I hate Lush. I love Aldi. How about you?

Profits Rise At Aldi Supermarket Chain

Are you Lush or are you Aldi? Me, I’m Aldi all the way. So much so that when someone — usually my daughter — tries to drag me anywhere near one of Lush’s painfully ubiquitous high street cosmetics shops, I respond a bit like the Antichrist does in the ‘it’s just a church, Damien’ scene in The Omen, writhing and shrieking like I’m about to be dissolved in acid. (Which, funnily enough, is rather how my skin feels when I’ve treated myself to one of Lush’s fizzing bath bombs)

Not, it must be said, that there is anything remotely Antichrist-like about hating Lush. On the contrary, it is the perfectly natural response of any civilised, intelligent, moral human being. What’s wrong with Lush? Everything is wrong with Lush, but in a nutshell, it’s this: that it’s not so much a shop as a marketing trick; a candy-coloured, berry-scented, personally gift-wrapped exercise in organic, ethnically sourced, fair-trade turd-polishing.

If Lush were a circus, it would be touchy-feely, painfully right-on and thrill-free Cirque Du Soleil. If it were a movie, it would be something like that overstyled, hyper-whimsical Wes Anderson picture The Grand Budapest Hotel. If Lush were a Mr Benn episode, it would be the spaceman one where he goes to another planet and picks up lots of jewels only to discover on bringing them back to Festive Road that they’re all just rocks.

You go in and it’s all so seemingly enticing: the handwritten-esque labels done in the overexcitable decorative style of girls called Bekki who draw a circle over the ‘i’ instead of a dot; the gaudy chunks of rippled soap which look and smell more delicious than cake; the hovering assistants who want to be like your bestest friend ever and make you feel so thrilled and validated by your purchase that it’s like you’ve got a new boyfriend, a pony and an Anya Hindmarch bag rolled into one.

Look, I’m not knocking the elegantly cynical business model. Nor the sweet if hyper-enthusiastic customer service. But let’s not kid ourselves that there’s anything innocent or homespun or altruistic or counter-cultural about it. For all its support of right-on causes (Lush is aggressively anti-Israel, anti-foxhunting, anti-animal testing, pro-UK Uncut) Lush is really just another ugly vulture capitalist — buying very cheap ingredients and selling them very dear.

Now compare the Lush experience with the Aldi one, which is pretty much the exact opposite. Take Aldi’s 30-day-aged Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak, which sells for less than a fiver, and is as well-marbled, buttery and flavoursome as anything you’d find for twice the price in an upmarket butcher. Or its single-estate, Italian extra virgin olive oil, which invariably wins every competition going and retails for less than a fifth of the £20 it ought to cost. Or its fine wine selection, especially around Christmas, when you can pick up a very decent Puligny-Montrachet for a good tenner less than in Waitrose.

How can Aldi afford to do this? By keeping its product range short and sweet; by keeping its margins ultra-tight; by training its staff to behave differently from those ditzy girls in Lush. You wouldn’t call them rude, exactly. But they’re definitely brisk, processing your groceries with an alacrity which would appal those lovely, warm mumsy types and bright graduates up the road at Waitrose.

Shopping at Aldi takes a bit of getting used to, it’s true. At first, you might find yourself thinking: ‘So this is what it’s like to pick up your social security cheque.’ But though there’s definitely a bit of a wartime feel to the spartan atmosphere (not to mention in the presence of all those displaced refugees from Poland, Romania, etc; plus all those weird own-brand names you’ve never encountered before), there’s also a Blitz-spirit camaraderie and sense of purpose. You’re not there for the thrills or to linger in the aisles (let alone at the till, which you can’t because the bagging area has been made so small). You’re there to buy stuff you need, very cheap, and get out as quickly as possible.

Read the rest – where I show how almost everything in the world can be divided into whether it’s Lush or Aldi – here at The Spectator.

Eddie Redmayne, the Oscars and why Eton is a four-letter word

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There are many reasons to celebrate Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar last night – from his charming and refreshingly brief acceptance speech to the fact that the award didn’t go to Benedict “This is what a feminist looks like” Cumberbatch – is the wailing and consternation and gnashing of teeth it will cause among the chippy anti-public-school brigade, people who hate Eton (Redmayne’s alma mater) especially.

[US readers please note: when we say ‘public school’ in Britain, we are referring to ‘private schools’, not what you would call ‘public schools’ which we call ‘state schools’. Oh and we don’t know what you mean by ‘cilantro’ either. We call it ‘coriander’. Capisce?]

Eton College (Wikimedia)

As Redmayne’s fellow Old Etonian (OEs, as they are known), Damian Lewis, once quipped: “Eton is a four-letter word.” And he’s absolutely right, for a lot of people it is. They see the penguin uniforms (black tail coats; waistcoats; stiff white collars) and they see the products (which currently include the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Mayor of London and the second in line to the throne, Prince William) and they’re filled with uncontrollable jealousy and rage and hatred which they try to dignify by couching it as an honest aversion to “elitism” and “unearned privilege” and “a sense of entitlement”.

