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Diary dates, daily edition

The BBC's Daily Politics is having an energy and environment feature today, with representatives of all the main parties in attendance. My expectations are low.



This will mean that we will have a series of half-baked claims about the climate from the Conservative, Labour, LibDem and Green spokesmen, with Roger Helmer expected to rebut the lot of them. I'm not even sure we will get heat, let alone any light. It will be largely declarations of the faith and damning of the heterodox.

Roger Harrabin's presence is interesting. I'm not a regular viewer of the show, but I can't recall an occasion on which Andrew Neil was given an overseer. Are BBC managers worried he might ask awkward questions?

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Reader Comments (82)

Helmer v Davey...interesting. Surprised that UKIP had been invited.

All up there own ars*es except Helmer/Neil.

Apr 20, 2015 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Roger (Green Parrot) Harrabin will be his normal brainless self, towing the laughable line of CAGW.

The fact there is no real knowledgeable sceptic and the presence of the Green Parrot, will mean it is just the BBC trying to justify the Paris conference

The BBC continues to disappoint!. The sooner it loses its licence fee the better.

Apr 20, 2015 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Andrew Neil will keep the discussion on track and if he is allowed to, will put the eco-alarmists back in their boxes.

Apr 20, 2015 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

On his blog, Helmer comes across as a sceptic but I bet a pound to a penny that he will rein back and take a "safe" position for fear of appearing like a loon.

Apr 20, 2015 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

It all depends on how much muzzle they remove from Andrew Neil, he is usually very good at not letting politicians answer different questions, but only if he is allowed to. Harrabin is obviously there to prop-up the climate calamity brigade.

Apr 20, 2015 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

All communist entities had a political officer in every meeting. A member of the Polit Bureau who was there to make sure the discussion did not stray beyond prescribed communist thinking and to report any aberrant behaviour. I presume Harrabin is in that role for the BBC.

Apr 20, 2015 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

I bet there will be more of a debate between the presenters than between the panellists.

Apr 20, 2015 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

.."BBC managers worried he (Andrew Neil) might ask awkward questions?"

That,s for when he gets fellow country woman Nicola Sturgeon on the show.

Don't suppose our Andy is to pleased with the SNP wishing to make him and every other Scot foreigners in their own country.

And if they have to move the Trident Nuclear base down to Devonport and no longer have to pay off Scotland, so its goodbye Barnett Formula too.

Apr 20, 2015 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I don't know what Andrew Neil's personal viewpoint is on AGW, but he has demolished the unelectable Natalie Bennett in this campaign. I think the discussion will surround energy as against climate since politicians seem to accept the narrative ( at least publically). I doubt very much if Roger Harrabin will stop Neil asking probing questions. Roger Helmer though may well give the debate a bit of spark and I look forward to the encounter with Harrabin.

Apr 20, 2015 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon

Matthew Hancock has received some funding from the GWPF (quiet smiffy) so his views may not be entirely predictable.

Apr 20, 2015 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Roger Helmer had a great interview on the BBC World Service Business report last week. Have a listen here from about 10 minutes in
The BBC interviewer is green & agressive as you'd expect, but Roger is on fire and hits every question out of the park.

The only danger is he'll be crowded out of the 5-way 1-hour debate since his opponents all have near identical positions while Roger is diametrically opposed. It will be interesting to see if the 4 greens ignore Roger and attack each other or if they gang up on Roger. Either way it should be good for UKIP.

I'm also puzzled by the presense of Harrabin. Given the BBC's announcement that they will not allow sceptic opinions to be broadcast without a prior health warning - perhaps Harrabin will be doing a little speech after each question to tell us what the correct answer should be according to the 'scientific consensus'.

Apr 20, 2015 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

mike fowle Hmmmmm !

Andrew Neil doesn't like global warming. That's a certainty.

I live in Paisley, Neil's birthplace. His crazy brother was the editor of the local rag. He would loved to have replaced parking tickets with public flogging. Father was an army sergeant.

Apr 20, 2015 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I heard Helmer speak a year or so ago and he was well up-to-speed on climate change - both the science and the politics. He should be able to hold his own.

