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« Is underlying warming only 0.8 degrees per century? | Main | Precipitation - steady as she goes »

Letts laugh at the BBC

Quentin Letts account of the way the BBC handled the complaint over his letting sceptics appear on his radio programme about the Met Office is very funny.

First, an apology. Thanks to me, all journalists at BBC Radio’s ethics and religion division are being sent for indoctrination in climate change. Sorry. In July I made a short Radio 4 programme with them called What’s the Point of the Met Office?, which accidentally sent orthodox warmists into a boiling tizzy.

Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (45)

I'll confess Letts isn't one of my favourite commenters - his humour obfuscates his message - but I'd like to see more.
Is he at liberty to publish the 'enormous draft report from the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee'. If it's what he says, would be worth seeing.

Mr Harrabin's position is also ripe for EXTREME investigation. He has assumed a pivotal role in the MSM's fixed narrative of the global warming issue, and will no doubt figure prominently in the history, when it can finally be written. With the right investigative reporting, it should be much more relevant to look at Mr Harrabin's associations and meetings than to look at Exxon's. I'm a very reluctant conspiracy theorist, but it does seem that comparisons to the Galileo episode, and the Inquisition, are not entirely without merit.

Dec 4, 2015 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered Commentermothcatcher

The BBC and climate change .... Just heard G Monbiot on R4 Question Time declaring that we have not got "climate change", we have "climate breakdown" no less. The BBC luvvies in the audience lapped it up.

The BBC is far bigger and far more dominant than any other media company in the UK, and no wonder - it has a guaranteed income stream from the TV tax so it does not have to go out looking for its bread and butter, unlike other businesses. In exchange it is supposed to be impartial. It isn't of course, as illustrated by how many Guardian journalists it uses in comparison to those from other newspapers; plus its well known biases in favour of "climate breakdown", the EU, Labour (remember the champagne bottles after Blair's election?), etc.

By all means Letts laugh at the BBC, but let's also remember how powerful it is, how biased, how un-reformable it is, and how the only ammunition we have got is to stop paying the TV tax because nothing else has worked.

Dec 4, 2015 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

From across the pond, it appears his critique is quite devastating. Hope you all can put it to good use. Regards.

Dec 4, 2015 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Do you mean 'The so called BBC'

Dec 4, 2015 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

The BBC should be defunded. It is breaking its own Charter. Nest of activists spouting bias. Shameful.

Dec 4, 2015 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Did anyone else see Piers Corbyn on This Week last night.

He described the fraud of AGW and showed a graph of actual vs 120+ models. Neil clearly a bit worried by what he had done. Portaloo was more positive about scepticism - not fully convinced by the warmists.

Alan Johnson squirmed a bit and said that knowing the item was to come up had been to House of Commons Library to seek 'accurate information' and had been told the 97% of all scientists believed it was true so who was he to argue.

Worth a look.

Dec 4, 2015 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterphilhippos

Torquemada Harrabin and the BBC wouldn't recognise impartiality if it ran them over in the high street.

The great irony is that Letts' program What’s the Point of the Met Office? was in July.
In August, the Met Office confirmed that they had lost the BBC weather forecasting contract.

Dec 4, 2015 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Hopefully Harrabin will get the instruction to Yentob off. It would seem more polite than dragging the BBC into further disrepute.

Dec 5, 2015 at 2:04 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

BBC and ethics. Now there's an oxymoron.

"Cardinal Harrabin". I must remember to use that one, together with "The so-called BBC".

Dec 5, 2015 at 7:01 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Dr Piers Corbyn is in this vid at just after 26 mins: (betting money against the MO on the weather)

The Great Global Warming Swindle

Dec 5, 2015 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Piers Corbyn at BBC This Week - Andrew Neil:

via G. Fawkes:

Dec 5, 2015 at 7:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Whatever happened to "free speech"? If someone thinks the Met Office is naff, as far as I can tell, they can say so, even on the BBC. That the Met Office is supported in their views by a majority of scientists doesn't confer any authority on them without evidence. As there are no symptoms of the "disease" they have no evidence for their views. What's more their prognostications are as valid as mine i.e. worthless, no one can foretell the future.

