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Question Time

Mrs Hill has pointed out to me that James Delingpole is going to be on the BBC's Any Questions show next week.

What a funny coincidence.

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Reader Comments (36)

I trust Mr Delingpole will go armed with a suitably fair and accurate analogy for the cancer scare.

Jan 29, 2011 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Any Questions is of course usually followed by Any Answers where members of the public can phone in ...

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Who are the other panellists?
Last time he was on he got royally screwed.

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

There will be at least one toad in the audience. Thank god for google, I find 'Jesse' is a bloke !
Aparently his book 'Compassionate Conservatism' is the 'intellectual guide to Cameronism', so he and James will be able to chat about their mutual mate, 'Cast-iron Dave'.

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Delingpole doesn't like Cameron, toad. If you followed his column you'd know that!

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:47 PM - Sam the Skeptic

Who are the other panellists?

Just a job lot of C List has-beens - click on the link in the top post.

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Sam the Skeptic. The token 'right-winger' always gets screwed on that programme, that's what he's there for. At RAF Middle Wallop there was the Hon Jonathan Porritt Bart, two others who favoured wind-turbines, controlled by an 'independent' chairman who had a turbine on his roof.
At least you get to hear all that was said without any judicious 'cutting', but the chairman can decide who gets cut short and who is allowed to ramble on. Respondents on Any Answers can also be selected.

Jan 29, 2011 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Robinson. I do and I know, 'mate' was meant to be ironic !

Jan 29, 2011 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Oh, my mistake. Apologies :p.

Jan 29, 2011 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Thanks, Brownedoff.
The only one he has to watch out for then is Dimbleby!

Jan 29, 2011 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

I see Peter Hain is on, too.

"Additionally, everyone is so much better educated about climate change, than even a few years ago, that it is now centre stage. The green movement may actually have not been radical enough in the past, for climate change is a class issue: the poorest nations suffer most and the poorest in all nations suffer most.

Previous neglect of the environment within all types of political systems is now universally recognised. While terrorism can never, ever, be justified in any shape or form, it needs to be recognised that social injustice fuels despair and very misguided support therefore for terrorism. Global justice and justice in our own society are thus one of the same. It is time to act practically to fulfil the dream of international justice."

Global warming causes suicide bombers, now. The greens are apparently not radical enough.

Jan 29, 2011 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaogai

Last time I heard him on Any Questions he was very weak. He is simply not up to answering questions off the cuff. He is far better off sticking to the written word. It is a shame when those who are very competent at expressing themselves in one sphere and arena get drawn onto a playing field to a game at which they are incompetent.

Jan 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Johnathan Dimbleby, 2004, "Which takes us - or should take us - from global poverty to global warming. It is the greatest challenge facing humanity, to combat both at once - to deliver justice, fairness and prosperity to the poor without destroying the planet in the process. Already we are consuming the Earth's natural but finite resources faster than they can be replenished. Already Britain's chief scientific advisor, Sir David King, tells us global warming is a greater threat than global terrorism.

So what happens when the poor have their just deserts? Will we see the melting of the ice-caps, catastrophic floods that drown hundreds of thousands of people and turn millions into refugees and famished migrants? Will we all perish in some Siberian or Saharan Armageddon? Or find ourselves caught in a Malthusian end-game as we perish for lack of food and water? Or will we start to control our profligate use of carbon fuels and persuade whoever wins the American election that the resources of the planet must be more equitably shared?

As with winning the war on poverty, so with global warming: it is a matter of political will. Which is why a deeply frustrated president of the World Bank says: 'If someone came here from Mars and looked at the way we run the place, he'd get back in his spaceship and go back to Mars and say, "You don't have to worry about them, they are going to destroy themselves".' Which means, as I argue in The New World War , we had better get serious about global terrorism, global poverty, and global warming. Fast."

