Just back from the Oxford Union where, last night, we debated the motion: This House Would Put Economic Growth Before Combatting Climate Change. Though I wouldn’t necessarily say I sucked, my performance definitely wasn’t as strong as the one I gave at Heartland. Luckily I had the benefit of a blindingly good team in the form of Lord Lawson of Blaby, Lord Leach and Viscount Monckton – who temporarily ennobled me to Lord Delingpole of Blogosphere so I didn’t feel too left out.
Much to my surprise the motion carried. (133 Ayes; 110 Noes) I suppose I oughtn’t to be surprised, what with all the arguments so obviously in favour of our side and none in favour of theirs. But you never quite know with undergraduates – even frightfully clever Oxford ones – because, never having inhabited the real world, they can all too easily incline to dreamy idealism combined with an utter failure to grasp economic reality.
What really struck me about the occasion, though, was the unspeakable direness of the opposition. I don’t mean the nice girl from Trinity College: as an officer of the Union, she had to take whatever side of the debate she was given to argue. I mean the three others, who embodied pretty much everything wrong with the green movement: its crypto communism; its woeful ignorance; and its sphincter-popping rage.
Representing the ignorance camp was Lord Whitty – a nice chap with a moustache, but totally out of his depth on science, economics or indeed anything else. When you consider that this man was until quite recently our Environment Minister, this is rather worrying. At one point he tried to claim that Earth’s temperature was the hottest it had been in 14,000 years. “What about the Medieval Warm Period?” I asked. No, what he meant, he said was “If temperatures go on rising then by the end of the century we could be experiencing the hottest temperatures in 14,000 years.” This is such unutterable drivel, it’s not even worth deconstructing. Yet this was the guy – I said it before but it bears repeating – in charge of Britain’s Environment Policy. Still, better him than the lethal Chris Huhne, I suppose.
I shan’t bother describing the young man representing the Red faction. Suffice to say that as he rambled away about equality, injustice, the evils of growth, capitalism etc, I leaned across to Lord Lawson and said: “Jesus. If this is the **** you had to put up with from the opposite benches I’m bloody glad I was never an MP.”
Finally, we were introduced to a fellow named Mike Mason, founder and managing director of something called ClimateCare. Mike was angry. Very, very angry. He showed this by having a go at us, one by one, dismissing Lord Lawson as a “failed chancellor”, or some such, casting aspersions on Viscount Monckton’s title and describing me as a “right wing hack.” I suppose, yes, “right wing hack” is one way of describing me. But I don’t recall, when I took the floor, referring to Mike Mason as a “typical, ranty green libtard who stands to make loads of money fleecing the gullible something rotten by selling carbon offsets.” Of course I do ad hom, now and again. But not in formal Oxford debates. It’s just rude and unnecessary and exposes – as poor Mike went on most impressively to demonstrate – the abject poverty of your arguments.
Both at Heartland and Oxford we were followed by a film crew who are making a documentary about the war between Warmists and Sceptics. The director, who was a very keen Green when he started the documentary, admitted he’d altered his position quite markedly since talking to both sides. What struck him about deniers/sceptics/realists – or whatever you want to call them – was their courtesy and their thoroughness. What struck him about the warmists was their eye-popping rage.
It’s true. The Warmists really are a malign and spleen-filled bunch. As of course you would be if the science was against you, the public were growing increasingly sceptical, and all you really had left to defend your cause was bullying and bluster.