I have said this right from the very beginning, we should have accepted the word of Jim Hansen and piled the £bns we've put into climate science research into the development of new energy sources. If we'd have done that on day 1 we'd have had £bns spent already and made a damn sight more progress in solving the problem than we have to date - if there is a problem that is.

To be fair the Met Office didn't make any complaint themselves (although a phone call to Harrabin isn't out of the question I suppose), but they are playing with fire. So far the democratic process has made politicians cautious of introducing the sort of dash for renewables the greens and their scientific supporters in the Met Office have been pushing, we can only hope it continues until we have a freezing cold spell and this rubbish is dumped in the dustbin of history.

What next? Speaking against Climate Change orthodoxy a criminal offence? Why not?

Dec 5, 2015 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Seen on G Fawkes comments below above BBC This Week link:

Kevin Ronald Lohse R M • 11 hours ago

Meteorologists like Anthony Watts, who runs the most successful climate blog by a country mile? Piers was right about plate tectonic theory BTW, as those of us old enough to remember the issue in the news will attest.

3 • Reply•Share ›

R M Kevin Ronald Lohse • 8 hours ago
Hahaha, that's how you measure scientific merit? The popularity of a blog?
You've completely discredited yourself.

• Reply•Share ›

Dec 5, 2015 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Shrug, Yawn. Sucks to be you.

Dec 5, 2015 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila

Keelhaul Klimate Katastrophists and their Bolleaux Broadcasting Korporation Krew.

Dec 5, 2015 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

You can read the Trust report at
Some extracts:

An early decision that the programme should not include discussion of climate change was not adequately recorded

There was a misunderstanding that the requirement for due impartiality was met by including one Conservative MP and one Labour MP and a failure to recognise that divergent opinions about climate science cross party lines.

The programme would not be repeated in any form.

All programme makers in Religion and Ethics’ radio department would complete the BBC Academy's Impartiality online training module, which included a substantial scenario on reporting climate change science.

Dec 5, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

The report seems to place total reliance on the claim that "most scientists" are Alarmists. This is simply not true. In any event, so what? Science is not decided by consensus (the opposite in fact since science can only progress by challenging the consensus).

So we have a furore based on a lie and a misapplication of how science works. And we are the bad guy?

Dec 5, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterTim Hammond

I see from the Times via the GWPF that the BBC Trust has ordered that the programme should be deleted from iPlayer. Now that is real sour grapes.

Will they be ordering the burning of all printed copies of the script? A public bonfire shown on "the Ten" news would be about right.

Dec 5, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterScottR

Having established to its own satisfaction that a humorous radio programme has no right to challenge the science, they then spend a page or two on establishing what the science is by quoting, not the IPCC, but the House of Commons’ Select Committee for Energy and Climate Change.

There are, as there ever will be, uncertainties in the science, but these uncertainties do not blur the overwhelmingly clear picture of a climate system changing as a result of human influence.
The implications of the report for policy-makers in the UK are simple: there is no scientific basis for downgrading the UK's ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is imperative that this message is also understood by the international community. The Government must renew its commitment to achieve a global deal on climate change.
It's difficult to be clearer than that. A humorous programme has been suppressed (“the programme would not be repeated in any form.”) for political reasons.

Dec 5, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Let it not be forgotten that the 30 (not 28!) "best experts" who advised the BBC on impartiality in climate change reporting in January 2006 were:

Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director,
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

Dec 5, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Good to be reminded of the BBC's Committee of Climate Safety. Three of them were from religious organisations (CofE and Tearfund.) That's 10% of their best climate advice. (Maybe the BBC still pays tithes?) Letts previously did a programme about the Archbishop of Canterbury without incurring the wrath of the Trust.