Jan 29, 2011 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac


But then who can forget Sir David King's more recent pronouncements on global warming:

“When people overstate happenings that aren’t necessarily climate change-related, or set up as almost certainties things that are difficult to establish scientifically, it distracts from the science we do understand. The danger is they can be accused of scaremongering. Also, we can all become described as kind of left-wing greens.”

Jan 29, 2011 at 7:48 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Jan 29, 2011 at 5:46 PM | Sam the Skeptic

"The only one he has to watch out for then is Dimbleby!"

Exactly, and you can bank on him having a crib sheet generated by the Science Media Centre.

This mob surely were involved in the scripts for the "Nurse" travesty last Monday.

Jan 29, 2011 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Dimbleby always seems even handed to me on both Any Questions and Any Answers. The perceived bias in the programme is simply that the lefties in the audience are more likely to "boo" and "hiss" than the better behaved liberal or conservative voters. It's all grist to the mill though, isn't it? Listening to The News Quiz, you'll find Jeremy Hardy almost always reserves his sardonic comments for the Tories; never a word spoken against the party that got us into the mess we're in in the first place.

Jan 29, 2011 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson


Delingpole is a Conservative. The current mob masquerading as such are not his mates.

Must not get political though - we are above that sort of thing here. Aren't we?

Jan 29, 2011 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Does Mrs Montford know that Mrs Hill is whispering sweet messages in your ear??

Jan 29, 2011 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRETEPHSLAW

BH replies to Mac at 7:48pm:

But then who can forget Sir David King's more recent pronouncements on global warming

Which somehow reminded me of this exchange between Mann and Edward Cook at the Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (emphasis added):

[Mann writes:]

Hi Ed,

This is fair enough, and I'm sorry if my spelling out my concerns sounded defensive to you. It wasn't meant to be that way.

Lets figure this all out based on good, careful work and see what the data has to say in the end. We're working towards this ourselves, using revised methods and including borehole data, etc. and will keep everyone posted on this.

I don't in any way doubt yours and Jan's integrity here.

I'm just a bit concerned that the result is getting used publically, by some, before it has gone through the gauntlet of peer review. Especially because it is, whether you condone it or not, being used as we speak to discredit the work of us, and Phil et al, this is dangerous. I think there are some legitimate issues that need to be sorted out with regard to the standardization method, and would like to see this play out before we jump to conclusions regarding revised estimates of the northern hemisphere mean temperature record and the nature of the "MWP".

I'd be interested to be kept posted on what the status of the manuscript is.



[Edward Cook replies:]

Hi Mike,

No problem. I am quite happy to work this stuff through in a careful way and am happy to discuss it all with you. I certainly don't want the work to be viewed as an attack on previous work such as yours. Unfortunately, this global change stuff is so politicized by both sides of the issue that it is difficult to do the science in a dispassionate environment. I ran into the same problem in the acid rain/forest decline debate that raged in the 1980s. At one point, I was simultaneous accused of being a raving tree hugger and in the pocket of the coal industry. I have always said that I don't care what answer is found as long as it is the truth or at least bloody close to it.



Jan 29, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Sorry - UEA emails...


Jan 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

James Delingpole writes extraordinarily well. Unfortunately, my experience of him being interviewed on the radio, is that he comes across as weak - witness the "skirmish" with the Moonbat last year, and the more recent stitch-up on Panorama. I do hope he gives a good account of himself this time around.

Jan 29, 2011 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterNatsman

Brownedoff -- Dimbleby doesn't need a crib sheet; he's already an expert.

Robinson -- last time Delingpole was on AQ, he got first crack at the global warming question (and didn't make a very good fist of it) and Dimbleby then let Porritt loose on him (uninterrupted) for a good three minutes. Last time King was on he also got a free ride.
I'll agree that AQ gets more than its fair share of trolls. I think they must bus them in!