True, Old Etonians can be irritating, as for example Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby reminded us recently with his lame-arsed attacks on capitalism and his feeble handwringing response to ISIS’s murder of those unfortunate Coptic Christians.

But if you’re going to blame an Eton education for Justin Welby (and David Cameron, Earl Spencer, the Hon Sir Jonathan Porritt, Oliver Letwin, etc) then how do you explain John Prescott, Dale Vince, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Jeffrey Dahmer – not one of whom, so far as I’m aware, is entitled to wear the black and turquoise striped OE tie?

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No, the real reason people hate Eton is that its products are so spectacularly successful. In the world of acting, for example, besides Redmayne and Lewis, they include Tom Hiddleston, Harry Lloyd, Dominic West and Hugh “House” Laurie. And the reason they’ve succeeded – against the odds: the entertainment industry, like most industries these days is riddled with anti-‘elitist’ prejudice – is because they have benefited from the kind of classic, rigorous, old school, liberal arts education which the left has sought for so long to destroy.

Sure it probably helps having high cheek-bones, good breeding, and a natural affinity with the Queen’s English. But there are lots of boys from poorer backgrounds on bursaries at Eton too and these go on to perform at least as well in the outside world as the scions of the English upper classes.

Former student Tom Hiddleston (Reuters)

That’s because among the life skills Eton continues unapologetically to instill in its boys, in return for its annual fees (circa £30,000 pa) are: self-discipline; independence of mind (despite its traditionalist air, Eton is run more like a libertarian experiment: there are no official bed times, for example, and you do your homework when you want to do rather than when you are told to do); impeccable manners; extreme competitiveness; well-roundedness (they don’t care what you do, whether it’s beagling, DJ-ing, calligraphy, gaming, rowing, or drama, just so long as you cultivate interests beyond the school curriculum); humility (yes, really: most Etonians I’ve met are hugely grateful for the privilege of their education, which they are encouraged to repay through schemes like the one where they ‘mentor’ state school pupils); wit (banter, is, of course, very important and on a very high level at Eton); and the ability to mask the immense ambition most of them have with that quality known as “Etonian charm.”

Read the rest at Breitbart London

‘Compassionate conservatism’ is the devil’s urine

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Oh great. A new manifesto arguing for “compassionate conservatism.” Only this time, the authors have hit on the ingenious variant “The Good Right.”

I’d love to tell Tim Montgomerie and Stephan Shakespeare exactly what I think of their limp-wristed apologia for precisely the kind of watered-down, damp-dishcloth faux-conservatism that has driven so many natural conservatives into the bosom of UKIP. But I won’t, obviously, because it will give them far too much masochistic pleasure.

So let me just quibble, gently, with one of the numerous bits I particularly hate.

It’s where they claim that “Government is Not the Enemy.”

Now I agree that, theoretically speaking, this is a delightfully warm and cozy affirmatory statement of kitten-stroking caringness.

To help us into the right frame of mind, they treat us to some heart-warming examples of just the kind of thing “Government” does to make all the horrid things go away.

If you are someone who is desperate for a roof over your head after a flood, hurricane or forest fire has destroyed your home or neighbourhood you are very grateful for help from the government.

If you are out of work and your relatives are too stretched to sustain you and your family you depend upon that government welfare cheque.

If drug gangs are outside your kids’ schools every morning and afternoon you are very grateful for government help.

All of which, of course, people on what they implicitly suggest is the “Bad Right” would like to do away with. Yes that’s right, Timmy. People who, a la Ronald Reagan, argue that “Government is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem,” just want to crush the poor and oppressed under their jackboots and are so doctrinaire – no really, I’ve heard this argument being advanced, in a debate on libertarianism, by the Guardian’s Chief Political Columnist – that their idea of a perfect state is the bracingly government-free entity that is Somalia.

And there was I thinking that one of the key facets of conservatism is that it is a practical and honest creed. It’s not about airy-fairy theories about what might work if only we closed our eyes tight enough and said “I believe in Tinkerbell.” It’s about what actually does work in the real world, as demonstrated by hard evidence.

So let me give a few examples of government in action and invite Tim Montgomerie to explain exactly how they have made our world a better place.

1. Compulsory skimmed milk in schools.

In the last few months, successive reports have demonstrated that full fat milk is much better for you than skimmed.

So guess what the Department of Education’s latest “free school milk requirements” introduced last month tell us. Yes, that’s right: “You may only offer lower-fat milk (not more than 1.8 per cent fat content, such as semi-skimmed, skimmed, or 1 per cent fat milk).”

