Monckton and I

I post this here because it’s a lovely conversation.

Christopher Monckton (or Viscount Monckton of Brenchley as he is styled) produced this post on WUWT in the wake of the UKIP’s surge of support in the European Elections of 2014:

UK’s only climate skeptic party crushingly wins the EU election

Josh_UKIP

UPDATE: A cartoon from Josh drawn about a year ago has been added. See below.

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

The United Kingdom Independence Party, the only climate-skeptical party in Britain, has scored a crushing victory in Sunday’s elections to the Duma of the European Union.

Britain’s most true-believing party, the Greens, won one or two new seats, but the second most true-believing party and junior partner in the Children’s Coalition that currently governs at Westminster, the “Liberal” “Democrats” (who are neither), were all but wiped off the map.

 

….

However, after opposition to the EU’s militantly anti-democratic structure and to the mass immigration that has been forced upon Britain as a direct result, UKIP’s third most popular policy with the voters is its opposition to the official EU global-warming story-line.

It was I, as deputy leader of the party in 2009/10, who had the honor of introducing UKIP’s climate policy to the Press. Their reports, as usual, were sneeringly contemptuous. Now the sneers are beginning to falter.

The leadership thought long and hard before adopting the policy. I said we could not lose by adopting a policy that had the twin merits of being true and being otherwise unrepresented in British politics. Private polling confirmed this, so the policy was adopted.

Monckton then describes that manifesto from 2010 as continuing to this day and contributing to the UKIP’s 2014 success:

If you know of any political party, anywhere, that has a climate policy more vigorously and healthily skeptical than UKIP, let me know in comments.

O RLY?

I replied in the comments:

What Christopher Monckton has written is pure sophistry and I can only describe it as deceptive.

In the European election of 2014, UKIP made no mention of climate change or climate skepticism, so why is Christopher Monckton allowed to make such a claim? The only reference I can find in the 2014 local and European manifestos is a commitment to local, binding referenda on things like wind turbines and solar power and to building coal and nuclear power plants to reduce the cost of energy.

The leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, described the 2010 manifesto as “drivel”, so why is Monckton trumpeting the commitments made then as somehow relevant to the reasons why people voted UKIP in 2014 or even to the UKIP itself?

It seems to me that people voted UKIP largely as a protest vote against further EU integration (which is a common theme across the EU) and against continuing mass immigration (ditto).

I know that WUWT gives quite a bit of latitude to posters in the name of free speech, but this is a political tract for a policy position that even a right-wing party like UKIP does not promulgate any more.

Monckton responds:

Many thanks to so many commenters who have remarked so kindly on UKIP’s success in the EU elections. UKIP even won a seat in Scotland – the party’s first-ever representation north of the Border.

To those who continue to gripe that climate was not the major issue in the election (not that I had ever said it was), and to those who are determined to maintain that UKIP has changed or will change its climate policy, I say that UKIP is not going to change its climate policy as long as Roger Helmer remains its spokesman on the issue – and Roger came top of the poll in his region of England.

The purpose of the piece was simply to point out that a climate-skeptic party (the only one in Britain) has just won a national election – the first time in 100 years that neither the Conservative nor the Labour Party has won. Whether the trolls and naysayers like it or not, this is another big step in the direction of returning rationality to the climate debate.

Here is another commenter’s response:

To those who continue to gripe that climate was not the major issue in the election (not that I had ever said it was) ….

Yes, well, a line in your article pointing that out would have headed off the predictable criticism. It’s fine to note that one of their beliefs is sounder climate policy, but you can hardly ignore the reasons why most people actually voted for them or what they chose to actually run on when you write about an election result.

And I respond to Monckton thus:

Oh please, give us all a break. Your argument hinged on the UKIP winning in 2014 based on the disowned 2010 manifesto from which you quoted at length.

That you indulge in sophistry and verbal sleight-of-hand is deeply unimpressive to the rest of us who can actually read and think for ourselves.

Your article reeked of historical revisionism of which I had hoped you deplored whenever it is deployed by people on every side of the climate debate.

And then the wheels come off

The partly pseudonymous “JohnA” petulantly complains about my having said or implied that UKIP had won its crushing victory in the 2014 European elections in the UK because of its climate policy. I neither said nor implied that. What I said was that UKIP’s climate skepticism ranked third in the popularity of its policies, after the policies of leaving the European tyranny-by-clerk and of halting uncontrolled immigration.