Not directly related but there is a clear anomaly in the stance of the pro-green/anti-austerity parties. They are happy to add to the debts of their children (with 100% certainty) by borrowing money for 'jam' today but also argue that we should pay more now to protect those same children from the effects of climate change (with much less certainty) in the future.

Apr 20, 2015 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRon

Yes, Ron, we need to fear Catastrophic Anthropogenic Policy Change, more than Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change.

Apr 20, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Helmer as an MEP often 2 fingers the EU in the Brussels parliament on energy/job loss etc...lots of it here:

I heard the World Service (Business Matters) BS the other night. Helmer said it as it he usually does, so the nark BBC had to swing in an Indian female activist and male american (I think). Anyway, the both of them were allowed to mouth off and somewhat emotional, citing running big deficits la, la, la. They never let Helmer point really because the BBC are well up their own ars*s on this topic...and most others. In fact the BBC WS is absolutely terrible...heard them trying to gouge the brain of a female film producer over the auto rape topic in India last night.

Apr 20, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Cannot see Andrew Neil taking kindly to Harrabin if he has been sent in to keep him in line. This could get interesting particularly in the way Neil took Dana to the cleaners.

I wonder if Caroline Flint can keep her mouth shut long enough to let anyone else have a say. Awful woman.

Apr 20, 2015 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

In the interest of maintaining BBC impartiality, Harrabin will make sure that all the Green Luvvies, get a fair chance to crack the whip at Helmer.

Apr 20, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Since the BBC clearly intends to break their own guidelines again and allow the un-annointed to speak about the weather and climate, here is a list of the undergraduate degrees of all those on the panel.

Roger Helmer Mathematics
Andrew Cooper International Relations and Politics
Caroline Flint American Literature and History combined with Film Studies
Matthew Hancock Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Ed Davey Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Martin Neil Political economy and Political science
Roger Harrabin English

Apr 20, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I'm not sure Harrabin will be an up to an overseer, it Neil's show and he is quite forthright I can't see him taking sh1t from Harrabin.

Apr 20, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

I hope they don't even mention climate. UK and European Energy policy fails on every level even if you are a true believer. By diverting the discussion to manmade climate change - or lack of it - they can neatly avoid discussing the two more important legs of the trilemma; fuel prices and security of supply.

Apr 20, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

michael hart, so if the panel gets diverted onto a discussion about Huckleberry Finn, and his socioeconomic impact on Mississippi flood control, they will all be able to contribute, apart from Helmer?

Apr 20, 2015 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@Chilli The bullying reporter Dominic Lawrie (degree course in French and Italian,) clearly had a list of hard questions in front of him he kept firing deadpan whilst trying to sound non-bullying

"you'll know that roughly 98% of the scientific community around the world disagree with you"
Helmer responded well "No, I don't know that, BTW you upped that claim from 97 , the report on which it was based has been thoroughly debunked, and you can find the info on the GWPF website and many others ....."
- Lawrie just ignored the answer & attacked again "so CO2 emmissions aren't going up ?"
- 'yes, but not faster than before' trace gas.....'
Direct link to 12 mins of audio ..alt
- Yes I might vote for Helmer
- No contrition from Dominic Lawrie. He promoted the interview with this Tweet "Is the EU racist? Does man made climate change exist? Some interesting answers."
- Well Dominic Lawrie , do you think people are wrong to consider you a disgrace to journalism and the BBC ?

Apr 20, 2015 at 1:24 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@Chilli compare it to Lawries 'friendly & softball" interview with Natalie Bennett sarky tweet

Apr 20, 2015 at 1:34 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Intellectually, Helmer towers over the rest of these careerist dorks, he's pretty good on matters pertaining to this lot's eco warbling and particularly on defenestration of man made warming.

Flint, is an awful woman an insert thanks to the lavs tokenism of equality quotas, who fancies herself as a bit of a looker, best leave it at that.

Hancock, is a bog standard joker - of bbc standard - there is nothing, absolutely nothing he could say to convince me of much even concerning his so called field of expertise. let alone on aught to drivelling on about things he knows FA about - scientific matters.

Ed davey - what's he here for, they must be giving away al-beeb goody bags and free printed T shirts emblazoned - "I used to be an MP a gang member and part of the yellow filth".