Dec 5, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Further to my last post, I have just revisited the 2007 BBC Trust Report, From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel, Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st Century.

They actually claimed that it was “some of the best scientific experts” who had advised them! Make your own judgment.

Below is an extract from page 40 of the report. How does it sit with its recent behaviour?

“The BBC has 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. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC’s role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as ‘flat-earthers’ or ‘deniers’, who ‘should not be given a platform’ by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space. ‘Bias by elimination’ is even more offensive today than it was in 1926. The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them. The BBC’s best contribution is to
increase public awareness of the issues and possible solutions through impartial and accurate programming. Acceptance of a basic scientific consensus only sharpens the need for hawk-eyed scrutiny of the arguments surrounding both causation and solution. It remains important that programme-makers relish the full range of debate that such a central and absorbing subject offers, scientifically, politically and ethically, and avoid being misrepresented as standard-bearers. The wagon wheel remains a model shape. But the trundle of the bandwagon is not a model sound.”

Impartial? McGrath? Harrabin?

Dec 5, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

If anyone has been brought into disrepute here it is the BBC Trust itself. Harrabin is already beyond parody, a steely-eyed activist masquerading as a journalist. His role in fomenting the outrage at someone who dared poke fun at his beliefs will earn him the contempt of anyone who believes a reporter's job is to report, not act as a censor.

More worrying than the foolish Harrabin, though, is that the BBC's own panjandrums aren't capable of appreciating how closely they now resemble some sort of Soviet organisation dedicated to the preservation of a failed dogma in the face of fields of rusting tractors, It suggests that those who say the BBC is beyond reform and should be put out of its (our) misery are quite right.

Dec 5, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

No need for the re-education camp in the farming department of the BBC, this morning on R4 they had a long piece on farming and climate change, featuring 3 True Believers and a very sympathetic presenter. The only argument was between the organic farming zealot and the others, one of whom dared to suggest that GM was a good idea, but such hostilities seem to have been parked for now, to present a unified front on the climate.

Dec 5, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Trustees considered audience expectations for this programme would have afforded the presenter a good deal of leeway to assess the Met Office’s work in a way that was partial and humorous. However they considered that the audience would not have expected the programme to take a stance on climate science that differed from the prevailing scientific opinion without making that clear to audiences.

Was that the tenor of the complaints then?
“Look I don't mind you making jokes about climate change, but I want you to make it clear that it's not true what you're saying, otherwise I'm going to be confused.”

Dec 5, 2015 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

roger harrabin the Torquemada harridan has posted a critical comment on Quentin Lett's Diary.

"roger the dodger - 2 hours ago


You attempt to distract from the bias of your programme by blaming others.

I assume you refer to my tweet pointing out that the programme had given climate sceptics the voice they'd been demanding from the BBC. This seemed to be no more than a statement of fact.

In contrast, R4 has just produced a documentary series Changing Climate which strives to be fair to minority views..."

roger whines on. So sad.

Dec 5, 2015 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

"Shrug, Yawn. Sucks to be you.

Dec 5, 2015 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila"

Your comment represents a new low, even for you aila.

No glimmer of a fact anywhere? Just ad hominem insults?

Dec 5, 2015 at 2:21 PM | Registered Commenteratheok

Back in the 90s, BBC gardening programmes were quite clear that Global Warming meant hotter drier summers. Nothing much happened, but sales of rainwater storage butts went up.

The risk of malaria in the UK has probably gone up due to all the rain water being stored in peoples gardens, unused, with few natural aquatic predators. Nothing to do with temperature at all.

Dec 5, 2015 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

atheok 2:21, with those simple words Aila has passed the BBC/Guardian 'Science corresponent' exam, with an A* Expert endorsement.

Dec 5, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Not just water butts. Entire gardens were given over to 'drought resistant' plants under the eager guidance of the BBC's 'experts'. I recall seeing a local one proudly displayed on TV. Subsequent weather has demonstrated the foolishness of that but have those 'experts; been back to atone? Has there been any retraction of their advice?

