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« Stott and Shuck - the transcript | Main | Slingo writes to Lewis »

The startling foolishness of David Cameron

Take a look at this quote from our prime minister, Mr Cameron:

It’s worth looking at what this report this week says – that [there is a] 95 per cent certainty that human activity is altering the climate. I think I said this almost 10 years ago: if someone came to you and said there is a 95 per cent chance that your house might burn down, even if you are in the 5 per cent that doesn’t agree with it, you still take out the insurance, just in case.”

Do you see how he equates strong certainty that mankind is affecting the climate with strong certainty that this means disaster? This is a statement of such startling foolishness that it almost defies belief to hear it from someone who wields such power.

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Reader Comments (75)

The adjective 'dim' and the phrase 'as a Toc H lamp' come to mind........:0)

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

I'm a backwoods Tory. When I die you will find, "Maggie" engraved on my heart. She may have been wrong about global warming when in power, but after retirement she recanted much of what she had done. Since 2010, Cameron has left no stone unturned to display his foolishness to the World. It's worth remembering that this piece of primary school foolishness has been fed to him by the warmist establishment and reinforced by his wife, He is the sort of person who learns nothing and forgets nothing, Reason and Logic don't stand a chance. His most notable achievement to date is to halve the volunteer party membership. The man is a disgrace to Maggie's memory and an embarrassment to the Tory Party at large.

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Lohse

Call me Dave needs to follow that up with the cost of the premiums and the extent of any payout.

I wonder if he has seen the 50:1 video:

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

Cameron is the best advertisement for UKIP I can think of!

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave38

There's probably Sam Cam telling him what to say on behalf of FoE.

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The whole field depends on mushing categories and significances into a ball of meaningless pseudo intent

Once you see there is no desire to adhere to consistent comparative metrics - anywhere - and all the while at the same time pretending to be followers of scientific principles - then the comedy should be become clear. This isn't a sign of strength. There is a current hegemony of metro alarmist idiots, but this is something that just needs dispassionate clinical documenting during its inevitable fall. ;)

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Current green plans are like insurance... PPI. You don't think you need it, you're sure you don't want it, somebody else is making you pay for it and if the worst happens it'll be absolutely useless.

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Current green plans are like insurance... PPI.

Lol. Yeah, and be ready for your eternal spam and phone calls once they tell you, you were mi-sold for ever after :)

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:41 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

"even if you are in the 5 per cent that doesn’t agree with it, you still take out the insurance, just in case.”

Not when the insurance premium is more than the actual value of your house

You don't amputate your head off if you got an ear ache

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

The preening emperor, with slightly less than opaque clothing...

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterManniac

So someone comes and says "I'm 95 % certain you are going to be impaled by a flying pink unicorn, but luckily I just happen to have flying pink unicorn insurance for sale for the rock bottom of price of 95% of your current salary every year until you die." Cameron would buy it.

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF

I have to say I am gobsmacked that so many people in journalism and politics do not realise that the 95% figure is about the past rather than the future. I had not anticipated this would need explaining to people.

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt Ridley

First party dire and theft insurance

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF

If the Cameroon knew this 10 years ago, why is he still hugely funding the Met Office, Hadley Centre etc?

Sep 29, 2013 at 2:57 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Good point Matt Ridley

past performance is no guarantee of future results

and the '95%' number is purely subjective plucked out of the air so that numbskulls like Cameron will take comfort that their idiotic policies are based on some sort of scientific platform. As has been noted, the game the IPCC is playing is to get the politicians (aided and abetted by the BBC et al) to start spouting 'the science is settled nonsense' and calling citizens that question their nonsense 'flat-earthers', so they can continue on their crusade to return the developed world to an agrarian society. It is not going to happen in part due to the good offices of people such as you, Matt Ridley.

Keep up the good work

PS where did you find that picture Bish? Looks like he is trying to add 2 to 6 and has run out of fingers!

Sep 29, 2013 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

As I pointed out with respect to Lord Deben when he used the same argument at
the fire insurance argument shows a startling ignorance, not only of climate change, but also of of how insurance works.

Taking out fire insurance does not ensure that my house will not burn down; it reimburses me in the event that it does. Paying for useless windmills does not reimburse me in the case of flood, hurricane, or drought caused by anthropogenic climate change. It is supposed to make the said floods, hurricanes or droughts less likely (on average, other things being equal) over a period of a century or two, than they would otherwise have been, given always that other countries follow our example and institute similar measures.
Cameron adds an extra layer of stupidity to his argument by asserting that even if you don’t agree, you’re bound to agree.