The Green, a woeful member:

In many areas the government seems to be going backwards compared to the rest of Europe - we have the worst fuel poverty deaths, for example, of any European state except for Estonia!

Just for that quote, I presume it's this crank, metaphorically speaking [natch!] he warrants nailing to the nearest door, I do hope Mr. Helmer obliges.

In the meantime, will another eternal adolescent Rog' Harrabin change the habit of a lifetime of indolence and make himself useful, to take on a new role and be 'mother' to pour the tea and hand out biscuits?

Come on Brillo, stuff al-beeb - give UKIP a fair say.

Apr 20, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

As UKIP is the only political party with a sane energy policy, could be interesting...

(P.S. Wind today - 0.44GW/1.28% of very low demand.... Just in case any of them start going on about 'renewables'....

Apr 20, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

I am with those who think that Andrew Neil is a luke warmist, or even more sceptical.

Apr 20, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Fair play to Roger Helmer; he's fought a good game here amongst the green maddening crowd. Well informed on all points so far. All a bit of a bun fight though.

Apr 20, 2015 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Daily Politics (not verbatim):

What happens when the wind doesn't blow? What's great is that we have the National Grid. And it's blowing somewhere in Britain.

And what's great about Renewable Energy is that there are so many sorts: wind, hydro, solar, bio-fuels etc

You get the gist!

Added: the programme has ended! :) We can now get down to some serious snooker.

Apr 20, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Wind, Both Hydros and others including Solar...currently totalling 5.4%

French Interconnector 5.9%

Says it all

Apr 20, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Wilkinson

Caroline Flint was allowed to hog the debating time. Helmer did a great job and Harrabin did not in ant way cramp Andrew Neil's style. It was the usual non meeting of the minds!

Apr 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Hanwell

Just watched it and I have to say that any who watched it who did not follow the politics of the UK energy policy quite closely already were unlikely to have taken much away from it.
Those of us that do will have had no surprises.
Roger Helmer did well for an old git!
Harrabin superfluous to the entire proceedings.
Ed Davey really is an utter, utter, weapons-grade (snip)

Apr 20, 2015 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Well that was pretty depressing. Roger made some good points but they were largely crowded out by the 4 greens bickering and trying to out-bid each other on how green their idiotic policies were. Some uncontested outright falsehoods from the Tory claiming the weather was getting more erratic - zero evidence for that in the Met office rainfall records going back centuries. Helmer didn't manage to get a word in on shale gas. Disappointing. Andrew Neil also struck a pretty serious blow against Helmer's hypocritical solar subsidy farming while campaigning against subsidies. Roger's answer that "If the government offers you free money you take it" doesn't cut much ice since, as Roger knows, those subsidies aren't 'free money'; They're paid for by surcharges added onto the energy bills of poor people.

Apr 20, 2015 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

I see Ed Davey accused Ed Miliband of creating the Big 6. He wasn't even an MP in 2002 when that happened. There is of course much to blame Miliband for, starting with the Climate Change Act and ending with the 2010 Energy Act that made it illegal for OFGEM to criticise green energy policy - perhaps we should add his stupid idea to fix prices just when they were starting to fall.

At least we know that Davey likes to re-invent history.

Apr 20, 2015 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

The only credible voice there was Helmer's, the rest just promising clean, green, low-cost energy with loads of jobs, and some of them focused almost entirely on the environment, hardly at all on energy.

The lefties were mostly scary, the righties jovial, and Ed Davey just bonkers.

Apr 20, 2015 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Another Ed Davey sells pitch has he looks for nice little earner after his political career comes to an end , thankfully before long.

Apr 20, 2015 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Striking, too, how 'carbon' is now used near universally to mean carbon dioxide. Another clear win for the language enforcers.

Apr 20, 2015 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

What a depressing, wasted one hour of one`s time. Helmer was the only one to talk any sense. What was alarming was the fact that three of the other four, Davey, Hancock and Flint have been government ministers promoting and implementing the rubbish that is the Climate Change Act.

None of these so-called debates work as a way to take a serious look at party policies. That is best achieved by one on one interviews by Andrew Neill himself, the best by far operating in this genre. But because he is so effective, most leading politicians steer well clear of him if they can. The exceptions are those who want the airtime, such as Natalie Bennett (duly slaughtered) and Nigel Farage (yesterday, who acquitted himself very well). UKIP actually have an energy policy I support.