Harrabin's sly attack on Letts (above) raises the question why did he feel the need to comment at all? And does anyone really believe that a remark from him on Twitter, the SJW's echo chamber, wouldn't be a call to action for his legion of supporters and fellow travellers? As might be expected, it's pure humbug for him to be playing the 'I'm so impartial' game now.

Dec 5, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

Piers Corbyn's appearance on This Week prompted a supporting comment from a panellist (Jane Collins, I think) on Any Questions. She reasonably pointed out that PC was a meteorologist who should know something about the subject, at which point Monbiot felt obliged to interrupt with, "and a very bad one", which received gales of laughter from an audience who had never heard any of Corbyn's views until a few moments earlier. Cheap shot, George - it seems to have escaped you that Corbyn regularly performs forecasts at a range that the MO claims is impossible.

Dec 5, 2015 at 5:37 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Great by Quintin Letts. I listened to that broadcast with almost delight. The BBC Gestapo like control of the narative is totally against the right of free speach. I would like to see someone sue them for breach of their charter and breach of the right to have a mind of your own and express it(for journalist and presenters). Andrew Niel seems fireproof because despite the above he had Piers back on This Week if only briefly. I expect he is for the re-education course and Michael Portillo will be purged. Poor Alan Johnson (for whom I have great respect, even if he does want to keep us in the EU madhouse) was well out of his depth. That phoney 97 percent of scientist seem to stick like s*** to a blanket.

Dec 5, 2015 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

Following the Yentob debacle weren't the Biased Broadcasting Corporation supposed to be culling reporters with 'outside activist' interests as this may cause program bias?

Bet they make a 'special case' of environment activists.

The 'climate change' bias is so blatant you can't even parody it, as Letts' experience demonstrates.

They really have thrown any pretence of impartiality under a train.

Dec 5, 2015 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterHot under the collar

Roger Harrabin says his series Changing Climate strives to be fair to minority views. He basically just interviewed Matt Ridley and Richard Toll, but then retained editorial control to make it appear that they contradict each other.

On the other hand when he organised the famous BBC seminar which defined BBC 'fairness' policy that censored sceptical views from being broadcast he invited totally partisan participants including.

- Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
- An Insurance industry consultant
- Director, "A community of global justice organizations under one roof" !
- 'Policy Director', New Economics Foundation "Our aim is to transform the economy so that it works for people and the planet"
- The Church of England !
- International Institute for Environment and Development - "Our mission is to build a fairer, more sustainable world, using evidence, action and influence in partnership with others"
- Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
- Tearfund Ethiopia
- Stop Climate Chaos : "Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse coalition of organisations in Scotland campaigning together on climate change. "

All these are green pressure groups and not mainstream scientific organisations, with vested interests. Is it any surprise then that they agreed that any sceptical or luke warm voices should be bannd from the BBC.

The sad thing is that the BBC seem to have agreed.

Dec 5, 2015 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

I can't believe the BBC alarmists were so upset about a satirical piece on 'climate change' that they 'disappeared it' from iplayer.

Didn't the licence fee payer contribute to the production?

Wonder if they also sent the production team to the Gulag?

Dec 6, 2015 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterHot under the collar

Note Harra was getting away with radio deception multiple times around the same date, but that was condoned.
Commenter BLACK PEARL posted this about Harrabin's July31st Obama warm up article and R4Today appearance : \\Got this reply from AA on this
“Please rest assured that Edmund King, AA president, has been back to Roger Harrabin at the BBC pointing out that the headline and introduction to his piece didn’t represent the AA view as we only commented on VED and what our members thought of the proposed changes.//
BTW we have also seen Roger make stealth corrections when he called GWPF a "fossil fuel lobby group" in a news story and then later went back and edited the page and made the huge material change of deleting the smear without putting an edit note.

Dec 6, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Did anybody listen to Any Questions this weekend? Whilst UKIP may not be the most credible of ambassadors for scepticism, it was depressing to hear the UKIP panelist being laughed at even before she opened her mouth!