Jan 29, 2011 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

Hi Robinson , in reply to your : 'Dimbleby always seems even handed to me on both Any Questions and Any Answers.' You might like to visit the biased-BBC blogspot ( ) from time to time, they regularly present analyses of, amongst other things, his pattern of interruption as a function of the political leanings of his panellists. Their numbers are pretty irrefutable and illustrate the inbuilt life-view of the beeboids!

Jan 29, 2011 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Oh well Ian, I haven't analysed his pattern of interruption. Presumably that kind of thing is likely to be open to confirmation bias like any other analysis.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Retired Dave. Delingpole actually voted Labour at the last election. Occasionally you do vote for someone whose integrity transcends party politics and as such MUST be returned to the Commons.
His MP is Kate Hoey.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

How do you know that toad? He blogged just before the election that we should all get behind Cameron in order to get Labour out. I would find it very hard to believe he actually voted for Labour in that case!

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Natsman. Re Delingpole V Monbiot. George described debating with James as being like 'shooting rats in a bucket'. Don't forget that before that 'debate' we had a film of Monbiot, darling of the beeb, saving the world from his Welsh estate, ensuring that the audience knew who the 'good guy' was.
Alas I think the Great Moonbat's star has waned a little since those heady days and he has resigned himself to life as a 'born-again fructivist' while trying to convince the world that anyone with a large house should have the 'great unwashed' billeted on them.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Robinson.You highlight the position as it was then. The possibility of another 4 years of McBruin was everyone's worst nightmare and we all thought that once in office the Conservatives would revert to their true colours. Little did we think that they would merge with Cleggs defeated band and then let the perishers call all the shots. Cameron has turned out to be as 'green' as his missus.
Oh, and by the way, there was a 'clincher', the conservative candidate was never going to win, and Kate Hoey is pro-hunting !

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Just when you think British culture couldn't be be dumbed down any more, Delingpole is setting himself up to be the British Anne Coulter or Rush Limbaugh.

Delingpole also suffers from severe manic depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder . His online persona is just that. Perhaps that general personality inclination is why he doesn't do well live. .


"'born-again fructivist' "

Like many upper class environmentalists, Monbiot is an extreme right wing omnivore, red and tooth and claw. He discovered his love of nature by torturing then killing fish (angling)

It was fishing that cemented my love of the natural world.


Jan 29, 2011 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

@ Simon Hopkinson
"I trust Mr Delingpole will go armed with a suitably fair and accurate analogy for the cancer scare."

How about this one: Imagine you are living in a small area within central London in 1854. Around you a cholera epidemic rages. Many of your neighbours have died or are very sick. Just yesterday, the couple upstairs died, leaving five kids. The prevailing medical consensus is that this sickness is due to bad air - a miasma - and that since a cure has not yet been found, the best and the only prevention is to move out of the area. However there is one doctor in town who, although he doesn't quite understand the mechanism, believes the disease is water-borne and he wants to block the local water supply. Who do you trust?

Jan 30, 2011 at 12:22 AM | Unregistered Commentermorpork

morpork, another very good analogy!

Jan 30, 2011 at 3:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

The story of cholera/miasma is a fascinating one. The sewering of London was undertaken on the basis of miasma theory, because the decisions were made before the ascendancy of germ theory. They happened to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, but kept doing it once they knew the initial reason was wrong. It was good policy (and engineering), based on bad science, that led to what many regard as the most significant advance in human welfare. Bad policy would have been to fail to recognise that the consensus view of science was wrong. Had the miasma theorists held sway, resources might have been wasted on ventilating bad odours as well as sewering.