Apr 20, 2015 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

Helmer was sane and authoratative, the rest were various shades of bonkers.

Apr 20, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Promises that are incompatible but green energy ministers' stock in trade - green energy and low bills. Reliability goes out of the window. The regular tosh of 'the wind is usually blowing somewhere in the UK. As if we'd have spare capacity up and down the land in case one area became becalmed but another could power the rest. The whole country could be on meagre wind for several weeks and almost any storage solution would be unable to cope for more than a few hours, never mind weeks. As for tidal power, councils are abandoning coastal defences as too expensive and too destructive to other bits of unprotected coast and yet they're planning to put critical power infrastructure into sea walls. And on the other side of the 'lagoon' wall they're not expecting silting?


Apr 20, 2015 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I am perplexed. No sign of this on the iplayer footage at all.

Airbrushed from history...

Apr 20, 2015 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterleo smith

is the actual debate - not the link shown in the main text

Apr 20, 2015 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterleo smith

I know Roger is extremely clued up on both climate change - if any -and the impossibility for the current renewables to meet the 2050 green house gas restrictions.
I picked up on his blog regarding the NT Director General and wrote to cancel my membership this year. The reply was:
'At the National Trust, we believe climate change is happening and a major factor in this is manmade activities. Those voices saying that the Trust is getting "too political" by talking about climate change, when 99% of scientific opinion is on our side, are clearly in a very small minority'
My answer:it is the politically correct answer that I expected, from the Greens – 99% of scientific opinion is on our side. Can you substantiate that little gem? You are in fact repeating a lie.
Some one at the National Trust, like the ladies on the Labour front bench has been reading Allen Rusbridger’s Guardian and especially Nutticelli’s version of Cook’s contrived consensus. The last time I saw it quoted, it was by Maria Eagle ‘established scientific fact, accepted by 97% of the scientists who study our climate systems’ at the opening of the new WWF headquarters.
I sent them a copy of Montford's consensus, but I do not think they understand sensible arguments.

Apr 20, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterShieldsman

@It Doesn't Add Up 3:18 pm

Ed Miliband was a special advisor at the Treasury in 2002

Given Crash McDoom's meddling in all things I doubt that he wasn't involved in policy leading to the Big 6

Apr 20, 2015 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterstafish


Ed Miliband went to Harvard in 2002 prior to which he was a Treasury SPAD under Gordon Brown. Stephen Byers was the responsible minister who brought in the Utilities Act that led to the mega mergers and foreign takeovers, although the mergers actually mostly took place under Patricia Hewitt.

Apr 20, 2015 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Caroline Flint was awful: rude and very stupid. Forget the loony greens, Labour want to decarbonise generation by 2030!!

Apr 20, 2015 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Right: having finally got to see it, it can be summarised very briefly.

Loads of politicians arguing about who was the most renewable of all, because 'most people want renewables' and Roger Helmer the lone voice trying to say 'why are we trying to be renewable at all? - it makes no sense'

Apr 20, 2015 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterleo smith

Capell on Apr 20, 2015 at 6:10 PM

'Labour want to decarbonise generation by 2030!!'

That will include all transport and domestic cooking and heating.

What a gas! :)

Apr 20, 2015 at 6:24 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Whether there twenty, six or just one energy supplier, makes no difference when central government dictate every aspect of how they operate - from the exact make up of the energy sources they're forced to supply, down to the last gramme of CO2 they're allowed to emit. We effectively have a nationalised system where the only competition is that between pigs at the trough of government mandates and subsidies.

Apr 20, 2015 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Ed Davey has been Member of Parliament for Kingston & Surbiton since 1997.

As Brad Pitt asks "Is there no one else..... IS THERE NO ONE ELSE"

Apr 20, 2015 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

If Roger Helmer thinks pointing out that CO2 is a trace gas is at all helpful this does not inspire confidence in his ability to debate the issue vs informed opposition.

It's the debating equivalent of offering your opponent a free kick to the bollocks.

Apr 20, 2015 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

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