2. The ‘liberation’ of Libya.

No, of course, it wasn’t obvious to anyone with half a brain that overthrowing Gaddafi would create more problems than it solved. (cf also Saddam Hussein; the attempted defenestration of Bashar Al Assad)

Now we learn that Libya is being transformed into another ISIS stronghold which will be used as a launchpad for terrorist operations within Europe. But hey, again, who could possibly have predicted this?

3. The Climate Change Act

Under the 2008 Climate Change Act, voted for by all but five MPs, Britain is legally committed to a “decarbonisation” programme which will hamstring the UK economy with useless projects like the proposed mega windfarm 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast, blight our seas and landscape and cost the taxpayer £734 billion. To no practical purpose whatsoever.

4. Plain packaging for cigarettes

Plain packaging is not only illiberal (and ugly and anti-capitalist) but doesn’t even achieve the one thing it was designed to do: put people off smoking. (see also: the ban on smoking in public places, introduced to prevent the dangers of “second-hand smoking” which, all serious studies show are non-existent)

But hey, the government is going to go ahead with it any way.

5. Harriet Harman’s “if she’s drunk you raped her” laws on consent – now fully endorsed and aggressively pursued under this administration by the vengefully PC Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders.

Nice one, government. You have just needlessly criminalised about 95 per cent of Britain’s male youth population.

6. The Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders Programme.

One from the Blair era, I know, but no heads have ever rolled for it, least of all the chippy, porcine incompetent in charge of it, John Prescott, who was, of course, instead elevated to the Lords.

What it did, in essence, was destroy the heart and character of many of Britain’s towns, by doing much the same that Ceausescu did in Romania: clearing and bulldozing Victorian streets (dubbed “slums” for propaganda purposes) and replacing them with modern buildings more suited to New Labour’s Year Zero. Except, oops, Labour ran out of money so a lot of the new buildings were never built; but by then the communities inhabiting the old buildings had already been broken up and moved on.

7. Rotherham et al.

Well Local Government counts as government too, doesn’t it? And it was definitely Local Government in Rotherham that allowed those Muslim rape gangs to operate with near impunity

I could go on and on. My list was never meant to be comprehensive. I’ve simply picked a few random examples of areas both great and small where government has tried (or possibly not tried) to do the right thing and made life almost immeasurably worse for everyone.

What I hope the range and variety of the idiocies cited shows is that incompetence and disastrous unintended consequences are not some unfortunate, occasional accident of government activity: they are its very essence. This is what politicians do: not just ghastly lefty Labour ones but supposed sensible “small government” (yeah right: they all go native in the end) Conservative ones. They meddle because they want to show they are making a difference – that government, as per Tim Montgomerie – is not your enemy but your friend. But they’re always too busy or politically compromised or plain thick to think it through properly. And even when they do think up clever ideas they only end up being sabotaged by Jeremy Heywood and his gang of wreckers in the Civil Service.

It’s no concidence about the only two worthwhile achievements of the Cameron administration were essentially anti-government in nature: Gove’s liberation of schools from the shackles of local government; Ian Duncan Smith’s simplification of the welfare system (which of course will have the happy side-effect of putting a lot of public sector bloatocrats out of a job).

If Montgomerie and Shakespeare’s drivel had been published after ten years of red meat Thatcherism you could just about it excuse its intellectual poverty and its wheedling desperation for change on the grounds of “well of course, the wetter fringe of the Conservative movement are going to be a bit upset.”

But it’s pretty rich, I have to say, for Monty and Shaggers to bring out this centrist tosh and try to advance it as something new and radical and different when centrist tosh is pretty much all we’ve had since David Cameron and his pals came to power and which is why this country is still in such a mess.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

So butter is good for you? Just like global warming, then

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The big story in all the papers this week is that butter is good for you, after all.

I say “after all” because for most of my life butter has been widely touted by the Health Establishment as the dietary equivalent of Polonium-210. That’s why, when you go to the supermarket, every other product on the shelves screams at you about how healthily “low fat” it is; why, at some high-street coffee chains, you can’t get your latte made with full-fat milk even if you ask because they only do “skimmed” or “semi-skimmed”; and why, perhaps most damningly, we’re currently experiencing an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

It all goes back to some now discredited ‘research’ conducted in the 1950s by an American dietician called Ancel Keys. This was inspired, in turn, by a Russian researcher Nikolaj Nikolajewitsch Anitschkow who in 1913 fed large quantities of animal fats to rabbits and noted that their cholesterol levels went through the roof. Keys postulated that the key to a healthy diet was to pursue a “Mediterranean” lifestyle – high on olive oil, low on saturated animal fats.

Keys’s research was seized on eagerly by the bansturbators of the Nanny State and their allies in the medical and food industries. From 1957 the American Heart Association began targeting animal fats as public enemy number one. In 1977, fat-avoidance became US government policy with the launch of the McGovern dietary guidelines. Britain later followed suit.

