At Glastonbury Festival I finally caught up with one of my all-time heroines…
— James Delingpole (@JamesDelingpole) July 1, 2019
No, not really. Look closely and you’ll see that it’s just a painted hardboard cut-out. But it does give you an idea of what we’re up against. Hanging on the wall nearby was a painting of Sir David Attenborough with a halo around his head. None of this, it goes almost without saying, was in any way tongue-in-cheek.
Whoever painted these pictures genuinely, sincerely believes that Greta Thunberg is a latter day Jesus whose every utterance we should aim to follow. And that Attenborough, far from being a whispery-voiced, gorilla-hugging, alleged walrus-murdering Malthusian, is in fact right up there with St Francis of Assisi.
Scarier than that, though, is the assumption behind those paintings. It’s one that pervades the whole festival, namely: every good and decent person in the world — including all 135,000 people at Glastonbury — knows that we have only 12 years left to save the planet and that if we don’t put on our hair shirts, drink Oatly instead of milk [bit ironic that, given that the festival is held on a dairy farm and was founded by a dairy farmer…], abandon plastic, recycle everything, and bomb the economy back to the dark ages, we are all totally doomed.
I find the intolerance of this green totalitarianism utterly terrifying.
But here’s the thing I learned during my three days among the green enemy: they are not hateful or evil, just woefully ill-informed.
Travelling incognito (well I hope I was, otherwise it might have been a bit awkward), I hung with people in Extinction Rebellion t-shirts and naked greenies in the sauna in a yurt and bought coffee (made with Oatly, natch) from the greenies at the Greenpeace cafe. And what I realised was something I ought to have appreciated ages back but didn’t quite: they actually believe this nonsense!
They believe it not for the most part because they are stupid or because they are cynically using it as a way to smash the capitalist system or because they’re crony capitalists making money out of a massive scam (though obviously those people exist too). Rather they believe it because they know no better.
In one conversation, a red-headed woman told me — during a discussion prompted by the scorching weather — how much harder the future was going to be for people of her pale complexion because what with global warming summers were going to get hotter and hotter.
Certainly, as she spoke the weather we were experiencing was indeed jolly hot.
But it seemed not have occurred to this very nice lady that a) heat is something you can get quite a lot of in June, June being part of the season called summer, known for its sun and b) this particular bout of heat had nothing whatsoever to do with “climate change” but was the result of a warm front which had come from North Africa.
This is how you think, though, when you live in a bubble where you meet no one who is a climate sceptic or indeed ever get exposed to articles or books questioning the alarmist narrative.
The media bear a terrible responsibility for this. It isn’t just the wall-to-wall green propaganda you get from avowedly left-wing newspapers like the Guardian or blatantly partisan organisations like the BBC or CNN. Even conservative newspapers are part of the problem. Wandering into my kitchen just now I happened to catch sight of the business section of the Daily Telegraph, former house journal of the Tory shires, to see an article headlined ‘Green finance can solve world’s greatest challenge.’
I’m sure the author of that bilge, Simon Thompson, chief executive of the Chartered Banker Institute (whatever that is when it’s home) knows less than bugger all about the background to climate change. But the casual reader isn’t going to know that. More likely, they’re going to tell themselves mentally: “Well the chief executive of the Chartered Banker Institute is hardly going to write this stuff if it’s not true. Nor would the Telegraph publish it if it weren’t true.”
So what happens is that public’s trust in the cumulative prestige of all manner of institutions — the BBC, the Telegraph, the Chartered Banker Institute, on and on it goes — is being horribly abused, daily, because journalists aren’t doing their job and scientists are fudging the evidence and businessmen and financiers (so hardheaded about most things) are being too woefully credulous and politicians are too busy trying to don the green mantle because they think it makes them sound caring and sensitive.
But you expect businessmen and financiers to follow money, politicians to chase votes, scientists to go where the grant funding is. Journalists are — or ought to be — different. You don’t go into journalism for the money: you do it, usually, because you’re a nosey so-and-so, largely unemployable elsewhere, who wants to get to the bottom of the story however ugly or inconvenient it may be.
With climate change — and the environment generally — mainstream media journalists just aren’t doing this. They’re swallowing the green narrative whole — then regurgitating it daily in their newspapers and on their TV and radio shows. Not only do they assiduously promote the [non-existent] climate change ‘problem’ but they also shill on behalf of the extremely damaging solution: renewables (or ‘clean’ energy as they’ve laughably redesignated it).
Reading the Telegraph‘s gushingly uncritical coverage of the wind industry, for example, you sometimes wonder whether its entire business model isn’t just a front for Big Wind.
This lack of critical scrutiny means that green propagandists get a free pass.
It means suicidal projects like Theresa May’s ‘Net Zero’ carbon scheme get passed by parliament on the nod, even though the £1.5 trillion or so it will cost the taxpayer is really quite a lot of money and the damage it will do to the environment and the economy and liberty will prove devastating.
It means that the public start acting like turkeys voting Christmas.
They think this way because they genuinely believe it’s going to help the environment.
Apparently the message hasn’t got through that what wind turbines actually do is this…
First we save the eagles and now we killing them very painfully before the dies..
This one was still alive wondering what are you doing.. pic.twitter.com/rExGa9va1L
— Göte W. Larsson (@GWLarsson) July 1, 2019
I don’t believe all those people pushing for more wind turbines want millions of birds and bats to sliced and diced; I don’t believe that they want to ruin views for miles around, enrich crony capitalists, drive old people into fuel poverty, or make people sick from wind turbine syndrome. Rather I think it’s that they’ve been brainwashed by the media into ignoring these issues or into imagining that this is #fakenews or that these are small and acceptable prices to pay for the massive environmental benefits which will accrue once we’ve abandoned fossil fuels.
What I learned at Glastonbury is at once cheering and depressing.
The cheering part is that most of the people who believe passionately in climate change, even the really radical ones who support Extinction Rebellion, are mostly just as nice and normal and reasonable and decent and intelligent as you and me.
The depressing part is that our message is simply not reaching them. We on the sceptical side of the argument have so many facts in our favour: we have the science, we have nature, we have the weather, we have the economics, we have the birds and the bats, we have the poor, all on our side, all adding up to arguments against the Green Terror so utterly compelling than any half way competent PR company ought to win the battle for hearts and minds in a nanosecond.
Yet still we’re losing and I really don’t know what to do.
Anyone got any bright ideas?