Jan 30, 2011 at 5:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

Not sure if it has been posted here recently, but the bbc have another attack lined up for tomorrow evening:
Entitled "Meet the climate sceptics" it "...takes us on a journey into the heart of climate scepticism ... to understand the people who are making them", and Lord Christopher Monckton is the target individual the programme makers intend to (understand) um, misrepresent:
"Do they have the evidence that we are heating up the atmosphere or are they taking a grave risk with our future by dabbling in highly complicated science they don't fully understand...Can he [Monckton] convince them and Murray [Director] that there is nothing to worry about?”
I think we already know the answers to these questions.
Given that JD will have had 3 exposures on the bbc within a fortnight, and Monckton tomorrow along with Brian Cox's 2 December RS lecture coverage, can we assume that we are witnessing an orchestrated campaign by the bbc to undermine the momentum climate scepticism has gathered over the last year? Perhaps the invective of this campaign is a brief to series producers from the commissioning editors to launch an assault on the prime actors in the debate, rather than focus on the science? It appears very lop-sided that the characters the bbc chooses to "understand" are primarily political actors of the right and not academic/scientists.
I have to say I was a bit surprised that JD was "interviewed" by Nurse, when realistically we should expect it to be vice-versa, and to think of the opportunity the bbc have to "understand" Monckton the way they want to, leads me to conclude that these events are part of a counter-initiative that resulted from the issues raised during their naval gazing report on science coverage.
From a media background myself; I am just disappointed that sceptics don't have such a pervasive medium at their disposal with which to defend themselves. The internet is very good, but scheduled television is still an extremely powerful, manipulative medium. Documentary filmmaking is the vehicle of choice for supporting or destroying arguments and misrepresenting characters for the layperson/ general public. Pictures speak louder than words (lots of visual-kinesthetic learners out there), and a well shot, edited and scripted doc is a weapon of high calibre.
I ask myself - where is the next GGWS coming from? Who's commissioning it, funding it, producing it, and directing it? If anyone has any idea, then give me a call, I'll lend a hand for free.

Jan 30, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

Dimbleby is not neutral : I can remember him giving short shrift to a caller on Any Questions who innocently tried to include the Medieval Warm Period as part of the debate.

Jan 30, 2011 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaura Hills

"From a media background myself; I am just disappointed that sceptics don't have such a pervasive medium at their disposal with which to defend themselves."

We do, now. Some prominent sceptics are getting time on serious TV. You have to remember, worldviews are not overturned overnight, and we cannot realistically expect instantaneous victory. It is an advance from being excluded totally - not even being considered worth listening to - to sitting at the same table, even if it is still a biased and slanted table. And that in itself is an advantage, so long as you can make the slant visible. There's nothing that destroys one's credibility like making obvious propaganda. The more we can panic them into making, the better. Every time we go on we get more experience, get more points and questions out into the public awareness - and ultimately truth and falsehood will grapple and truth will win out. The more times we're on, the more tangled a web they must weave to keep us "discredited", and eventually it will start to trip them up.

While the field is so biased, we do not want to wheel our big guns out yet. There is a risk they will get discredited early by journalistic cheating. Pawns are expendable. (Without in any way wishing to disparage Dellers by calling him a pawn - I think he'd probably agree.) Let them open up a debate, provoke the other side into making careless errors and taking up weak positions, and then say "Well, of course you can beat a non-scientist like Dellingpole, but now try it on Professors McKittrick or Lindzen."

No, I'd say things were progressing very well. You can browbeat someone with authority if you still have your authority intact, and nothing short and simple they can hit you with. Had they done this before Climategate, they might have got this battle over with, to their advantage. But post-scandal, with their aura of authority shredding and the momentum starting to move the other way, the BBC weaken their long-term position immeasurably for the sake of a short-term delay. Their biased treatment of sceptics today is something that can be used against them for years to come.

Jan 30, 2011 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaogai

Johnathan Dimbleby, 2009, “There really is a catastrophe waiting down the road. My youngest child won’t even be middle aged by 2050. My older children will still very much be around. In 25 years there will be a population of nine billion, there are already food shortages, the temperature is going to go up by at least two degrees — unless we act dramatically we can write off civilised life. We will have millions of people fleeing the new deserts, rivers will turn saline from rising sea levels and lakes will dry up.”

It would appear that Johnathan Dimbleby is an ultra-alarmist.

Jan 30, 2011 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

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