Monbiot seems to assume he is somehow exposing Matt – who comes across rather well, telling Monbiot that he may well be right but what’s the harm in debating? Monbiot doesn’t really have an answer, setting prissy conditions for him to come on the debating floor. Grown-ups who are confident about their facts don’t send a list of demands before turning up on a public platform. They just debate. The problem, I suspect, is that the very notion of a debate offends Monbiot who seriously believes that only crackpots disagree with him. I wonder what he makes about this US Senate list of 700 scientists who dissent over man-made global warming – are they all bonkers? Monbiot has written a book about the subject and, even for those who disagree with him (myself very much included), it’s quite a good book. This, I suspect, is why Matt invited him. So surely he can handle himself on a debating floor?
If he hoped to scuttle our debate, and prevent anyone from hearing what Plimer has to say, then he can think again. The Spectator’s debate will go ahead – nothing surer. But what should we do about Monbiot? I’m tempted to plonk an empty chair on the platform, to signify part of this ‘debate’ which only dares to make its point from behind the shelter of newsprint.