As a result, the lifestyles of many in the West were transformed quite radically. Food products that hitherto been associated with comfort, homeliness and abundance – eggs, butter, cream, bacon, succulent fatty meat, beef dripping (which I remember my grandparents spreading thickly on toast in the 1970s) – now began to be seen as forbidden pleasures, best consumed in moderation, or better still – for the really virtuous – not at all.

Meanwhile, the food industry grew fat on exploiting our neuroses with new healthy products like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and Flora (posh margarine, basically), low fat yoghurts and low fat everything else. Another beneficiary was the sugar and corn syrup industry. One of the great advantages of fat is that it is a carrier of flavour (which is why novice vegetarians so sorely miss bacon sandwiches). Once fat was out of the mix, something else had to be put in to make food taste of something. So relatively harmless fat began being replaced by sugar which research increasingly suggests is the real culprit responsible for all that obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Not all experts in the field, however, were persuaded by the ‘evidence’ that animal fats were the problem. As early as 1977 Dr George Mann, in the New England Journal of Medicine, described the cholesterol myth as ‘the greatest scam in the history of medicine’. In 1997, a massive trial of 350,000 men at high risk of heart disease found that drastically cutting down their cholesterol and saturated fat consumption did not improve their survival prospects. Worse, according to an earlier study in Finland, men who continued to follow a low-saturated-fat diet were twice as likely to die of heart disease as those who didn’t. In fact no trial has ever demonstrated the benefits of reducing dietary fat.

Mann, of course, was ridiculed and marginalised for his outrageous rejection of the Consensus.

Does any of the scenario I’ve just outlined above sound at all familiar?

Let me offer a brief summary of the salient points.

1. Scientist hypothesises novel scare-theory which, if true, will require radical action to prevent the Bad Thing happening.

2. Government seizes on this theory because “Why not?”. It seems to be becoming a fashionable area of public concern and, hey, new regulation will demonstrate how caring the government is for little financial outlay and with beneficial consequences for the common weal.

3. Puritans and rent-seekers have a field day. The puritans – like the American Heart Foundation – get to moralise, regulate and prevent people doing what they enjoy. The rent-seekers rush in to make money out of this newly-invented, artificial “low-fat” market which, remember, would probably have never existed without government intervention.

4. Dissenting scientists are mocked and marginalised.

5. The consequences turn out not to be beneficial or cost-free. Health problems, far from being resolved, seem to increase. People have been needlessly frightened out of doing things they would have preferred to do (eg put butter on their toast rather than ruddy Flora). Crony-capitalists (the wrong sort of capitalists) have thrived at the expense of the right sort.

6. Many years later, the ugly truth begins to emerge. But the low fat religion is so heavily embedded in the culture that resistance from the Health Establishment is bitter. And, of course, no heads roll for the decades’ worth of damage inflicted by government regulation and false advice on a population which foolishly trusted the government because government’s don’t pass laws without first doing their due dilligence do they?

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Green scientists caught tampering with historical record. Again

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Ever since Climategate, the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia has enjoyed just international renown as a world centre of data-fudgin’, scientific-method-abusin’, FOI-dodgin’, decline-hidin’, grant-troughin’, junk-science-endorsin’ global warming propaganda.

But did you know that the chap who founded the institution, Hubert Lamb, was a committed sceptic who would without a shadow of doubt have been perfectly appalled by the way the CRU has since prostituted itself in the bankrupt cause of climate change alarmism?

No, of course you didn’t – and with very good reason.

Here, for example, is what one of the CRU’s subsequent directors, Trevor Davies, had to say when he wrote Lamb’s obituary in 1997:

“[Lamb experienced] the satisfaction of convincing the remaining doubters of the reality of climate variation on time-scales of decades and centuries.”

Here is what the Climatic Research Unit’s website says in its biography of its founder:

He did more than any other scientist of his generation to make the academic community aware of climate change. However, in the years after his retirement the emphasis of research shifted towards evaluating the role played by human activities. He was well acquainted with the pioneering works of Svante Arrhenius in Sweden, and G.S. Callendar in England, and wrote in 1997 that, ‘it is now widely thought that the undoubted warming of the world climate in the twentieth century is attributable to the increased concentration in the atmosphere of so-called greenhouse gases’

Yes, it’s true that the obituary goes on to mention that: “However, he always referred back to the instrumental record, and his attitude to greenhouse warming remained guarded.”

But it would, I think we can agree, be very easy to read both those obituaries and come away with the impression that Hubert Lamb was, to all intents and purposes, one of the founding fathers of “climate change” theory and that he would largely have been on the side of the current scientific “consensus” on the global warming.

However, as a fascinating new paper produced by Bernie Lewin for the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals, nothing could have been further from the truth.

