A heated debate
Sir: One reason why we continue to live in an unsustainable way is that not enough people accept the reality and implications of climate change (‘The great climate change con trick’, 11 July). Green issues may be higher up the agenda than before but Professor Plimer needn’t fret: procrastinating politicians continue to encourage business-as-usual consumption and unsustainable growth. Sadly, Professor Plimer is not alone in his climate-sceptic views, as sales of his new book indicate. So he has, it would seem, every reason to be cheerful.
Executive Director, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
Sir: It is sad to see the desperate wishful thinking that The Spectator is now engaged in over the climate crisis. From a cover proclaiming ‘Relax: global warming is a myth’ to James Delingpole saying ‘Imagine how wonderful the world would be if man-made global warming were just a figment of Al Gore’s imagination… Imagine no more, for your fairy godmother is here’, you are playing shamelessly to people’s selfish desire not to make changes to their lives to prevent our children’s future from being devastated.
The irony here is that the changes that we need to make to stop runaway climate change are in most cases the very changes that we need in order to make our world a better place. A huge drop in pollution, a relocalisation of our society, less stress, revived community spirit and the like. It is extremely unfortunate, to say the least, that in your desire not to have to change anything about the way that society operates, you are missing the chance to make the very changes that would make us as a people happier.
Councillor Rupert Read
Green Party candidate in the Norwich North by-election, Norwich
Sir: The normal suspects are fulminating because James Delingpole actually dared to thoroughly read and review my book Heaven and Earth: Global warming — the missing science. It appears that an alternative view on climate change by an established scientist should not be aired in our green utopia. The Guardian’s George Monbiot, who criticised this magazine’s decision to publish James Delingpole’s interview with me, should put his money where his mouth is — or is he just hot air? I am happy to fly to London at my expense to debate Mr Monbiot on ‘Humans induce climate change: myth or reality’.
Professor Ian Plimer
The University of Adelaide, Australia
Sir: The junior Russian intelligence officer Ivanov (Scandals special, 11 July) never intended to recruit Christine Keeler as an agent, as she was of no operational value. He never slept with her, because he did not have the required permission of the ‘Centre’ to do so. The head of station never applied for the Centre’s sanction for it.
The stories about Ivanov’s role are myths.
Sir: I am disappointed that the Spectator can publish the sentence, written with evident approval: ‘Patton admired the Wehrmacht because of its fighting spirit and gallantry’ (‘High Life’, 4 July). This is preceded earlier in Taki’s column by his nostalgic view of the Wehrmacht and its ‘tall, blond German officers who were billeted in our house in Kolonaki’.
Perhaps he’d like to share his nostalgia for German uniforms and approval of German gallantry with the descendants and friends of the estimated 300,000 Greeks who died from famine and persecution during the Nazi occupation of Greece? As someone who regularly walks past the former Nazi headquarters in Kolonaki in central Athens, I find Taki’s flippancy regarding the suffering of the Greek people at this time arrogantly dismissive and extremely offensive.
Spying on Facebook
Sir: Does it not occur to Hugo Rifkind (Shared Opinion, 11 July) that not all Facebook entries are to be taken at face value? I suspect that the offending entry attributed to the family of the new head of MI6 is a spoof, or subtle disinformation designed to throw eager beavers off the scent: the be-Speedoed beach figure does not even look much like the John Sawers I know.
Rifkind is also incorrect in stating that John Scarlett was the first head of MI6 ‘to be officially photographed’. The Atticus column in the Sunday Times, 7 November 1982, contained the official photograph of Mrs Thatcher’s Number 10 dinner to mark our victory in the Falkands war. Atticus names the then ‘C’, Colin Figures, as among those in the published photograph. I can vouch personally for the latter’s presence on that occasion.
Sir: Anyone who heeds Charles Moore’s call for a challenge to Mr New Speaker Bercow (The Spectator’s Notes, 11 July) need have no fear that he or she would be breaching a principle that ‘the Speaker’s seat is uncontested at each general election’. All Speakers who sought re-election between 1945 and Margaret Thatcher’s last campaign were opposed, usually by candidates from the main parties. In 1987 official Labour and SDP/Liberal Alliance candidates stood against Speaker Weatherill. A candidate in Buckingham would be able to invoke ample precedents.
Older than thou
Sir: My husband was born in 1915 (Letters, 11 July). He remembers meeting an aged lady relative aged 104 when he was three years old. Her grandfather used to drive a stagecoach from Dover to London in about 1780. He was born in about 1740. Beat that.
Brierley Hill, Dudley
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated July 18, 2009