Sep 29, 2013 at 3:20 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

But aren't the 3 main leaders all as bad as each other?

Cameron may be sold on agw but he's nothing compared to the stark-raving climate bonkers Clegg, and Miliband E is more responsible for high energy prices than any single person in the UK, having pushed through the CC Act when Energy minister.

As others have said, for this reason (never mind a dozen other issues that would be O/T) alone it's UKIP.

Sep 29, 2013 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

"This is a statement of such startling foolishness ...": if anyone who lived through the Blair years finds such foolishness at all startling, he must not have been paying attention.

Sep 29, 2013 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Why does anyone expect anything more than PR puff from a PR man?

Sep 29, 2013 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

If there was a 95% chance of your house burning down, only an idiot would insure you. And only an even bigger idiot would suggest that you search for such an idiot. And it would require an even bigger idiot to believe him.

Sep 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Remember, all he cares about are votes. As glubull warming vanishes with the sunspots he will adjust his story. At least Osborne gets it.

Sep 29, 2013 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Did Bob Ward say "if someone came to you and said there is a 95 per cent chance that teenagers might break a window in your house, even if you are in the 5 per cent that doesn’t agree with it, you still hire 24-hour security just in case."

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

People like Alistair Campbell and his ilk decided many years ago that we, the public, are thick, only have attention spans lasting mere seconds and must have simple phrases repeated often. Of course he was wrong, just thought he knew better, as always.

Therefore politicians no longer "do" nuance at all. That explains the apparent conundrum - that they are all terribly well educated, mainly posh, from the higher ups, but sound like idiots every time they open their mouths.

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

What david Cameron is implying here is that if someone told him
there was a 95%chance that his house would burn down, he would
believe it and take out insurance.
Does he not have advisers whose job it is to stop him from putting
his own foot in his mouth.

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Roger Longstaff,

I'm not so sure it's quite that simple. So much has been invested in this that he'd find it hard to drop it, especially since there are so many influential bodies supporting it e.g. the BBC. The best he'll do is a toning down of it. It also ties in with the EU.

Conceivably, the Conservatives in opposition with a new leader could drop it completely, but once again, it ties in with the EU and that's a subject where the Conservatives have never had a clear and honest view and have peddled a completely dishonest reform line for years.

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Yup, it's people like 'our Dave' who keep those insurance companies going that try to sell you 'extra cover' when you buy a £10 toaster, for just £30 a year!!
No wonder government spending is so vast.

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

Steve McIntyre,

In that case Bob Ward is wasted where he is. He should become a salesman for 24 hour security services. With a patter like that how could he fail?

Well, apart from the fact that 24 hour security services cost a fortune in comparison to replacing a window, and anyway, most people would want a better reason to believe the risk existed than the words of a honey-tongued rascal like Ward.

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

I know how you can be 95% certain of winning the lottery; does anyone
want to know how much it will cost?

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Is Cameron typical of an Eton education or is he a one off A*** H***?

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

If someone came to you and said there is a 95 per cent chance that your house might burn down unless you hand over your wallet to them - you pay up, just in case !

or more realistically

If someone came to you and said that in 500 years time there is a 95 per cent chance that your house might burn down unless you go and live in a tent in the garden and eat vegetables. What do you do ?

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

George Osborne might appear to "get it" but that didn't stop him upping the carbon tax in the last budget.

Mr Osborne is this week expected to reveal an increase in the “top-up” tax faced by UK power generators for their carbon emissions under the Carbon Price Floor, meaning British business could face significantly higher costs than those in Europe.

Sep 29, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

"Mr Osborne is this week expected to reveal an increase in the “top-up” tax faced by UK power generators for their carbon emissions under the Carbon Price Floor, meaning British business could face significantly higher costs than those in Europe."

Not a chance, IMHO. Even now Cameron and Osborne are re-writing their conference speeches to scrap "green taxes". (I hope!)

Sep 29, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

So is he saying the purpose of insurance is to prevent an accident or catastrophic event?

I know of no insurance company that advertises on that basis, and I suspect if there were one, the regulators would be very interested.

Can you imagine? Give us your money and you won't have a fire.