Lamb’s big thing during his period as a climate scientist was “natural variation.” It’s thanks largely to Lamb’s seminal work Climate: Present, Past & Future that we know about the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age. These eras are key to the climate change debate because what they demonstrate is that our planet has shown itself perfectly capable of dramatically warming and cooling without any anthropogenic input. And if it was true in Medieval (and Roman, and Minoan times), then how can we sure it isn’t also the case with Twentieth Century warming? This is why – as we saw in the Climategate emails – the alarmists are so desperate to erase the Medieval Warming Period (“MWP”) from history. It is, as they might say the most inconvenient of truths)

If you want to read more about what Lamb thought and believed read the GWPF report or this piece by Paul Homewood.

As you do, you will surely relish the bitter irony that the climatologist who did more than anything to put “climate change” studies on the map was about as sceptical and sceptical as can be. During his lifetime, he saw the way the wind was blowing and loathed it: his field, he realised, was being hijacked by computer modelers with pre-determined views on the causes of climate change. These models were anathema to Lamb, who maintained that there could be no real understanding of what climate might do in the future until we could first find an explanation for the natural variations in the past.

The chutzpah with which the alarmists have claimed Lamb as one of their own is breathtaking – if not altogether surprising given their known fondness for tampering with the historical record.

Exactly the same thing happened with Roger Revelle, the lecturer cited by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth as the expert who first alerted him to the problem of man-made global warming.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Forget Climategate. This ‘global warming’ scandal is much bigger…

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How can we believe in ‘global warming’ when the temperature records providing the ‘evidence’ for that warming cannot be trusted?

It’s a big question – and one which many people, even on the sceptical side of the argument, are reluctant to ask.

Here, for example, is one of the two most prominent English sceptics in the House of Lords, Matt Ridley outlining his own position.

I am a climate lukewarmer. That means I think recent global warming is real, mostly man-made and will continue but I no longer think it is likely to be dangerous and I think its slow and erratic progress so far is what we should expect in the future. That last year was the warmest yet, in some data sets, but only by a smidgen more than 2005, is precisely in line with such lukewarm thinking.

Though I’ve no reason to doubt the sincerity of Ridley’s position, I can also see plenty of reasons why it would be a politically convenient line for him to take. The same applies to Lord Lawson’s position on climate change and Bjorn Lomborg’s position on climate change. All of these distinguished figures on the mildly sceptical side of the argument have taken the view that the figures provided by the various scientific institutions, such as the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and NASA GISS, as relayed to us in the assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are broadly trustworthy. Their beef is not so much with “the science” as it is with the political hysteria and green propagandising that has accompanied that science, as well as with the counterproductive policies resulting from it.

To repeat, these may be earnest, heartfelt positions but they are also politically expedient ones. What it means is that in debates Lomborg and Lords Ridley and Lawson don’t come across as too “out there.” It means that they cannot, by any reasonable stretch, be tarred as “deniers”. Not only are they not denying the existence in “global warming” but they’re not even that far off from where the mainstream “consensus” is.

This all seems to me tactically wise. If their positions weren’t so eminently “reasonable” they would be invited to speak at organisations like the BBC even less often than they are already.

What it does, unfortunately, mean, though, is that those of us on the sceptical side of the debate who want to push the argument a bit further are put in danger of being made to look like extremists. Crazed conspiracy theorists even.

So before I go into technical detail about why the temperature records are suspect, let me provide an analogy which ought to make it perfectly clear to any neutral parties reading this why the problem I’m about to describe ought not to be consigned to the realms of crackpottery.

Suppose say, that for the last 100 years my family have been maintaining a weather station at the bottom of our garden, diligently recording the temperatures day by day, and that what these records show is this: that in the 1930s it was jolly hot – even hotter than in the 1980s; that since the 1940s it has been cooling.

What conclusions would you draw from this hard evidence?

Well the obvious one, I imagine, is that the dramatic Twentieth Century warming that people like Al Gore have been banging on about is a crock. At least according to this particular weather station it is.

Now how would you feel if you went and took these temperature records along to one of the world’s leading global warming experts – say Gavin Schmidt at NASA or Phil Jones at CRU or Michael Mann at Penn State – and they studied your records for a moment and said: “This isn’t right.” What if they then crossed out all your temperature measurements, did a few calculations on the back of an envelope, and scribbled in their amendments? And you studied those adjustments and you realised, to your astonishment, that the new, pretend temperature measurements told an entirely different story from the original, real temperature measurements: that where before your records showed a cooling since the 1940s they now showed a warming trend.

You’d be gobsmacked, would you not?

Yet, incredible though it may seem, the scenario I’ve just described is more or less exactly analogous to what has happened to the raw data from weather stations all over the world.

Take the ones in Paraguay – a part of the world which contributed heavily to NASA GISS’s recent narrative about 2014 having been the “hottest year on record.”

