How many of you reading this were abused by Jimmy Savile? Few if any, I would hazard. And while I don’t wish to play down the misery wrought over four or more decades by that loathsome perve, the BBC scandal I’m about to describe has resulted in damage, pain and destruction far more widespread than anything Savile managed.
It may have affected you, for example, if: you’ve had your view ruined and your property value trashed by a wind farm; you’re one of the 2,700 people killed in Britain last year by fuel poverty; you can’t get a job; you’ve lost your job; you’re skint; your kids can’t sleep because they’re so worried about the pets that are going to be drowned by the carbon monster; you’ve ever wondered why occasionally — even once would be nice — the BBC doesn’t make a programme about ‘climate change’ which isn’t relentlessly alarmist.
There’s a reason for all this — one that the BBC has spent six years trying to conceal. The story goes back to a seminar, held in January 2006, where the BBC (to quote one of its own reports) gathered ‘the best scientific experts’ who concluded that ‘the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’ on anthropogenic climate change.
To give you an idea of the effect this conference had on the BBC’s programming, here is a sample from 2006: 24 May — David Attenborough launches ‘Climate Chaos’ season with a two-part documentary, Are We Changing Planet Earth? (his pained, breathy, earnest conclusion: YES!); 28 May — Songs of Praise — Sally Magnusson visits an environmental project in Oxford that has made a real difference to the local community; 28 May — Test the Nation — Know Your Planet: Are you aware of climate and environmental issues?; 6 June — Five Disasters Waiting To Happen: a study of potential climate disaster scenarios in London, Shanghai, Mumbai, Paris and Tuvalu; 2 June — The Money Programme spends a week with a family in Teesdale, the area with the UK’s highest CO2 emissions per capita; 6 June Panorama: Climate Chaos — Bush’s Climate of Fear.
Oh, and I haven’t mentioned the involvement of Blue Peter, which changed its name to Green Peter for the day, offering top tips on how to ‘plant a drought-resistant garden’ and ‘how to boil a kettle with a bike’. Not even the Proms were immune. In 2007, the BBC commissioned a music drama inspired by Hurricane Katrina. Said Controller Nicholas Kenyon: ‘Climate change is such a subject of the moment and the Proms does reflect what is going on in the world.’
Little has changed since. In 2011 the BBC published a defiant apologia — written by angry snails-expert-cum-climate-alarmist Professor Steve Jones — arguing that the BBC’s bias on climate change was more than justified by the science. And only last week, the BBC’s former director-general Mark Thompson delivered a very long speech at Oxford University excoriating ‘deniers’, implying that climate change scepticism was akin to disavowing the link between smoking and cancer, and attacking Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation.
Now clearly, if you’re the kind of trusting soul who believes everything the BBC tells you, then none of this will be the cause for much concern. Others, however, might well wonder: who exactly were these ‘best scientific experts’ whose testimony at that January 2006 seminar was so persuasive that the BBC felt justified in disavowing its charter obligations to be fair and balanced, and to start coming over more like the official broadcasting arm of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace?
This was a question that also troubled North Wales pensioner and blogger (‘Harmless Sky’) Tony Newbery. So much so that he decided to make it the subject of an FOI request to the BBC. Though he knew that the seminar had been chaired by the (virulently alarmist) Lord May, formerly head of the (virulently alarmist) Royal Society, what interested him were the identities of the other 28 people known to have attended.
The BBC very much didn’t want him to find out. For a week this month, it has been spending perhaps £40,000 a day on a crack team of lawyers trying to persuade — successfully as it turned out — an information tribunal that this should remain confidential. Sadly for the BBC, another enterprising blogger called Maurizio Morabito unearthed the details anyway and published them on Monday via the website Watts Up With That?
So who were all these ‘best scientific experts’ who did so much to shape the BBC’s climate policy (and by extension, one fears, government policy too…)? Well, two were from Greenpeace; one was from Stop Climate Chaos; one was a CO2 reduction expert from BP; one was from Npower Renewables; one came from the left-leaning New Economics Foundation… Only five of those present could, in any way, be considered scientists with disciplines even vaguely relevant to ‘climate change’. And of these, every one had a track record of climate alarmism. No wonder the BBC tried so hard to keep the list of 28 a secret. Its claim that its policy change was based on the ‘best scientific’ expertise turns out to have been a massive lie.
You pay for this propaganda with your compulsory licence fee. You pay for it again — and how! — through the myriad costly measures which have been adopted by successive governments to ‘combat climate change’. If this doesn’t make you angry and disgusted and determined to see root and branch reform of this mendacious, incompetent and institutionally corrupt organisation, I should very much like to know why.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 17 November 2012