Sep 29, 2013 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

Cameron appears tired and devoid of any new ideas apart from upsetting his own backwoodsmen ( of which I am not). He had a golden opportunity here to take on the IPCC and confound Ed Miliband's price fixing gamble of last week by stating quite clearly that fracking would bring down bills as they have done in the US. It is only his own hubris which stops him making a U turn and it will be interesting to see if Osborne takes a clear line on energy. Both main parties UK could well lose their pygmy leaders before the general election of 2015.

Sep 29, 2013 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband should remember the 3 little pigs story........

"Let me in , let me in" cried the wolf

"Or I'll huff and I'll puff till I blow your house in"

"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin" said the pigs.

Well, the wolf huffed and puffed but he could not blow down that brick house.

But the wolf was a sly old wolf and he climbed up on the roof to look for a way into the brick house.

The little pig saw the wolf climb up on the roof and lit a roaring fire in the fireplace and placed on it a large kettle of water. When the wolf finally found the hole in the chimney he crawled down and KERSPLASH right into that kettle of water and that was the end of his troubles with the big bad wolf.

The next day the little pig invited his mother over . She said "You see it is just as I told you. The way to get along in the world is to do things as well as you can." Fortunately for that little pig, he learned that lesson. And he just lived happily ever after!

Sep 29, 2013 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

Not to mention Dave's idiocy regarding trying to keep another housing bubble (collapse in land affordability) from popping.

Sep 29, 2013 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

He's obviously been taking lessons in stupidity from Ed Davey. Two peas in a pod.

Sep 29, 2013 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

What would the premium for an insurance policy against something with a 95% chance of happening?

It would probably be cheaper just to deal with it when it happens then you avoid the insurance industry costs + profit. Only a person whose objective was to feed the insurance industry with other people's money would bother to insure against a near certainty.

Sep 29, 2013 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

John M

Give us your money and you won't have a fire.
There are some insurance companies that work on that basis but I don't think they care very much what the regulator thinks. The police, yes - provided you can get anyone to talk.

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:07 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@Roger - it's already happened, it was in this year's budget.

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:17 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

Dear Mr Cameron

If you had to pay billions of pounds on insurance… Sorry I’ll start again, if the people you are meant to represent, had to pay billions of pounds on insurance against catastrophic climate change, wouldn’t you, as their leader, have a really good look at the science yourself? It would only take you half an hour on the internet, looking in the right places!.

Then perhaps, you may be in a better position to help the humble people you are supposedly "doing your best for" from paying these enormous and unnecessary sums. In doing so, by changing a policy or two, you could even save the lives of a few, fuel poverty stricken people at the same time.

Oh, by the way, I guarantee 100% the UK has had a downward trend of temperatures for the last 20 years. Well, according to the data available at the UKMO. (UKMO is the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, just in case you were not aware of that acronym)

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

Martyn wrote
Is Cameron typical of an Eton education or is he a one off A*** H***?

Hopefully just a one/few off. I know one or two OEs who are sceptics - self included...

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

And they wonder why people are going to vote UKIP??!!

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Obviously he had the advantage of a classical education.

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

... even if you are in the 5 per cent that doesn’t agree with it, you still take out the insurance, just in case.

Quite right Mr. Cameron--finally someone who gets it. And since we understand each other, can I be the one who sells you the policy? It costs more than your annual income, does nothing to protect your house and pays nothing in the event of fire. Where should I send the paperwork?

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss McKitrick

NeilC, you say "I guarantee 100% the UK has had a downward trend of temperatures for the last 20 years. Well, according to the data available at the UKMO".

I am aware that UK temperatures have been falling for several years, but do you have a reference for 20 years?

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Call me Dave should take a long & hard look at what happened in tbe Australian general election. Clinging onto manifestly false and bad greeny/warmist policies is electoral suicide.

Sep 29, 2013 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon


Yes, the CET as administered by the UKMO. I have plotted each year from 1974 (when the MO assumed responsibility for the record) to 2012 (last full year) if you do this you will also find there has been a downward trend each year since 1992.

Sep 29, 2013 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC


Its in unfriendly .txt format but what do you expect, a nice easy .xls file!

Sep 29, 2013 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

That 95% certain does that mean that in every 100 universes there are 95 in which humans cause global warming and in 5 they do not?

Sep 29, 2013 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMindert Eiting

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