If it wasn’t for the diligence of amateur investigators like retired accountant Paul Homewood, probably no one would care, not even Paraguayans, what has been going on with the Paraguayan temperature records. But Homewood has done his homework and here, revealed at his site Notalotofpeopleknowthat, is what he found.

He began by examining Paraguay’s only three genuinely rural weather stations. (ie the ones least likely to have had their readings affected over the years by urban development.)

All three – at least in the versions used by NASA GISS for their “hottest year on record” claim – show a “clear and steady” upward (warming) trend since the 1950s, with 2014 shown as the hottest year at one of the sites, Puerto Casado.

Judging by this chart all is clear: it’s getting hotter in Paraguay, just like it is everywhere else in the world.

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http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/show_station.cgi?id=308860860000&dt=1&ds=14

But wait. How did the Puerto Casado chart look before the temperature data was adjusted? Rather different as you see here:

puertoraw

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/show_station.cgi?id=308860860004&dt=1&ds=1

Perhaps, though, Puerto Casada was an anomaly?

Nope. Similar adjustments, in the same direction, appear to have been made to the two other rural sites.

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sangif

puegif

 

Ah. But there was surely some innocent explanation for this, Homewood surmised. Perhaps the rural stations were wildly out of kilter with the urban stations and had been ‘homogenised’ accordingly.

Except, guess what?

pilar

JUAN

CONCEPCION

ASUNCION

SAN JUAN

ENCARNACION

 OK. So why am I making you look at all these charts? Because seeing is believing.

Read the rest – and there’s lots more – at Breitbart London

Cumberbatch: the Umbrage Police claim another scalp

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Benedict ‘Sherlock’ Cumberbatch has said he is “a complete fool”, an “idiot”, “thoughtless” and that he is “devastated” for having inadvertently used the term “coloured” to describe black people on a US talk show.

It’s depressing enough that he felt the obligation to apologise. But what’s worse is that he felt the need to do so so grovellingly, self-abasingly and profusely.

Yes, we all know why he did it. It’s Oscar nomination season coming up, Cumberbatch is a possible contender for his portrayal of fashionably autistic, gay code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, and Hollywood is notoriously PC and squeamish about issues to do with race.

But if anyone who owes anyone an apology, here, it’s not poor put-upon Cumberbatch but the noisome professional offence-takers who by seeking to make political mileage out of such achingly trivial issues are creating a climate of linguistic fear in which good people suffer.

First, that word “coloured”. Yes, it may be a little old fashioned. As Sarah Vine rightly notes it’s “The kind of thing your granny might say and which might compel you to lean over and gently whisper in her ear: ‘No one says ‘coloured’ any more, gran. It’s not the done thing’. To which she might reply: ‘Really, dear? I had no idea.’”

What it definitely isn’t, though, is in any way malign or pejorative. Indeed, there was a time – back in the Seventies, when it was used pretty regularly and in the politest of company – when it would have been considered positively PC.

Second, the context. Cumberbatch was using the now-apparently verboten word in the course of a diatribe against the lack of job opportunities for ethnic actors in the UK film industry. In other words, he was making a point of almost toe-curling bien-pensant rectitude. That his reward for this should be to be taken to task by the Umbrage Police is almost as absurd as if a VC hero, having single-handedly taken an enemy machine-gun position, should then be disciplined for his cruel and unusual use of a bayonet.

Third, the hypocrisy. Are we to understand then, that from now on, the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People will be changing its name to the National Association For The Advancement Of People Of Color? (Until such time, of course, when “People of Color” too becomes discredited and unfashionable, as no doubt it will eventually because that, unfortunately, seems to be the deal: today’s PC euphemism is tomorrow’s inexcusable racial slur).

This, though, unfortunately, is how the liberal-left rolls. As Alex Wickham pointed out here yesterday, it’s the liberals who are the new puritans that want to control your life.

One of the ways they are achieving this is in their vexatious and aggressive policing of the spoken word – on college campuses, in the media, on Twitter, on TV chat shows, in schools, in books. The purpose of this will be more than familiar to students of the Frankfurt school of Cultural Marxism and to readers of Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals or George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s about generating a cultural climate in which no one feels quite comfortable to express themselves freely for fear, as Cumberbatch did, of breaking some new unwritten rule of which they weren’t hitherto aware.

And it’s also, of course, about identity politics and power.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Prince of Wales calls for climate Magna Carta to save the planet from global warming

Prince-Charles_Reuters-640x481The Prince of Wales has demanded a “Magna Carta for the Earth” in order to save the planet from global warming – thus calling into severe question the abilities of those hapless dons who were charged with teaching him history when he scraped into Cambridge back in the early Seventies.