Nor did I say or imply that UKIP won in 2014 on the basis of its 2010 manifesto (which has not, in fact, been “disowned”, but is being revised, as every manifesto is revised). Opposition to the climate nonsense, a question on which Nigel Farage has gone head-to-head with the unspeakable Barroso in the European Duma, will continue to be an important policy plank for UKIP. I did, however, reproduce UKIP’s 2010 climate policy, “for interest”, and not in any way to imply that UKIP had won because of that policy.

However, it is permissible for me to give some more details of the private polling that was carried out on UKIP’s behalf before it adopted its climate policy. The results showed that of all the issues on which UKIP might take a position but on which it had not already done so, climate skepticism was the one that was most likely to attract widespread support. Since it also has the merit of reflecting the objective truth, UKIP happily adopted the policy and – whether “JohnA” likes it or not – will continue to pursue it.

Whether or not UKIP’s victory is of any interest to the troll “JohnA”, it is of interest to most other readers here, who are happy to discover that in yet another country an avowedly climate-skeptical party has done well in elections. Why, o why, do trolls whine so often and so purposelessly, and with so little legitimate reason?

Ah yes, the personal touch of being called a “troll” and addressed directly. It burns so much.

No not really.

Here is my response:

John Asays:

Monckton:

I scarcely know where to begin with your response. To criticize your post by making factual statements about its reasoning and its citations is not being a “troll”, it is to engage in a democratic debate. Democracy is hardly your strong suit, is it Viscount Monckton of Brenchley?

For those of us who weren’t born with inherited wealth and inherited titles that permitted membership of Westminster up until recently with voting rights and legislative powers without democratic consent, sticking one’s head above the parapet with full disclosure is to invite economic disaster upon not only myself but also my family.

Setting up and administering Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit blog was trial enough, but then I was possessed with practicalities of keeping the blog alive for the benefit of science and fighting trolls myself and not personal promotion.

The UKIP did not promote its climate scepticism in the 2014 election other than the very limited proposals on referenda on wind farms and the scrapping of subsidies for renewals. It did not fight the 2014 campaign on the 2010 manifesto, despite your efforts to conflate the two.

But here I shall be specific in response to a key claim. You say

Nor did I say or imply that UKIP won in 2014 on the basis of its 2010 manifesto (which has not, in fact, been “disowned”, but is being revised, as every manifesto is revised)

Here is what Nigel Farage said about that 2010 manifesto:

The UK Independence Party would not scrap Trident, Nigel Farage has said, describing the manifesto that contained the policy as “drivel” .

He told LBC 97.3 radio the party had never advocated unilateral disarmament but was currently reviewing its policy.

In recent days, the UKIP leader has faced questions about pledges made in its 2010 general election manifesto.

David Campbell Bannerman, who drew up the 2010 document, said Mr Farage was “in terrible trouble over policies”.

Mr Farage said the 2010 manifesto had been binned and the party was working on new policies to be unveiled later this year.

Mr Farage stepped down briefly before the last election to concentrate on winning a seat in Parliament and says he was not involved in drawing up the manifesto.

Explaining why he had now disowned the document, he told LBC: “Malcolm Pearson, who was leader at the time, was picked up in interviews for not knowing the manifesto.

“Of course he didn’t – it was 486 pages of excessive detail. Eighteen months ago I said I want the whole lot taken down, we reject the whole thing…

“I didn’t read it. It was drivel. It was 486 pages of drivel…It was a nonsense. We have put that behind us and moved onto a professional footing.”

So not “revised”, not “continue to pursue it” but binned as “drivel”. The entire 2010 manifesto was sent to the round file. Bleeding demised. Gone to meet its maker.

It is mendacious of you to describe the 2010 manifesto as anything other than a temporary policy. The author of the 2010 manifesto, David Campbell Bannerman returned to the Conservative Party afterwards after handbags were swung inside the UKIP.

I am intellectually interested as a democrat in the progress of UKIP or any political party or grouping which can make binding changes upon my life and the life of my family. But I am not a supporter of UKIP, for the party makes commitments and policy statements that I cannot, in all conscience, support.

Why, o why, do trolls whine so often and so purposelessly, and with so little legitimate reason?

Perhaps because you and I have very differing views on what constitutes “legitimate” and “reason”.

Clearly this one could run and run (although I have much better things to do), but I will say that Monckton has a very thin skin when dealing with criticism of his own political views.

It’s not every day I get called a troll by a Viscount for daring to challenge him, but stranger things have happened.

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