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« The Guardian backs big oil | Main | Simon's Caribbean climate capers »
Tuesday
Mar312015

The perils of over-promotion

Prominent anti-fracking campaigner and prospective parliamentary candidate Mike Hill has been very good at promoting himself in recent years. But media attention can be a double-edged sword, as Mr Hill has found to his cost in recent days. Last week he was the subject of a two stories at Guido Fawkes blog, when it emerged that he had once applied for a job at Cuadrilla, that he had pretended spun things so as to present himself as an adviser to the European Union, the Royal Society and DECC, when his role had been little more than to be involved in discussions with them.

Today he is in the Times, which reveals that Mr Hill helped produce a report on fracking that persuaded a doctors' organisation to take a stand against fracking. However, Mr Hill's anti-fracking background was not revealed and with his colourful background now revealed to all it could be argued that the doctors' statement is now a dead letter.

But Mr Hill's story seems even stranger than we first thought. A 2012 post on the Counting Cats blog suggests that he is not only an engineer and campaigner but is also a citizen of extraordinary public spirit, having spent £17000 of his own money on his shale-related activity. This seemed just a bit too good to be true, as Counting Cats explained:

Most people who have money to burn and want to push for regulation tend to lobby the government directly.  Or, if they are in a hurry, bung enormous bribes at corrupt politicians.  I’m cynical enough to wonder if Mr. Hill has an angle so I went trawling but where to start?  At the foot of each page of the report is © Michael Hill – GCAL.  GCAL could refer to Glasgow Caledonian University.  It also refers to this.

Gemini Control and Automation Ltd (GCAL) make bespoke filters for industrial centrifuges – Heinkel centrifuges in particular.  This company is based in Lytham, not a million miles from Preece Hall.  One of the uses for Heinkel centrifuges is in the fracking industry, specifically servicing flow-back.  By amazing coincidence a bloke called Mike Hill is associated with Gemini Control and Automation Ltd.

Well knock me down with a filleted kipper!

It’s possible that Michael Hill B.Sc. C.Eng. MIET has no connection with Gemini. If he is not associated with this GCAL then I apologise in advance for thinking him less of a philanthropist and more of a mercenary.  I also apologise to Gemini in advance if this is nothing more than a very weird coincidence.

However, the GCAL website apparently no longer mentions the connection to the fracking industry, so I think many people will conclude that Counting Cats was barking up precisely the right tree.

[Updated slightly after an email from Mike Hill's wife. See here]

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Reader Comments (23)

For some reason, "Be sure your sins will find you out" came to mind.
I don't think Mike Hill will be the last to find himself in this sort of situation as the in-built mendacity of the environmental movement becomes too much even for the MSM to put up with.

Mar 31, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The GCAL website now says it is being redeveloped.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Perhaps somebody should report him to the relevant authority for fraud.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:09 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Another fantasist who wants to be an MP.......

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

It seems he has at the very least been taking the Mikehill......:o)

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

I am more concerned that presumably intelligent members of the BMA were taken in by this. I presume that letting of blood and leeches will be the order f the day from now on.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon

trefjon:

There is no shortage of blood-sucking leeches in AGW.

Ask Yeo? Deben? And others for confirmation.

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Commenter microdave found & posted the link below, of Hill's attempt to interest Trougher Yeo:

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/252485/shale-letters3.txt

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Wow - he's even objecting to the smoke-detector-type radiation sources used in the onsite instrumentation! He's just casting around for absolutely anything vaguely technical to scaremonger about. Total time-waster. If idiots like this get into powerful regulatory positions then UK industry is finished. Not just the shale gas industry. Any industry.

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

He is positioning himself nicely, so that in years to come, he can write a book and do lucrative lectures, headed

"The Green Blob, my part in its downfall"

There will be a quasi statistical follow up...

"How to create false balance, with homogenised double standards"

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@Morph, the GCAL site has been under redvelopment for over a year now.

If people are wondering how Mike Hill can afford to pay for all this fancy stuff like being an PPC for parliament when his company doesn't seem to be doing much and he seems to be cutting himself off from his industry be denigrating it so much that no one wants to work with him, then the answer is that he is being supported by someone else. That person is Mark Mills, his brother in law. Look up Cardpoint to see Mark's history.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

This Hill guy is some piece of work.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

@trefjon

I am more concerned that presumably intelligent members of the BMA were taken in by this. I presume that letting of blood and leeches will be the order f the day from now on...

Er... no. Individual people work by thinking. People en mass work by following the one in front. The thinking processes of the BMA staff who signed up to this will have been:

1 - is this a currently popular assertion?
2 - will agreeing with it help the BMA, or conversely, disagreeing hurt the BMA?
3 - does it require us to spend any money or do anything arduous?

If the answers to all these things are acceptable, a signature will be produced.


