James Delingpole says You Know It Makes Sense
The most excruciatingly awful thing I have ever done in my entire life happened in my penultimate year at school. At the time I was learning classical guitar and occasionally I would meet up with
one of my English teachers, ‘Mattie’ Simpson, so that we could play duets together. On the fateful day I’m about to describe the piece we were practising was Bach’s
‘Air on a G String’.
Now my other main activity at the time was cross-country running. Like many of the boys in my house I would train regularly and hard, killing myself up and down the Malvern Hills before hurrying
home for tea where I’d fill my knackered, sweating carcass with round after round of peanut butter on toast. Sometimes, the combination of violent exercise and wolfed-down toast seemed to
exact a dire penalty on my guts.
And so it was on the dread duet day. No sooner had Mattie and I started plucking away — it was in Matron’s surgery, I remember — than something silent but exceedingly deadly
wafted from between my buttocks and into the air. It was evil and it lingered and I could tell it wasn’t going to be the last.
What to do? I’m sure it’s a conundrum Dear Mary could easily have answered, but 17 and gauche, I was flummoxed. As fart after vile fart crept out, I grew redder and redder, while dear
Mattie Simpson, a dignified fellow with the most exquisite manners, gamely pretended nothing was happening. But the embarrassment was affecting my playing. This offered Mattie Simpson a lifeline.
‘I say, James. Are you all right?’
And, of course, what I should have replied is, ‘No sir. Actually I think I might have stomach ache. Shall we meet some other time?’ But instead — to my eternal, undying shame, and
I shall burn in hell for this I’m sure — I blurted awkwardly: ‘Yes, sir. Fine, thank you.’ Thus condemning the poor, poor man to another 20 minutes at least of death by
Now the main reason I tell this story is for the benefit of Wikipedia. It seems that the free online encyclopedia has been desperate for scurrilous material to use against me, and so far all it has
found is a story so pathetic and dull and tragically non-eventful that I’m almost ashamed to reprint it. But for illustrative purposes, here is that crap story.
‘On November 17, 2009, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Delingpole launched an attack on climate campaigner and World War 2 veteran Lee Bidgood Jr of Gainesville, Florida as a fraud. The
attack backfired after the veteran came forward and confirmed his status to Newsweek magazine.’
Eh? Come again? My total Wikipedia biographical entry, excluding headlines, consists of 19 lines of information. Three of those lines are devoted to this utter non-story. Obviously
I’m biased here, so let me appeal to you the jury. From what you know of my life and career — and it’s not as if I’ve ever held back with the personal detail, is it? —
would you say that that particular snippet is remotely germane?
Is that a ‘hell, no!’ I can hear? Well good, because I agree. There’s only one reason that particular non-story is in there and it’s entirely characteristic of the way its
founder Jimmy Wales’s great ideal — a free and scrupulously neutral online encyclopedia created by and for its readers — has been hijacked and corrupted by a cabal of left-leaning
political activists. Nowhere is its bias more evident than its handling of issues connected with ‘global warming’ — and in the way it slyly smears any scientist, journalist or
organisation who disputes the supposed ‘consensus’.
Consider its entry on the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), which it illustrates with a graph looking remarkably similar to Michael Mann’s twice-discredited ‘hockey stick’ in order to
suggest that modern-day temperatures are notably higher than they were in the balmy period when Greenland was so green that Vikings could colonise it. The accompanying text expresses doubts as to
whether the MWP was a global phenomenon, as opposed to just a Northern European one. It even refers to it as the Medieval Climatic Anomaly.
None of this in any way reflects mainstream scientific thinking on the MWP. A meta-analysis of all the articles written on the subject showed that the vast majority of experts believe that not only
was the MWP widespread but that average temperatures were warmer than they are now. Why is Wikipedia so keen to suggest otherwise? Because the existence of the MWP quite massively undermines the
climate alarmist case that late 20th-century temperature rises were a) anthropogenic and b) unprecedented. And unfortunately Wikipedia is policed by climate alarmists.
When I say ‘policed’ I really do mean ‘policed’. As climate sceptics like the National Post’s Lawrence Solomon have found, there’s absolutely no point in trying
to shift entries like this to a more balanced position because within moments one of Wikipedia’s gang of in-house trolls will have shifted it back to the ‘correct’ ideological
One of the most assiduous correctors is a British Green party activist called William Connolley, who features in some of the Climategate emails and was a founder member of Realclimate, an alarmist
website originally designed by friends of Michael Mann to pump out propaganda in support of his hockey stick. By the end of last year, Solomon reported, Connolley had created or rewritten no fewer
than 5,428 Wikipedia articles.
Though Connolley has had his status as a Wikipedia ‘administrator’ revoked after he was found by a disciplinary committee to have ‘misused his administrative privileges’, he
remains such an indefatigable contributor to the site’s pages — especially on anything to do with climate change — that he seems to consider it a full-time job. On 17 June, for
example, he was at it, on and off, from 7.17 a.m. until 11.11 p.m., making 43 comments or edits on subjects including climate sceptic Indur Goklany, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition and
Effects of Global Warming on Australia.
Either he’s obsessively dedicated or, more likely, he is being paid. And if he is being paid, it would be interesting know who’s paying him. Though it was never part of the original
Wikipedia dream that contributors should be funded to promote a particular point of view, it goes without saying that any interested party who can find a way of subverting Wikipedia’s
supposed neutrality on a given subject has got his hands on a propaganda gold mine. Sure everyone ‘knows’ that Wikipedia is unreliable. But that doesn’t stop everyone using it as
one of their main reference sources. Including me.
Still I suppose it could be worse. So determined is Wikipedia to create at least the illusion of fairness and transparency that it does allow you to view the process by which the slurs being
prepared against you are dissected beforehand.
‘Is he a BNP member?’ one attempted contributor was eager to know of me. ‘Heard an interview with him on a right-wing extremist radio station here in the USA, he said some things
that imply support of the BNP, for example he claimed there is something wrong with multiculturalism.’
Another contributor had to put him right: ‘No. He regards the BNP as left-wing socialists.’
Sorry to disappoint you on that one, guys. But the fart story’s all yours if you want it.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated June 26, 2010