have less of your partisan absurdities.,

The days are number4d for you and the rest of the CO2 religion nutters....:0).

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

I was disappointed that Andrew Neil did not challenge Davey when he parroted the extreme weather event baloney - opportunities for killer graphics missed

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterfilbert cobb

filbert: I disagree. Neil did challenge the extreme event baloney by saying Davey had it wrong. But just once. His biggest strength was he didn't get diverted from his main point, about the temperature standstill and how it calls the models into question. This took a great deal of discipline and, to my mind, came out of his considerable experience as a broadcaster. It isn't as easy as it looks (and to me it doesn't look easy - but I'm sure it's much harder than that!)

For me this was something close to a masterclass in how to use twelve minutes with a slippery minister of state on an extremely complex subject. And he got to the £400 billion being poured down the drain, with knobs on, at the end. I can't speak too highly of what Andrew Neil achieved here.

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:31 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Monkton should add clips of this in the Skeptic video he is involved with. Some cracking drivel to show how little Ed Davey actually knows!

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfusedphoton

confusedphoton: Good point. Monckton and others should make very good use of this. Let the remixes and mashups commence :)

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Rage, rage and elevated blood pressure. Good on Andrew Neil but what can you do when confronted by barefaced lies?

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilhippos

The bit that I couldn't believe was when he said that the physics of CO2 in the atmosphere was "uncontestable". I ended up posting on Twitter for Mr Davey to direct me to the lab tests where forcing was tested.

I's not going to change anything

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Having calmed down a little (after several large doses of "medicine") I agree with Richard Drake - Andrew Neil did a sterling job! He has the gravitas of Lawson and the tenacity of Paxo. Also, he does not suffer fools gladly. Bring on the next round!

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Not even an idiot would take Mr Davey seriously, surely? He spouted unsubstantiated claptrap, over and over. I wonder what interest he has in clinging to his delusions?

Jul 14, 2013 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Dickson


The Earth is self regulating ... to keep surface tmperature within narrow bands independently of factors such as ...

If we leave aside what is in the dots I strongly agree. The history of the world as we know it and the evolution of life, even sentient life that is able to do science and begin to formulate such ideas ... this for me is massive evidence for something of this kind.

How this truly incredible system is regulated I'm not convinced that anyone understands. I tend to want to thank someone more intelligent than me who does understand at that point but that's a whole different story.

Whatever our metaphysics, we should take care not to overstate how much we understand of the mechanism. A wicked problem, as they say. That Mr Ed Davey and not a few others need to grasp and deeply.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:03 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Jul 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

Secretly, I believe that the government realizes the folly of its present policy but is unable to cope with such a loss of face,that face being mainly composed of well meaning but dim witted Lib Dems such as Davey.

I can never understand why politicians are so worried about losing face. Most of them have several to spare.
And Davey would sink the entire country to save his.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

I think Andrew Niel did a very good job in the circumstance he was presented with. If you read this Andrew well done. A few points for the future.
1. Try the "Bolt" question (attributed to Andrew Bolt and Australian journalist and Global Warming sceptic).
If the Uk Meets its CO2 reduction targets 2050 and 2100 by how much will it reduce the Global
(This illustrates just how futile the UK and EU efforts will be even if the predictions are correct and emphasize the cost, which YOU had right not Davey's spin. (The answer is a minuscule amount but I sure someone on this blog can supply the figure).

2. Theory "The increase in Global temperature is MAINLY cause by the CO2 in the atmosphere created by
man burning fossil fuel.
Test Global Temperature Anomaly has not increased for 17 years but CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have increased at the same rate. Therefore by an empirical test the theory FAILS man-made CO2 emissions cannot be the MAIN cause. The answer MUST be in the Sun and natural cycles.

If you can arrange it put Ed Davey against a well reputed climate scientist who is a good communicator e.g.
Prof, Bob Cater author of "TAXING THE AIR" well worth reading.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

AlecM: I'd still support a deletion in this thread of any such details. But I did want to highlight some common ground that Ed Davey and many others should know about.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Ross Lea: the first question is a very good one. I'd give a wide berth to the second.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:19 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I personally find it annoying that Davey pleads in aid of the nonsense he spouts the futures of my children and grandchildren. Left to him their futures are far less bright.

He really is an embarrassment on so many levels.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

I've just finished watching this having idly followed a link on James Delingpole's blog from a commenter rejoicing in the name of UncleTits saying 'If anyone wants to see Andrew Neil kick Ed Davey's ass then look here'

UncleTits does not disappoint.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:22 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Richard Drake

Thank you for you comment. Can you or any other contributer enlighten me as to the problem with my second question. (I am genuinely interested in considered responses as I often use this and if there is a major flaw in my assumption I want to know it).

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

The faces of the three political correspondents studio panel at the end of the interview were a study. Janan Ganesh tweeted that "This isn't an interview, it's a cross-examination". He said later this was a good thing.

On most topics Andrew can just referee because politicians disagree, but on this subject there is almost unanimity, so Andrew stepped into the breach.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

I know I keep saying this but it was evident in the video that Ed Davey is clinging to the precautionary principle to keep himself and his supporters on message. The same old false analagy used by Paul Nurse when he appeared talking to James delingpole just keeps popping uplike a bad penny.
I would like someone to create a comprehensive explanation showing just how ridiculous this argument really is. Somebody... please.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Ross: very briefly (sorry but been here a long time by now!) the problem with the way you stated the second question is twofold. The most important is that the current standstill doesn't prove it's the Sun wot done it. Nothing like. I'm not going to try and justify that statement, but that's my strong view. The second is that Andrew Neil already did a good job today with one crucial point arising from the standstill - whether and at what point GCMs (General Circulation Models) have been invalidated by it.

The other key point Neil didn't I think mention explicitly (but was highly implicit) is whether climate sensitivity is lower than the IPCC has been saying. The standstill is likely to contribute to a lower estimate for sensitivity but there are complexities aplenty there.

Some sceptics are sure it is the Sun that drives average surface temperature anomaly. Some like Martin A (who I respect a lot) think sensitivity is a worthless concept. I tend to fall back on a Steve Mosher-like argument on that, that it's the best way we have of talking about the problem, a linear first-cut (eg here). Nic Lewis has a lot to offer if so. (Maybe start here or get the BBC spin here.)

I'm trying to say that there are many different views. And I've given you mine. First question good, second misguided and Bob Carter a good chap and a decent communicator, as you say. Hope that gives you some places to look.

Jul 14, 2013 at 8:41 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

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