Sceptics make the capital mistake of assuming that a technical proof that AGW is a scam will derail the bandwagon. It won't, because the bandwagon does not consider technical issues. Technical issues convince people, NOT committees. The good news is that the Times has published a warning about activist propaganda. Which means that the Times has considered item 2) above and come to the conclusion that it is safe to say something against AGW. As we get more and more of this, groups like the BMA will revise their understanding, the answer to item 1) will change, and AGW will sink.

To be replaced by the next fashionable idiocy...

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Mike Hill has other form in Formby:

Update: 26 March. An earlier version of this piece stated that Mike Hill was retained as a technical advisor by Lancashire County Council. In fact, he acted as a "technical advisor" (unpaid) to the Fylde Council Task and Finish Group, who were looking into Cuadrilla's activities. He is no longer in that role.

Pointed out by Nick Grealy (of NoHotAir) in the comments at the New Statesman in March 2013. After the Gold Rush for Hill, rather than Neil Young?

Of course, the BBC had already swallowed his claims to be an advisor to the Council in this piece for Newsnight.

According to his election website "He is presently writing a joint paper with Professor David Smythe on fracking and is a co-author on the Medact position paper being published in March." That would be this Prof Smythe:

Glasgow University has written to make it clear that Prof. Smythe's views do not represent the views of the University's geologists:

“Notwithstanding our support for freedom of expression, we respectfully request that you make it clear in all of your future publications and broadcast media appearances that the views which you hold and express are your own and are not necessarily representative of the views held by the university’s researchers.”

Professor Paul Younger, current Professor of Energy Engineering at Glasgow put things more strongly:

"He has published nothing on [shale gas] in any proper scientific forum - no doubt because he knows he would never get past peer review with his pseudo-scientific scaremongering. He falsely claims to be a chartered geologist. That’s fraudulent. It’s wilful untruth. I am concerned about the damage to the reputation of the university by someone who never fails to use his university affiliation.”

The Medact paper is here. I suspect Dr. James Verdon will dissect it with his usual forensic skill.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Mike Hill is singlehandedly destroying the anti-fracking movement in the Fylde. So many people have based their understanding of fracking on his information and now we find he has zero credibility. Thanks Mike. U have ruined the movement.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTR

Mike Hill has other form in Formby:

Update: 26 March. An earlier version of this piece stated that Mike Hill was retained as a technical advisor by Lancashire County Council. In fact, he acted as a "technical advisor" (unpaid) to the Fylde Council Task and Finish Group, who were looking into Cuadrilla's activities. He is no longer in that role.

Pointed out by Nick Grealy (of NoHotAir) in the comments at the New Statesman in March 2013. After the Gold Rush for Hill, rather than Neil Young?

Of course, the BBC had already swallowed his claims to be an advisor to the Council in this piece for Newsnight.

According to his election website "He is presently writing a joint paper with Professor David Smythe on fracking and is a co-author on the Medact position paper being published in March." That would be this Prof Smythe:

Glasgow University has written to make it clear that Prof. Smythe's views do not represent the views of the University's geologists:

“Notwithstanding our support for freedom of expression, we respectfully request that you make it clear in all of your future publications and broadcast media appearances that the views which you hold and express are your own and are not necessarily representative of the views held by the university’s researchers.”

Professor Paul Younger, current Professor of Energy Engineering at Glasgow put things more strongly:

"He has published nothing on [shale gas] in any proper scientific forum - no doubt because he knows he would never get past peer review with his pseudo-scientific scaremongering. He falsely claims to be a chartered geologist. That’s fraudulent. It’s wilful untruth. I am concerned about the damage to the reputation of the university by someone who never fails to use his university affiliation.”

The Medact paper is here. I suspect Dr. James Verdon will dissect it with his usual forensic skill.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

TR 12:23 so did Mike Hill actually end up on the payroll of the fracking industry after all?

Conspiracy theorists could have a field day. Or does he just follow the most lucrative cause.

Both Lewandowsky and Cook could write a top scientific opinion paper, based on a sample size of 1.

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Mike should be in
Prison

Together with the rest of
Westminster

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterWortSalad

I have tweeted him to invite him to respond. I am blocked.

Mar 31, 2015 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Marcus

Judging by the criticisms set out here, I suspect his Institution doesn't have a tight enough set of Rules of Conduct, as lying shouldn't be tolerated, even distorting the truth is a no no for my Institution!

Mar 31, 2015 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

@TR.

Maybe Hill was a Trojan Horse on the anti-fracking movement?

Now that's an interesting thought.

Mar 31, 2015 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Dr Verdon is being highly restrained:

http://frackland.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/medact-vs-british-columbia.html

Mar 31, 2015 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Dr Verdon has an Update noting UKOOG have issued a detailed rebuttal, showing how the Medact report has failed to understand how the UK regulatory system works.


http://www.ukoog.org.uk/about-ukoog/press-releases/146-shale-gas-industry-says-medact-report-fails-to-understand-uk-regulatory-system-and-lacks-credibility

Apr 1, 2015 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterjoe Public

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