Had those history professors done their job, Prince Charles would surely be aware that Magna Carta was – at least insofar as it matters to us most today – a charter which protected the rights of the many against the tyranny of unaccountable power. But the kind of sweeping, pan-global, UN-enforced climate treaty the Prince is proposing represents the precise opposite.

Prince Charles, who made his speech to an invited audience at his International Sustainability Unit’s meeting on Forests, Climate Change and Development in London yesterday, is the latest of a number of international celebrities, ranging from rapper Pharrell Williams and President Obama to the Pope, who have spoken of the urgent need for a new global climate agreement.

Nor will he be the last. The purpose of all these high-level declarations of intent is to pave the way for the UN’s next round of climate talks in Paris this December which, campaigners hope, will result in the most significant treaty of concerted international action since the Marshall Plan.

This is what Mary Robinson – former president of Ireland, now the UN’s special envoy on climate change – meant when she told the Guardian that “this is the most important year since 1945.”

What she failed to add is that 1945 (more specifically, Berlin after the Soviets had arrived) is exactly what the global economy will start to resemble if the UN green technocrats get their way. Despite mounting evidence that there is no connection between rising CO2 levels and catastrophic global warming, the UN’s climate “experts” remain resolutely wedded to the idea that “carbon” (aka the natural by-product of almost every industrial process) must be regulated out of existence.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

2014 was not the ‘hottest year on record’. So why did NASA claim it was?

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“2014 was the hottest year on record.”

Q: If the above statement is not true – and (see below) it isn’t –  would it make it any more true were it to be uttered in an important speech at Davos by fashion designer, songwriter and hip hop producer Pharrell Williams?

A: Nope.

Q: OK. Then how about if Pharrell, while chilling in the outdoor hot tub with George Soros, Bono and Paul Krugman at their  seven-star hotel in Davos, were to write a chart-topping song about it – something along the lines of Happy, only catchier, more uplifting – and it became, like this massive club hit across the world and all the kids everywhere were singing “2014 was the hottest on record.” Would that make it more true?

A. Nope.

Q: Sigh. How about if “2014 was the hottest year on record” was remixed as a Live-Aid-style all-star extravaganza starring One Direction, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Coldplay and others with a hilarious viral sensation video co-directed by Richard Curtis and James Cameron, featuring James Corden, Ricky Gervais, Matt Damon, Gillian Anderson and Marcus Brigstocke with a special cameo from Al Gore sending himself up as the Comedy Beached Whale who had lost his way because his sonar had been tragically disrupted by offshore wind turbines. Would that work?

A. Nope.

Q. OK – all the above, plus a speech by all the G20 leaders endorsing the statement that “2014 was the hottest year on record”, plus a statement from the heads of all the world’s leading scientific academies, plus a detailed analysis by Roger Harrabin on BBC Radio 4 and a supportive article in The Spectator by legendary journalist Nick Cohen declaring that anyone who doesn’t believe that “2014 was the hottest year on record” is a complete moron?

A. Still nope.

You may think that what I’m stating here is incredibly obvious. If an empirically verifiable statement – eg “2014 was the hottest year on record” – is untrue, no amount of repetition, from no matter how many celebrities, politicians and scientists can make it otherwise.

Why then, do all these people go on repeating the lie anyway?

Before I explain why, let me briefly rehearse the background to the “2014 was the hottest year on record” meme.

It began spreading earlier this month when NASA GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt held a press conference to declare that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. This sounded jolly impressive and naturally generated excited “2014 was the hottest year on record” headlines around the world, everywhere from the BBC and the New York Times to the Guardian, Nature, Slate and Vice. No half way informed person, we can fairly safely say, will have got through January without having seen at least once – and probably several times – a headline to the effect that “2014 was the hottest year on record”.

But there were, it subsequently emerged, several things wrong with this headline story.

The first – which, admittedly, you would have realised had you read reports like this one in the Guardian – is that “hottest year on record” isn’t quite so dramatic as initially sounds. That’s because the temperature records it is being compared with only go back to 1880. (Oddly enough though, no newspaper ran the headline “2014 hottest year since 1880″ or “2014 hottest in 134 years”)

The second is, as David Rose noted in the Mail On Sunday, that the criteria by which NASA declared “2014 was the hottest year on record” do not stand up to serious scientific scrutiny.

Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.

As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent.

Odds of 38 per cent are not a racing certainty. If you translated it into a bet you’d lose more often than you’d win. NASA was lying to us. Or, at best, wilfully misleading us.

And the third problem, as Christopher Booker noted, is that the satellite temperature records tell a very different story from the surface temperature records quoted by NASA. This would suggest – as sceptics have been arguing for some time – that the land surface temperature data sets are untrustworthy. There are too few weather stations; too many of them are subject to the Urban Heat Island effect; and, in any case, the raw data has too often been adjusted by alarmists for reasons that appear to owe more to politics than science, since the adjustments always seem designed to make the early years of the 20th century cooler than they were in order to make the subsequent increases in temperature more dramatic.

