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Discussion > Corruption of a Childhood Institution - The Guinness Book of World Records

How a cherished institution has succumbed to Green infiltration and is propagandising your kids

When I was snotty kid in Liverpool the Guinness Book of World Records was a window on a world already opening by my Dad's insistence on watching Horizon and The World About Us. I still have my 1973 copy given as Christmas present. I can remember photos and passages from my 10 year old self.

I have passed this tradition on to my eldest son. He gets the latest copy under the tree each year. It has changed a lot to reflect the short attention span and need for images that suit today's youth.

So I flicked through the latest 2013 edition. And found something that dismayed me. Something nothing short of indoctrination and the corruption of the "trust" that you expect in a book like the GBWR.

The second section in after Space is Green Earth (Page 33). The first pages (34,35) of Green Earth are given over to Climate Change. Here are the pages,

GBWR Green Earth Section Page 34
GBWR Green Earth Section Page 35

You can notice a number of things about these pages. Of interest to Bishop Hill readers will be Mann's Hockey stick graph given pride of place. It talks about Ice Caps and Acid Oceans and CO2.

But what is the most noticeable thing about these two pages? There are no records contained within them. Nothing. Zero. It is quite simply a WWF/Greenpeace/FotE style propaganda piece. On page 34 of one of the most widely read children books on the planet.

There are no records on these pages.

I did a bit of googling and found the following post on Tesco's site by the Editor-in-Chief, Craig Glenday: GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2013 BOOK IS HERE!. He is quite open,

We’ve asked our science consultants to tackle the subject of climate change and the future of our planet, and dedicated an entire chapter to the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of our treatment of the environment.

(I would interested to know who are these "science consultants".)

I will be writing to Mr. Glenday. The hypocrisy of Greenies is total. The Carbon Footprint of his organisation and the associated events and attempts is huge. And if you really were a hair shirt Greenie you might look unfavourably at a footprint solely expended in the pursuit of triviality, celebrity and attention seeking.

My 14 year old son understood straight away what the two pages were about. My guess is the lack of records on the page and its appearance as a Greenie "text book" will not get the exposure they believe. But where can we expect green indoctrination to appear next? So obviously out of sync with the container it resides in.

You cannot let your guard down with the information being fed to your children.

Jan 1, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Climate change corruption is everywhere. Why should the GBoR be exempt?

I think we passed the tipping point long ago. It's here to stay.

Jan 1, 2013 at 12:15 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Jiminy, they're infiltrating kids' comics as well as the Guinness Book.

At Christmas I was saddened to find green propaganda even in my nephew's 2013 Dandy Annual.

The "Black Bob" story, with its intelligent sheepdog and 1930s-style artwork, centered on some baddies and their blueprints for a wicked power station in a beautiful valley. Bob manages to bring said blueprints to the attention of a nice newspaper editor who manages to kill off the project. (They were in a cardboard tube, if you must know, grrr!)

The final image shows the Beautiful Valley today, decades after Bob's intervention. It is still green, but full of wind turbines. A caption explains that progress cannot be stopped, but at least blah blah blah.

And our children are led to believe there's a choice between twelve windmills and one power station. Without the boring stuff about GWh-per-annum, this clever propaganda can persuade many a child - and many an MP - that the windmills are a decent alternative. What's the expression? A "no-brainer".

Jan 1, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

And people doubt that there is some kind of conspiracy?

Jan 1, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Registered CommenterDung

just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Take care out there.

I used to love Black Bob too, shame on DC Thomson even if they are based in the Green Utopia of Big Alec.

Jan 1, 2013 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Thanks Brent I will check it out, my youngest son got a 2013 Dandy for Christmas also.

Jan 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Conspiracy is such a divisive word. It also implies a precise defined result.

As someone who has worked in higher levels of business I believe more in a common interests. Interests defined by following rather than leading.

However in this case, my instincts say that the GBWR has been successfully targeted by a Green Interest group after being placed on a "to be influenced" list.

Strangely the McWhirters were notoriously right-wing (even beyond the realms of the Conservative Party) yet I cannot find their "views fingerprint" in the 1973 edition.