Then I looked up where the broadcast was coming from - a jumped up teacher's training college, which explained everything, and supported the stories here and on other sites about the increasing intolerance of non-conformists in universities here and abroad.

Dec 6, 2015 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan

@ScottR, Dec 5, 2015 at 10:43 AM

I see from the Times via the GWPF that the BBC Trust has ordered that the programme should be deleted from iPlayer. Now that is real sour grapes.

It is gone, deceased, dead, banished to oblivian by Orwellian censors who allow no opposition to the ordained "truth"

What's the Point of...?, Series 7 Episode 1 of 4

NOTE: This programme is no longer available following the outcome of a finding by the BBC Trust. Follow the link at the bottom of this page to read the full report.

I am thankful I downloaded the show when it was available.

A new career beckons: selling black market copies of the recording in back street pubs.

Dec 6, 2015 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

Dec 6, 2015 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar:

"I see from the Times via the GWPF that the BBC Trust has ordered that the programme should be deleted from iPlayer. Now that is real sour grapes"

Farenbyte 451?

Dec 6, 2015 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Standley

OK Was the decision made judiciously ? Did they follow some rules with perhaps warped evidence ? Or did Harrabin just write the whole thing ?
Don't we care ? Do we just let it stand
Seems to to me we have 2 choices :
#1 Fight it cos it a totally unjust decision , only a few minutes of the prog were about climate for a start, never mind getting into the details that it was actually treated properly. We know that within any hour it will be able to find actual severe disinformation biased towards alarmism , somewhere across the BBC networks.
- Fight on principle, not for Letts, but the next person not to be denied of his/her voice due to the precedent.

#2 Leave the decision to stand : just like you do with your mad ol senile grandparent cos you know they are so crazy ?
..Leave it to stand cos it obviously shows how disgraceful the BBC is, that it doesn't give a hoot for justice ?
It's just beyond the pale.

Dec 7, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Pcar wrote @ Dec 6, 2015 at 8:09 PM

"I am thankful I downloaded the show when it was available."


Please do upload this somewhere..... or everywhere !

..... some suggestions

many other mp3 upload sites are possible

We all wait with bated breath !

Dec 11, 2015 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterWhy not ?

@Why not ?, Dec 11, 2015 at 4:50 PM

Please do upload this somewhere..... or everywhere !

The BBC has given them the green light by issuing their notorious guidelines forbidding proper discussion of contrarian views or even light-hearted criticisms such as Quentin Letts' deleted radio broadcast (still currently available on the internet).

Also here: Whats.The.Point.Of.S07E01.The.Met.Office.BBC.R4.DAB

Also stored in cloud archive with ~500GB of other shows. Email me ;)

Dec 13, 2015 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

@ Pcar

Viewers please note that you can download your own copy as .mp4 file
from the "Also here:" website above, by scroll down till you see the ,,,
three small dots icon. Click on 3 small dots ... and choose Download.

Thanks for this, and no doubt many people will now have add this to
their personal archives. The internet memory hole will preserve the
BBC's embarrassment for the whole World to see, well into the future !

Well done Pcar !

Dec 16, 2015 at 5:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterWhy not?

@Why not?, Dec 16, 2015 at 5:47 AM

Viewers please note that you can download your own copy as .mp4 file from Whats.The.Point.Of.S07E01.The.Met.Office.BBC.R4.DAB, by scroll down till you see the three small dots icon. Click on 3 small dots ... and choose Download.

Or Right-Click the "player" and select "Save As"

Thanks for this, and no doubt many people will now have add this to their personal archives. The internet memory hole will preserve the BBC's embarrassment for the whole World to see, well into the future !

I hope that is true. Tony Hall had a select committe grilling about it on 16 Dec 2015 and his answer to every question was "It was a BBC Trust decision"

Well done Pcar !

NP. Happy you are happy. x264-Pcar ;)


Dec 17, 2015 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

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