Now you’ve got the background, let me return to my question.

If the statement “2014 was the hottest year on record” is untrue – and demonstrably untrue – then why are so many people who ought to know better continuing to claim otherwise?

The answer, as often where outbreaks of mass hysteria are concerned, can be found in Gustave Le Bon’s 1895 masterpiece translated in English under the title The Crowd: A Study Of The Popular Mind.

This brilliant study of how to influence the mob by engendering groupthink was admired by, among others, Freud, Hitler and Mussolini.

Here is Le Bon on the most important weapon in the demagogue’s armoury:

It was Napoleon, I believe, who said that there is only one figure in rhetoric of serious importance, repetition. The thing affirmed comes by repetition to fix itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted as a demonstrated truth.

The influence of repetition on crowds is comprehensible when the power is seen which it exercises on most enlightened minds. This power is due to the fact that the repeated statement is embedded in the long run in those profound regions of our unconscious selves in which the motives of our actions are forged. At the end of a certain time we have forgotten who is the author of the repeated assertion, and we finish by believing it. To this circumstance is due the astonishing power of advertisements. When we have read a hundred, a thousand, times that X’s chocolate is the best, we imagine we have heard it said in many quarters, and we end by acquiring the certitude that such is the fact.

Now you understand why NASA GISS’s Gavin Schmidt held that press conference and why he said what he did. Like so many of those “experts” abusing the prestige of their distinguished institutions in order to push the great global warming scam way past its sell-by date, he has long since parted company with empiricism, rigour or ethical restraint. He and his ilk have largely abandoned science, in favour of propaganda. No offence intended to chocolate advertisers – but that, in essence, is what these charlatans have become.

From Breitbart London

Gotcha! The Sun gives the Breastapo a taste of their own medicine

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Professional lesbian and poverty chic Guardianista cookery writer “Jack” Monroe is unhappy.

She tweets:

Here’s the Sun ‘head of PR’ sending a collage of topless photos to targeted journalists. Creepy, abusive, harassment.

So too, we can safely infer, is former Equalities Minister Harriet Harman, who tweeted two days ago:

Glad that p3 gone. Women expect to be equal in C21. Not posing half naked. Well done Clare Short & 1000s of women campaign

So is Third Wave Feminist Caroline Criado-Perez:

When this is how the head of PR at the sun uses p3 how anyone can say this isn’t woman hating is beyond me.

So too, no doubt, is this veritable Smörgåsbord of angry birds (Deborah Orr, Stella Creasy, Polly Toynbee, “Bidisha”, the full set…) who, but two days ago, were crowing in the Guardian about their alleged victory in having denied less hatchet-facedly committed members of the sisterhood the right to bare their breasts on Page 3 of Britain’s favourite tabloid newspaper.

Why are they all so cross? Because the Sun has successfully deployed against them the weapon that tyrants fear above all: mockery.

At least I hope that that was the reasoning behind the Sun’s unexplained decision first to pull its traditional topless bird from page 3 and then to restore her in today’s surprise comeback edition.

M’learned friend (and ex-Sun columnist) Toby Young isn’t so sure. In this excellent post at the Spectator he has come up with a number of plausible competing theories which have more to do with business than they do with pleasure or ideological principle.

But let’s, for a moment, give the Sun’s strategists the benefit of the doubt and assume it was all just an attention-grabbing wind-up. If so, they have done a very right, very necessary and very responsible thing.

The tabloid press has come in for an awful lot of stick since the Leveson enquiry, the Sun especially which has had dozens of its journalists dragged through the courts, as a result of often needless, vexatious and politically-motivated investigations which have cost the taxpayer many millions of pounds in wasted police time.

By striking back in this way at its joyless enemies on the authoritarian left (the same people, of course, who are pushing so hard for Leveson-style press regulation), the Sun has reminded us why it is so important for the health of Britain that our tabloid press should remain robust, confident, unmuzzled and, yes, on occasion, offensive.

By “Britain” I don’t, of course, mean the spavined, mimsy, narrow-minded, egg-shell-treading, politically correct tyranny which exists in the warped imaginations of the progressive crowd and which they would dearly like to impose on the rest of us.

I mean the more traditional one which still exists, just about, and which the silent majority of us still inhabit. In this Britain – Real Britain – people look at the bare breasts on page 3 of the Sun and see not an assault on women or a threat to the very fabric of society but simply a bit of bawdy but essentially innocent fun.

Like Toby Young, I’ll leave the last word on this to the former Page 3 girl Jodie Marsh who, on the day of the ban-that-wasn’t, tweeted thus to the campaign group @nomorepage3:

may I humbly suggest that you now put your time & effort into something that actually matters like campaigning against FGM…