Jan 1, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket


It is not hard to be more right wing than the Conervative party these days :)

Jan 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Well spotted Jiminy. I have added a link to here on my compilation of books aimed at children and teachers on climate:, and given a mention also to Brent's Dandy Annual spot. More examples of the mess of materials that will have to cleared up whenever there is enough demand for decent science for the young, and some protection for them from eco-propaganda.

Jan 1, 2013 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

I saw the corruption of the GBoR too and duly told my 8 year old that the pages on climate were propaganda. The pages didn't interest him at all as he wanted to see the fat people!

Jan 1, 2013 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

The creative industries have been running eco-propaganda since the 1970s. How many movies and TV episodes have been about evil capitalists wanting to destroy a much-loved local beauty spot in pursuit of profits?

While there are certainly cases where this occurs, what strikes me is that every single time in these stories the goodies and baddies are exactly the same. The economic benefits of development are regarded as bribes, and the lost opportunities for impoverished locals are never mentioned.

I live in a planned city (Canberra, Australia's national capital) which was plonked in the middle of nowhere 100 years ago to settle a dispute between Sydney and Melbourne about which should host the capital.

Nowadays, it would never have been built because it quite likely accelerated the extinction of some marginal species or other.

Yet, thanks to millions of trees and shrubs being planted and maintained in what used to be "clapped out old sheep paddocks", we have huge populations of parrots and other birds which feast on the nuts and fruits that would never otherwise have been here. The kangaroos are doing so well that we have to cull them each year. The artificial lakes support uncountable birds and water creatures.

We need to turn the discussion around at every opportunity. People in the arts are impractical dreamers who generally prefer feelings over facts. Believe me, I know, I worked with them for many years. It is a mindset that facilitates art but produces lousy public policy.

Jan 1, 2013 at 8:46 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

It is obvious why those pages contain no records: subsequent restatement of the data would become only too apparent to young readers!

Jan 3, 2013 at 8:40 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

Loved your post with the “Come to Canberra” advert, but:

The creative industries have been running eco-propaganda since the 1970s. How many movies and TV episodes have been about evil capitalists wanting to destroy a much-loved local beauty spot in pursuit of profits?
What, like Smaug the dragon in “the Hobbit”?

It’s inevitable that artists will express a world view, often unconsciously. The important thing is to do it well, and not spoil the story. I’m afraid Black Bob has lost it for the Dandy Annual.
The Guiness Book of Records is supposed to be factual. Letters to the editor might well have an effect.

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Sad. I have a copy of the very first GBR (1958). But it did decline over the years, becoming full of gimmicky record breaking efforts rather than genuine records. If your offspring are old enough to read it, perhaps they could also tackle the HSI?

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Geoff, in my experience - having worked with dramatic, musical and visual artists for about a decade earlier in my life - they are remarkably uniform in their views about politics. It is one of those paradoxes - the fearless iconoclasts are mostly utterly sheeplike and unreflective in this respect. They are overwhelmingly leftist, believe passionately in every crank theory of environmentalism, and are simply incapable of imagining why anyone would disagree with them.

Why this is so is another discussion (and a very interesting one). But the point is, the publishing industry is dominated not only by the creative people, but by those in middle management who strongly identify with them and their views. That is why everything from comics to the Guinness Book of Records has been hijacked by alarmists.

Jan 3, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

I disagree with you about politics, but your analysis of media sociology is absolutely right.
And here’s an odd thing I’ve discovered since I started frequented right wing libertarian blogs - the attacks on the left are often about the things that sensible lefties consider entirely secondary - the eco-conscious conceptual art, the Marxist modern dance etc. It’s as if I attacked conservatives for wearing a poppy and standing for the national anthem.
Clearly, there’s a lot of misunderstanding on both sides.
Jiminy Cricket notes that the McWhirters were very right wing. Norris supported the National Front at one time, I believe. Yet it didn’t affect the GBoR, while the right-on ecological opinions of an anonymous bunch of editors has. I find that fact very disturbing.

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff, I agree that a lot of the sniping is irrelevant - heck interpretive dance and opera - it's all State subsidised wankery. : )

One thing I am very sure of is that artists and their hangers-on are a very unreliable source of wisdom when it comes to public policy.

Jan 3, 2013 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna