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- ► 2011 (1596)
- ► 2010 (1372)
- A diversionary tactic?
- The shadow of history
- It's started
- American Thinker
- The march of the clever-dicks
- A mushroom cloud
- Hiding the decline
- Thought for the day
- What a difference a decade makes
- Taking off
- A "splending" pledge
- This is complete fraud
- A deal rejected
- Beaucoup des euros
- Damage limitation
- Shock news: UKIP is not suicidal
- The mandarins' revenge
- The tyranny of the net
- Playing but a single tune
- A Soviet stooge?
- Thanksgiving Tea Party in London
- Moonbat speaks
- Our new government
- A stunning victory?
- Rolls-Royce minds?
- Mandy who?
- Scare of the day
- More harm than good
- We are not alone
- Losing the plot
- Breaking out
- Dave thinks we could win
- A trade agreement?
- Euro taxes
- It's only a poll
- Those hacked e-mails
- Got it at last!
- A contrast of priorities
- Meet Herman
- Commission 2 – Council 0
- A more honest Parliament
- A last laugh
- The nonentity stakes
- He's right
- Dreams of Empire
- Another battle
- Déjà vu?
- Bad idea
- Well, I listened to it
- Nothing to lose but your chains
- Suffer little creatures?
- French state visit?
- Exporting pollution
- The dominoes begin to fall
- Why we will lose
- Climate emergency
- The great divide
- In defence of civil servants
- Moving up the agenda
- No jurisdiction
- Wrong end of the stick
- A common enemy
- Political fodder
- The duplicitous British
- But is it legal?
- Banged up!
- Way out in front
- Spin and double-speak
- Somebody reads it
- And the real story is?
- Ignorance is bliss
- Howling in the night
- Cowboys and Indians
- Brigadier Anthony Cowgill
- Fighting talk
- Another nail
- A new wall
- Business as usual
- Danger, North at work
- A war in the offing?
- They died in vain
- Another one at it
- Wise before the event
- The end of the great deception
- Laugh or cry?
- Spitting blood
- The lust for "power"
- Calling his bluff
- Wise pleads guilty
- Surrender monkeys
- Village idiot
- The Boy at large
- Stuck on stupid
- A change of government
- The man really is thick
- It's over
- A certain consistency
- A new religion is born
- A different result?
- The sound of silence
- Not part of the blogosphere
- A tale of two issues
- He doth squirm too much
- It is official
- The bigger picture
- We don't do comedy
- ▼ November (121)
- ► 2008 (1456)
- ► 2007 (1691)
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- ► 2005 (1784)
One just has to look at the opinion polls and then the torrent of adverse comments on media pieces about global warming to know that the greenie agenda is a total crock.
But such details escape the leaden brain of Mary Riddell who has broken her own records for stupidity, writing an op-ed in The Daily Scarygraph telling us that the "eco-vote" is vital for both Labour and David Cameron's supposi-tories.
In Brighton and Norwich, she writes, Labour could yet be unseated by the Green Party, but the real election game-changers will be the semi-greens: the vast constituency who fear for their children's and their grandchildren's future. Thus does she continue:
Unlike the American Right, they do not think climate change is less credible than the tooth fairy. Unlike Lord Lawson, they do not consider agnosticism a prudent stance when scientists (of whom he is not one) have produced overwhelming evidence of looming catastrophe. Unlike sceptics seeking diversionary tactics, they don't think emails disgracefully suggestive of faked statistics at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit should divert attention from Copenhagen.According to la Riddell, in key marginals, the semi-greens may vote for the mainstream party with the best environment policy. On current indicators, she suggests, that will not be Mr Cameron, who is losing the support of the powerful NGOs once persuaded by his green agenda and now swinging back to Mr Brown.
And thus does the great sage conclude: "A general election is inconsequential compared to what's at stake in Copenhagen. Nor may Mr Brown's impressive away performance compensate for the weaknesses in his home game. Even so, Denmark will shape political as well as planetary destinies. Mr Cameron is right to be afraid."
The worst of it all is that stupid woman probably believes what she is writing. To her, Climategate is a "diversionary tactic" – another classic indicator of how the bien pensans have totally lost the plot.
By way of an antidote, have a look at Small Dead Animals. The comments are quite fun as well.
Three days - that's all it's taken for The Daily Scarygraph to put the Lord Pearson on the front page.
"UKIP leader Lord Pearson claimed £100,000 allowances for £3.7m London home" the headline screams, telling us that this was "on the basis that his £3.7 million house in London was his second home while also owning a 12,000-acre estate with servants in Scotland."
It turns out that these allowances were paid between April 2001 and June 2007, at a standard rate of £174 a night "for the purpose of attending sittings of the House". That works out at about £16,000 a year. Add the rest of the period and, in just over eight years, he has claimed £115,683 plus £56,685 subsistence – working out at about £20,000 a year.
Add another £5,000 a year for travel expenses and the Lord Pearson over eight years has cost us about £200,000 – compared with a typical MP who, over the same period, will have cost us about £1.8 million in salaries and expenses.
Pearson, unlike many, is a working peer, and puts many hours in the House, for which he is paid no salary. Nor does he get a secretarial allowance, funding his secretary from his own pocket.
That he is also a very rich man is beyond dispute. That is not yet a crime in this country. But the paper is making a big deal of the fact that he has a country estate, while citing his London home as his "usual" address on company documentation, "for convenience" in dealing with business correspondence. Yet, as anyone who knows Pearson even slightly will attest, his estate really is his main home, to which he returns at every opportunity.
That is basically all the Scarygraph has – a non-story. But hey! Better than doing Climategate properly.
Searching the Google news site for Booker's latest column yields an interesting result – like it isn't there (above – click the pic to enlarge).
That is using the search string: "Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation" – which is the full headline of the piece. I shows up where it has been quoted in full by other sites, but of the Booker column there is no sign. It has been "disappeared".
Repeating the exercise with other headlines from The Sunday Telegraph presents no problems. They come up straight away. Only the Booker column remains invisible.
Repeating the exercise with a new string "Christopher Booker" (above – click to enlarge) yields similarly interesting results on the news site. The column for last week shows up, and the week before. But of this week's column, there is no sign.
This cannot be accidental – there is a quite deliberate attempt to prevent this piece being listed. Repeating the exercise on Bing.com and Yahoo.co.uk news pages gets similar nil results. Yet other headlines from comment pieces from The Sunday Telegraph show up immediately.
James Dellingpole has picked up the problem (great minds) but my guess is that this isn't a Google issue. The problem probably lies closer to home – there looks to be an enemy in the camp, who has probably been using this, or something like it.
A romp through the firmament of Global warming fraud that is well worth the read. The contrast with Hugo Rifkind in The Spectator illustrates just how shallow some of our writers have become. The American Thinker piece is the sort that could have – and should have – graced any serious political magazine, instead of which we get unremitting clever-dickery.
A classic example of how far they have lost the plot comes with the scandal of filthy hospitals ripping through the papers, yet we have The Daily Scarygraph wasting life energy on reporting that GPs should offer climate-change advice to patients.
There is something very seriously wrong with these people.
It really does not matter how much is said or written on a subject. If it goes against the grain of received wisdom, it will never penetrate the brains of the bien pensant clever-dick metropolitan writers, who make a living out of supporting the status quo - and being oh soooooo witty with it.
Storming into that category is Hugo Rifkind in The Spectator who pens his breathless piece under the title: "Climate change deniers are anti-science and anti-reason — and they terrify me."
This is on the issue of "the leaked emails" which show that scientists were conspiring to conceal research that, to which Rifkind's response is: "Yeah, whatever. Not interested. So some of them are crooks. It's like giving up on doctors because of Harold Shipman."
Given the ranking of the scientists involved, however, a closer parallel might be finding that the Royal College of Surgeons had done a deal with the local halal butcher and was roping in patients to flog off their bits for sausages. But such subtleties are beyond Rikfind. He has already made up his mind and cannot allow facts – or information – to taint his view.
To him, "climate change deniers" are the "forces of anti-science, anti-reason and anti-fact." Our natural bedfellows are the 9/11 Truthers ...
... people who believe that the way to deal with something frightening which they don't understand is to recast it as part of a convoluted fantasy which they do. Go back a few hundred years, and it's people like you who would have cried "witch" and run for the kindling when the village crone predicted that bad things might happen if you shagged your sister.Inevitably, such scintillating wit clearly appeals to Will Heaven in his Telegraph clog, who thus roundly declares Rifkind "spot on".
There speaks the metropolitan "elite", providing also an explanation for why revolutions happen and tumbrels roll. There is no engagement, no attempt to deal with the issues – just a parade of ignorance dressed up as wit. You cannot argue with these parasites. You either tolerate them - or shoot them.
You actually have to search quite hard to find anyone rash enough to stand up for the scientists at the heart of the "Climategate" scandal, but they are there if you look.
And while the carefully sanitised arguments are almost plausible, they evaporate in the face of Booker's latest column (headline above), with the strap, "Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with the Climategate whitewash."
This is precisely what the BBC is trying to engineer, so what Booker does is remind us of why they should not, telling us quite how important the "Climategate" gang are to the warmist religion.
What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists (WUWT gives some more detail) who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Booker goes on to tell us:
Professor Philip Jones, the CRU's director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC's key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.As to the rest of the senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails, they constitute a cast list of the IPCC's scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa.
Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history.
Also included are Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC's 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself.
In terms of the importance of the leaks, Booker sees three main threads. The most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach, is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics for avoiding release of data under freedom of information laws.
Why they should have been so reluctant to release their material is the second thread – the leaked documents showing how the scientists have been manipulating data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to "adjust" recent temperatures upwards.
The third "shocking revelation" of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods – not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics' work.
It seems, writes Booker, that they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports. He adds:
Back in 2006, when the eminent US statistician Professor Edward Wegman produced an expert report for the US Congress vindicating Steve McIntyre's demolition of the "hockey stick", he excoriated the way in which this same "tightly knit group" of academics seemed only too keen to collaborate with each other and to "peer review" each other's papers in order to dominate the findings of those IPCC reports on which much of the future of the US and world economy may hang.Amazingly, the warmist, Charles Clover, seems to agree. However, writing in The Sunday Times, he also sympathises with "busy scientists" for not wanting to release data to people who want to rubbish it. Clover thus seems unaware of the quite deliberate and structured attempts to conceal information.
In light of the latest revelations, it now seems even more evident that these men have been failing to uphold those principles which lie at the heart of genuine scientific enquiry and debate.
Equally, other comments are wide of the mark. The scientific establishment needs to set out better ground rules and insist on more openness, Clover writes – again seemingly unaware that the essence of science is disclosure, and the ground rules have been set over Centuries.
Nor can one agree with Clover's observation that "establishment science has no means of engaging with outsiders in the blogging age" – not least when the group launched its own website, RealClimate in December 2004, for precisely that purpose.
However, undoubtedly because they have been stung by the publicity, the scientists at CRU have agreed to publish their figures in full – according to The Sunday Telegraph. Yet, according to The Sunday Times, those same scientists "have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based."
It thus takes Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor of The Sunday Times to point out, through the words of "climate change sceptic" Patrick Michaels, the real impact of "Climategate". "This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud," he says.
Not all the Sunday newspapers are up to speed though. The Observer is telling us that the leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, is one of the MEPs who will represent the EU parliament at the Copenhagen next week - and offers a "debate" with James Hansen and others.
For light entertainment, the paper then offers a piece headed: "Climate change: Gulf stream collapse could be like a disaster movie - Scientists predict an ice age could be provoked in a matter of months." The Independent on Sunday, on the other hand, tells us that climate change is a "planetary emergency". That is these papers' idea of journalism.
Much has been made (rightly) of hide the decline "trick" used by Phil Jones of CRU "Climategate" fame, and rightly so.
This was revealed in the leaked e-mail of 16 November 1999 (link above), but what is not clear from that is that the "conspiracy" to doctor the evidence started with Michael Mann.
To him, nothing was (and is) more powerful in the warmist litany than that single word "consensus" – a word which conveys to the outside world that all the disparate toilers in the field of climate "science" had reached their conclusions separately and independently, and that their findings all agreed.
The incident arose after Mann had been asked to consider the inclusion in the forthcoming IPCC report of a temperature set based on tree-ring data produced by Keith Briffa (pictured). It was then that he expressed his concerns about discrepancies between different temperature data sets.
This came in an e-mail on 22 September 1999 to Briffa about "IPCC revisions", when Mann expressed the belief that:
... the strength in our discussion will be the fact that certain key features of past climate estimates are robust among a number of quasi-independent and truly independent estimates, each of which is not without its own limitations and potential biases.That he was concerned about variances between results came clearer when he referred to "major discrepancies" between his work and that produced by Phil Jones (presumably the hadCRUT series). These, he explains in terms of "spatial sampling/latitudinal emphasis", but that was not applicable to another data set produced by Keith Briffa – he of Yamal tree-ring fame. It differed "in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil's does from ours".
Thus did Mann recount that "everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably concensus [sic] viewpoint we'd like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al series."
To overcome this lack of "consensus" Mann thus suggested that "something else" had to be found responsible for the discrepancies in Briffa's work, to explain why it might be "warmer" than the Jones et al and Mann et al series.
And here we get the clue to the underlying thinking. "Otherwise," Mann warned, "the skeptics have an [sic] field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates and, thus, can undermine faith in the paleoestimates." "I don't think that doubt is scientifically justified," Mann concluded, "and I'd hate to be the one to have to give it fodder!"
What then happened is well recorded in WUWT, with an analysis by Steve McIntyre - but the additional e-mail from Mann further reveals the degree of premeditation and the collusion between three of the principal players.
Equally importantly, it betrays the motivation behind the "adjustments" and the fact that the "consensus" produced for the IPCC report was a contrivance, unsupported by the raw data.
This, of course, is not science. This was not a harmless "trick", as Jones would now have it. It was fraud, a deliberate deceit – perpetrated by Phil Jones, a man described by a colleague as "...one of the true gentlemen of our field." How hollow that now sounds.
Nearly ten years ago, our hero Phil Jones (he of CRU "Climategate" fame) was writing by e-mail to his mate "Mike" Mann, telling him that he had "little regard for the Web."
"I would ignore the so-called skeptics until they get to the peer-review arena," he counselled Mike, although he acknowledged that this was "harder for you in the US". However, he consoled his fellow worker with the view that: "I guess it shows though that what we are doing in [sic] important." With that, he concluded: "The skeptics are fighting a losing battle." One wonders whether he might now like to re-visit those sentiments.
Incidentally, it is snowing in North Wales today. The photograph (taken at 15:14 hrs GMT today) shows the view looking up Llanberis Pass - Snowdon (on right) - over Padarn Lake from Brynrefail. Yet, I seem to remember being told that global
Gordon Brown has announced a "splending" pledge to help fight climate
That is a $22bn (£13.3bn) global fund to respond to the world's "climate
The new word, coined by the Guardian, is rather appropriate. Since Mr Brown hasn't stolen the money from us yet, he is going to have to get some poor fools to lend it to him, so that he can spend it ... hence "splending". They lend, he spends..
There seemed to be more to David Cameron's refusal to hold an EU referendum than just a decision based on a careful assessment of the options. His petulant style and manner suggested something more deep-seated.
And now we learn from Lord Pearson that that was indeed the case, as he reveals to The Times that he personally offered the supposi-tories a deal that would have UKIP standing down at the general election in exchange for a referendum.
This was six months ago, immediately after the EU parliament elections, when Pearson personally met with the supposi-tory leader in the Lords, none other than Lord Strathclyde.
Strathclyde confirms that the meeting took place, but there was no follow-through. The offer having been made, the supposi-tories acted in their normal fashion – they simply did not respond directly. The answer was given when the Boy stood up and offered his faux EU policy some months later.
Pearson, himself a High Tory of the old school, has his own explanation for the Boy's silence. "A referendum on a ratified Lisbon Treaty would have become about in or out," he says, "which is why the political class wouldn't do it."
A representative of that political class, little Mark Francois, the supposi-tory shadow Europe minister, tries to make the best of it, blathering: "We don't make policy on the basis of secret deals with other parties. We decide our policies on the basis on what is right for the country."
Pearson though – like the rest of us – is unconvinced. Speaking after his election as UKIP leader, he declared that his ambition was "... for UKIP to do well enough at the next general election so that we can force a hung parliament and a realignment in British politics."
With the supposi-tories twittering about how well they are doing in the marginals, Pearson aims to rain on their parade, taking at least 50 seats from them – the so-called UKIP-effect that we saw in the 2005 election.
The supposi-tories counter that such a strategy risks letting Gordon Brown back into power, but Pearson's revelation now demonstrates that they are to blame if that happens - not us. They were given an opportunity to pull in the eurosceptic vote and, as we observed at the time, little Boy supposi-tory deliberately turned his back on a million-plus voters.
For us now to smile sweetly and vote him into office is a non-starter. Cameron has made his decision. We did warn the Boy ... no referendum, no vote. Pearson has set the measure for our response.
Bruno Waterfield is telling us that the "colleagues" have just awarded themselves a handsome pay rise – backdated to six months ago.
The rise, which applies to all EU staff, amounts to 3.7 percent across the board, despite negative or near to zero rates of inflation across Europe, soaring unemployment, falling wages and austerity measures in most national public sectors.
Amongst the beneficiaries will be Baroness Ashton, who will now pocket an extra £9,000 on top of her basic annual salary of £241,000. Despite never having been elected to public office, she will now earn over £52,000 more than Gordon Brown.
Meanwhile, average pay rises in Britain have fallen to one percent, the lowest increase on record, as almost half of British firms have frozen their employees' pay.
And the reason we are not rising up and slaughtering the "colleagues" is?
The New York Times obviously feels that "Climategate" is sufficiently damaging to warrant a soft-focus piece explaining how broad-minded and cuddly the warmists really are.
But alongside Moonbat, we're now getting the Ecologist breaking ranks, with editor Mark Anslow writing a piece headed: "Shame on the 'climategate' scientists".
Make no mistake, he says, "the emails from the University of East Anglia climate scientists which were obtained from a hacked server and posted onto the internet in November paint a shocking picture."
James Delingpole is still on the case, picking up news from Bishop Hill, retailing an account of an attempt by the warmist establishment to "whitewash" the affair. Shouldn't that be greenwash?
Lord Rees, of the Royal Society, it appears, is to carry out an inquiry on the affair – the very same man who, but a few days ago, was telling us that "the science of climate change is more alarming than ever."
That phrasing is exactly as published by the BBC and, although they did not intend it, the meaning is truer than it ever has been before. The "science" is indeed alarming.
Nevertheless, despite over 9.1 million pages on "Climategate" now being posted on Google - with "climate guatemala" being offered as a prompt for those who try to look it up – the MSM are still fighting shy of the scandal.
This is somewhat assisted by the iron grip exercised by William Connolley over the content of the Wikipedia entry on "Climategate". Seekers are redirected to an entry on the CRU e-mail hacking incident and references to "Climategate" are rigorously excluded. "A blatant attempt at censorship," complains one frustrated would-be contributor.
Nonetheless, the warmists are not getting it all their own way. Delingpole now reports that one of Michael "hockey-stick" Mann's IPCC co-authors has demanded that Mann should be banned from contributing to future reports because his scientific assessments are "not credible any more." This is Eduardo Zorita, who declares on his website that the "scientific debate has been in many instances hijacked to advance other agendas."
This is perhaps just as well as WUWT is reporting that Mann has got it upside-down again. Give it time and an upside-down bucket of merde will be descending on the great Mann.
We are, of course, very pleased that UKIP members or, at least, those who have bothered to vote managed to elect the best candidate, to wit Lord Pearson of Rannoch, something of a hero to this blog. The most exciting development will be, as I explain over on Your Freedom and Ours, reading positive comments by the Boss about the Leader of UKIP. Now that's something we have not seen in these parts before.
Steve McIntyre's analysis of Briffa's "hide the decline" – over at WUWT - provides clear evidence of sustained and deliberate fraud. Meanwhile, Phil Green demonstrates the effect of skewed science.
Reuters, of course, is desperately trying to hold the line - but it won't wash. This is getting too big - it's now only a question of when, not whether, the whole global warming scam starts crumbling. Australia is just the first crack in the dam. Gerald Warner adds to the pressure, noting that the BBC is way behind the curve. "Better tune in promptly to the BBC News tonight, or you may miss the death of Queen Anne," he writes.
Interestingly, Booker had a BBC radio broadcast (about his book) cancelled because of the controversy. It's not that they don't know – its head-in-the-sand time.
Breaking the dam, therefore, is going to remain an uphill struggle. There's too much money in the game for the players to give up easily. Typical of the "climate gravy train" is this item, with the BBC announcing the launch of a five-year programme to study the impact of climate change in Wales on land, sea and atmosphere.
We are told that "nearly 200 experts at Cardiff Aberystwyth, Bangor, and Swansea universities will be members of the £4m Climate Change Consortium or C3W."
For that money, the consortium "will examine the effects of climate change on the planet's ice and glaciers. It will also look at the social effects of climate change and how to engage the public with the issue." That's 200 more warmists on the payroll. There is no way they are going to roll over and admit that it's all a scam.
And they are only the tip of the iceberg – to coin an unfortunate phrase. The climate change budget for Wales alone is set to top £300 million, according to the BBC. Multiply that throughout the UK and you can see the scale of the problem.
On the other hand, there can be no doubt that we will win in the end. These people are barking mad.
Watching the Chilcot inquiry from afar, and making very little sense of it, one gets the impression that the drama being played out is entirely for the benefit of the participants, a narrow section of the media and a few obsessives.
In essence, there is actually nothing to inquire about in this first phase. We all knew that, for Bush Junior, Iraq was unfinished business – left over from his daddy's time. It was, therefore, only a matter of time before an invasion was launched.
Given that Blair was then in his trans-Atlantic "sucking-up" mode, having got bored with the squabbling of the "colleagues" in the EU, it was a given than whatever Bush decided, Tony would follow.
Where it all came unstuck was Blair's tranzie mentality and his craving for international legitimacy. Thus, instead of declaring, in ringing tones, that the invasion was a matter of national interest, and that a sovereign state needed no higher authority to go to war than its own national law, Blair sought UN approval for the venture. Such was Bush's need for a reliable ally that he went along with it.
Having thus accepted the jurisdiction of the UN, however, the Bush-Blair team had a singular problem, in that the real reason for the invasion – regime change – was not a permissible causus belli in the UN catalogue. This meant they had to invent one that fitted ... hence WMDs, allowing them to invoke the "self-defence" card.
The rest, as they say, is history – except that a powerful and vocal lobby is not content to wait for the verdict of the historians (who will need 30 years before Cabinet papers are released). They want answers now, and in particular, they want an admission from Blair that he dun wrong – so that they can then proclaim the mantra that this was an "illegal" war.
The one thing the obsessives are not going to get, of course, is that admission, which leaves Adrian Hamilton in The Independent whingeing: "The one thing Chilcot won't reveal is the truth."
So the game is on - to get as many of the players as possible to make damaging allegations, just short of the "conclusive" proof that only a Blair admission can bring. Cue, therefore, the FCO mandarins, who are only too keen to punish their former master for the unforgivable sin of backing George Bush.
Star of the show yesterday was Euroluvvy Christopher Meyer whom Chris Ames of The Guardian believes has produced a "game changer". Meyer's evidence "has surely made it impossible to claim that Iraq was about WMD and not regime change", writes Ames, although even he has the grace to add: "Or did we know all that already?" We did.
Nevertheless, such evidence invokes a strangled cry from the Scarygraph's Con Coughlin, who then remarks on being slightly surprised by "the way in which a succession of some of our most senior former diplomats has gleefully attacked the reputation of the former prime minister they were paid to serve."
Like Mrs Thatcher before him, Coughlin observes: "Mr Blair was always suspicious of where the true loyalties of the Foreign Office lay, and the evidence so far presented at the Chilcot inquiry suggest he was right to do so."
Tortured grammar apart, a more naïve commentary would be hard to imagine. When could a prime minister ever trust the FCO? Clearly, Coughlin has never watched "Yes, prime minister" (see above). And the episode played out yesterday in the Chilcot Inquiry could so easily have been entitled: "The mandarins' revenge".
Nick Cohen writes a thought-provoking piece on the role of the internet and freedom of speech in this week's edition of Standpoint magazine. Amongst the passages which stood out was this:
The overwhelming majority of political writers on the internet do not fact-check allies or warn them that they are making a mistake. Indeed, the standard web author rarely sees the need to spell out what his or her side believes in and argue for it in the marketplace of ideas. Instead, they encourage group loyalty and group-think by denouncing opponents. Free access to content makes the building of tribal identification by ritual jeering at opponents the dominant style.That seems to be a singularly apt analysis of the failure of the British political blogosphere. Rather than developing as a free-ranging forum of ideas, argument and intellectual discourse, it has simply reinforced the inherent tribalism, with dominant players in each tribe awarded with the approbation of their respective claques, with a tight circle of cross-links that create a virtual community just as narrow as the real thing.
Thus, of Guido Fawkes, Cohen writes that he:
... does not argue for right-wing policies. Like most other conservative bloggers, he takes their inherent merit for granted and devotes his time to disparaging the Left. Instead of conducting a thorough debate on why its government has failed, Left-wing blogs imitate the Right and respond in kind. For neutral readers, it is like watching drunken football fans shouting abuse at each other.There is a reason why such blogs are so singularly unattractive, and Cohen has just articulated it. Outside their narrow group of tribal supporters, they have no depth of interest and offer nothing of any consequence. Thus does Cohen conclude:
Whether they are communists in China, mullahs in Tehran or censorious libel judges in London, all opponents of freedom of expression must be grateful for the cover such empty-headed determinism provides. They can carry on as before, while their deluded citizens believe that the mere fact that they can blog and tweet is enough to free them from the long, grinding and often dangerous tasks of political reform.Sadly, the man speaks the truth.
In a week where a goodly portion of the blogosphere has been dominated by the "Climategate" scandal, The Daily Scarygraph offers a leader which tells us: "The Conservatives have shown this week just how sure-footed they have become on green issues."
The stupidity of the Tory position (part of it), which argues for financial incentives for recycling, could be understood by a junior school student – in the days before they taught economics and thus wrecked the subject. Simply put, producer-led (as in waste production) incentives, without there being a matching demand, lead to massive and expensive surpluses (have they learnt nothing from the CAP?).
One of the dirty secrets of the recycling movement – although it has been exposed often enough – is precisely the accumulation of those surpluses, together with the attempts to dump them on third world markets, leading to the most appalling conditions and mass exploitation of the poor.
Now, it would seem, the putative Tory chancellor is displaying his economic "acumen" by proposing to bribe British households (using their own money, of course) with amounts which exceed the annual per capita incomes of many third world workers.
The effect of this will be to generate even more unwanted surpluses, which will doubtless be dumped on yet more third world markets, where conditions continue to deteriorate. And this, the Scarygraph believes is "sure-footed"?
More to the point though, when Gerald Warner is writing in his own blog - on the newspaper's own website – of Senator James Inhofe's determination to carry out an investigation of the "Climategate" scandal, the Tories have been totally silent on the issue.
Their opportunity came with Wednesday's PMQs, but Cameron instead, chose to claim that two schools linked to a radical Islamic group had received cash from public funds designed to tackle extremism. That attack, as it turns out, was misplaced, leaving the Boy with egg on his face – and yet again demonstrating the inadequacies of Tory political research.
Even worse, the failure of the Tories to challenge the global warming orthodoxy – when public support is rapidly shifting away from the warmist agenda – demonstrates quite how out of touch Cameron's quasi-tories really are. "Climategate", therefore, could not only bring down the warmists – it could seriously damage the quasi-tories as well.
One of the more disturbing – but entirely predictable - aspects of the "Climategate" scandal is the attempt by the warmist establishment to downplay the significance of the leaked material, without in any way addressing the contents.
Via WUWT, we see a classic example of this dynamic, with the statement from the American Meteorological Society that:
For climate change research, the body of research in the literature is very large and the dependence on any one set of research results to the comprehensive understanding of the climate system is very, very small. Even if some of the charges of improper behavior in this particular case turn out to be true — which is not yet clearly the case — the impact on the science of climate change would be very limited.As one might expect, this highly tendentious statement neglects the pivotal role of the CRU in the warmist religion, where Phil Jones is not just a labourer in the vineyard, but the conductor of a vast orchestra. He co-ordinates the output of fellow workers, forming the hub of an international nexus, ensuring they are all "on-message" and sing to the same hymn sheet.
But what is also being obscured is how small this nexus really is. The "inner circle" which drives the scare probably comprises no more than a dozen highly motivated conspirators, most of them represented on the mailing lists of the e-mails we have seen.
This is brought home is Christopher Booker's new book (pictured), which charts the growth of the warmist movement, and demonstrates in a way that has not been done before, quite how small the group really is.
Those of us who have studied the scare dynamic will be entirely familiar with this. Back in the late 80s, we saw this with the salmonella-in-eggs scare. Although it hit the UK with considerable force, it actually started in the US and, before it had finished, had ripped through the entire developed world, causing mayhem in the egg industry.
But at the heart of it all was no more than a group of about a dozen scientists, all of whom knew each other, worked together, communicated closely, vetted each others' papers, and orchestrated the message. And, as we have seen with the warmist fraternity, they were just as rigorous in excluding "heretics", with an absolute monopoly over the publication of scientific papers.
Much the same could be said of the listeria scare where, if anything, the group of specialists was even smaller, and BSE, where the disease was "owned" by perhaps half-a-dozen scientists.
And that is the way the scare dynamic works. There is always a core group, from which the "orthodoxy" radiates, the rest of the work being derivative and highly dependent on the core hypothesis. Strip out that core, and there is nothing there. However, the players are highly adept at manipulating the volume switch, representing the flow of derivative papers as reinforcing the message.
Thus, now that "Climategate" is exposing the flaws at the heart of the warmist religion, one sees the attempts to encapsulate the boil – maintaining the pretence that this is a worldwide consensus, with thousands of workers all diligently and independently coming to the same conclusions, all on the basis of a wide range of data.
The real way to look at it though is as one vast orchestra. More players make for more volume, but they do not change the tune.
It seems that Baroness Ashton (pictured), our newly appointed EU high representative, is in a little spot of bother. Not only was she the national treasurer of the CND in the early 1980s, It has emerged that she represented the organisation at Communist Party meetings, including one in Oldham in September 1977, at a time when MI5 was carrying out surveillance on its members.
Also – and highly embarrassing for the newly-crowned head of EU foreign affairs - one of the leaflets brought out during her time with CND shows the organisation was a staunch opponent of European integration. It said: "The trouble with the Common Market is that it brings closer together the well-armed Nato countries and thus worsens the divisions of Europe."
The story is covered by The Times which has the lady having to deny another sin - taking funds from the Soviet Union during her days as treasurer.
In keeping with the liberal milieu of the European Union though, the person really in bother is the one who brought this up – none other than Nigel Farage. He raised the matter on the floor of the EU parliament yesterday, asking Barroso to investigate whether Ashton had received money "from enemies of the West".
This, earned him a summons to see Jerzy Buzek, the parliament's president, who declared that Farage's remarks were "... improper to the whole situation". He is, we are informed, to be told to "restrain his language and refrain from making improper comments in the chamber" or face disciplinary action.
This notwithstanding, Farage's substantive point is that Ashton was treasurer during a period when CND took very large donations and refused to reveal the sources. "What is known," he says, "is that these donations were obtained by a man named Will Howard who was a member of the Communist Party in Great Britain."
Thus Farage wanted to know whether Ashton would deny that while she had been treasurer, she had taken funds from organisations opposed to Western-style democracy. "Are we really happy that somebody who will be in charge of our overseas security policy was an activist in an outfit like CND? I do not think she is a fit and proper person to do this job," he told the assembled "colleagues".
Ashton's spokesman denied that she had either had contact with the Soviet Union or had accepted money from Soviet sources, a denial that did not altogether convince Krisjanis Karins, a centre-right Latvian MEP. He claims that information has been published that she was involved in this Marxist movement.
Hynek Fajnon, an MEP for the Czech centre-right party ODS, is also unhappy. "There is no doubt that the Kremlin supported CND activities," he says. "If Mrs Ashton as treasurer had played any role in that, it would be a great scandal."
This is not the last time Ashton will hear of this because she has to face questions about the issue next week when she appears before EU parliament's foreign affairs committee next week.
However, she will doubtless shrug off any suggestion that this makes her unfit for the job. Alternatively, she could argue that Communist sympathies makes her an admirable post–holder for a senior EU position, although one suspects that she will not be too keen to argue that point.
As it is Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, some believers in Anglo-American friendship, desirous of seeing the teaparty movement spreading to this country are organizing a
Thanksgiving TEA Party in London.
This will be for all who want to celebrate various matters, such as the 1689 English Bill of rights on which the 1791 United States Bill of Rights was largely based; or Anglospheric ideas; or Anglo-American friendship. Or just want to have a good time, eating turkey and whatever else people might bring.
Time: 4 - 8 pm
Place: By Abraham Lincoln's statue on the northern side of Parliament Square. Look out for the Stars and Stripes.
Nearest tube: Westminster on the Jubilee, District and Circle lines.
... here. Meanwhile, Delingpole comments and Deutsche Welle says: "The fallout continues". Newsweek relies on that paragon of virtue, James Hansen, to say of the disclosures: "they have no effect on the science. The evidence for human-made climate change is overwhelming." He does have a slight problem here, though. It isn't.
What also can't be disputed is that warmism is very profitable.
Given how excited our little hacks get when there is even a minor reshuffle in our provincial government, it really is quite interesting how little attention is paid to the selection of a completely new government.
When I think about it – which is not more than about twenty times a day – the genius (if it is that) is in calling the EU commission a "commission". It all sounds so harmless and anodyne. If they called a spade a bêche, however, it would be called the "EU government" – but that would give the game away.
In any case, our media is really only interested in provincial politics, so that lot in Brussels could run up the Jolly Roger and declare themselves the supreme rulers of the universe and the Westminster lobby would still be more interested in their own local soap opera.
Thus we see in The Daily Scarygraph "Ministers urged to take action against bank charges". But the masters of the universe have already spoken ... ministers can't do anything unless Brussels lets them.
"British banks win 'stunning' victory in landmark ruling on overdraft fees", says The Daily Telegraph, amongst the many media sources to comment on the ruling by our "Supreme" Court.
HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Lloyds are among seven lenders who had asked the Court to halt a challenge to their fees brought by the Office of Fair Trading, but there is more to the ruling than meets the eye.
According to the judgement handed down, the issue depended "on the correct interpretation (in its European context) and application of Regulation 6(2) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 SI 1999/2083."
However, we then see that: "The 1999 Regulations were made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 in order to transpose into national law Council Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts."
The "victory” then, is one for EU law – which completely goes against the grain of expectations. As for the "Supreme" court, all it was doing was interpreting the diktats of our masters in Brussels. But, as always, in none of the MSM accounts does one see any reference to this.
The Times rails that the "decision is bad for consumers and competition" but it does not tell us why it was made. The invisible "elephant in the room", as always, is positively thriving.
Thus we get Money Mail assistant editor James Coney lamenting "If OFT can't decide bank charges are unfair, who can?" The answer, of course, is "the EU stoopid". But we are not allowed to know this.
On the ball as always, with the latest orthodoxy, Reuters is happily reassuring us (itself) that the revelation of a series of "embarrassing" e-mails is not a "game changer".
The proof of this assertion comes with the cast-iron, copper-bottomed mantra which wards off all evils, the answer to life, the universe and everything ... "experts believe ... ". Ranking alongside "scientists say ... ", these mantras are the modern equivalent of garlic used to ward off the devil (aka sceptics).
With the terror of doubt thus banished, the agency intones that a "report by a group of leading scientists ... " tells us global warming is accelerating and that world sea levels could rise at worst by two metres a year. This is supposed to be "grim reading". This is matched - of course - by the "the daily scare" from the nation's global warming comic. Yet, what the warmists do not seem to understand is that the more they shout, the less people believe.
To many readers of the MSM output, this constant diet of alarmism is more like a comedy turn, as they pile in to call time on editorial boards which seem to have their heads stuck firmly in the sand. Even Moonbat got over 1000 comments, mostly ripping him apart.
When the CBS News blog also starts taking it seriously, you know something is afoot, but there is a long way to go. The pols are still on a different planet. "Don't you think it's scary," a minister said yesterday, "that 55 percent of people don't believe global warming is man-made?"
The problem though, that these people have their own tame propaganda organs, even though evidence is accumulating that global warming is most definitely man-made – but not as we know it. That is really scary.
One does not always agree with Patrick Cockburn, who was one of the many journalists who covered the Iraqi war and occupation from the very start.
Like so many of his colleagues, he was transfixed by the greater drama and violence in the US sector. He thus took his eye off the ball, misreading what was going on in the south – mislead in part by the official disinformation which the British were churning out.
However, his "take" on the first day of the Chilcot inquiry seems spot on. It suggests, he writes, that British mandarins of the day had little more idea of the mechanics of Iraqi politics than the most rabid and jingoistic neo-cons in Washington.
What is so striking about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he writes, is that the British foreign policy establishment seems to have lost its sense of what is dangerous and what is not. It may be that following dutifully behind the Americans is so ingrained that the capacity for independent judgement has atrophied. Cockburn adds:
In both Washington and Iraq before the invasion of 2003, there was a sense of British politicians and officials being slightly out of the loop. Perhaps this was inevitable once Mr Blair had promised to support the US regardless. But it is unfair and not very useful to blame Britain's misfortunes over Iraq all on him. It was British foreign policy-makers as a whole who seemed to forget the dangers of fighting wars in countries they had not taken the trouble to understand.The accuracy of this is very evident from retrospective analysis. Even to this day, many official commentators believe that the insurgency in the South started to develop after the violence erupted in the US zone, and was in part triggered by it.
But before the British had even occupied Basra, the Shi'a were planning a take-over, first of the south and then of the whole country. First, in Basra, they conducted a merciless campaign of ethnic cleansing, driving out the Sunni – which the British did nothing to stop.
Then, under the leadership of Moqtada al-Sadr, the Mahdi Army fought first the rival militias and then, increasingly, the British, in an attempt to dominate the region.
Writes Cockburn, of the Inquiry , which heard from Sir William Patey, head of Middle East policy at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the time – plus two other mandarins - "At no time, going by their evidence, did British officials in 2003 realise that the invasion of Iraq meant revolutionary change in the region." As so many times before, these "Rolls-Royce minds" of the FCO have been vastly over-rated.
Life would just not be the same without The Daily Telegraph and its "scare of the day".
The paper's latest offering is that levels of greenhouse gases have risen every year since detailed records began in 1998. And Michel Jarraud, the head of the World Meteorological Organisation, is warning that the pace of increase is quickening. Announcing the agency's analysis of data for 2008, he said: "Concentration of greenhouse gases continued to increase, even (increased) a bit faster ... Action must be taken as soon as possible."
Jeepers! The man has ten year's of data and he wants to stop the planet? On the other hand, he could read the Wall Street Journal, and then go away and boil his head. But then, how would The Daily Telegraph fill its pages?
Don't count on the US electronic media to fill the gap though. It seems it is swimming in that North African river.
Having a go at Mary Riddell is a bit like pulling legs off flies – after they have been swatted with fly spray (the flies, that is). Even then one wonders though why her newspaper bothered to send her on a jolly to Afghanistan, for what good her vapid piece actually does.
Fully aware that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, I nevertheless find somewhat appropriate the comments of this writer, who rails against "... books and articles written by authors who, after flying through a country in a week or a few days, ignorant even of the language of the people, write large volumes on the secrets and hidden policies, feelings and motives of the people of the country."
"These books and articles," the author continues, "are considered great authorities by the public, who should know better than to trust the information contained in them, for they do more harm than good, giving as they do utterly false ideas of the country ... its institutions and its people."
The interesting thing about this passage is that it is taken from a book published in 1900. Its author is Abdur Rahman, who just happened to be ruler of Afghanistan at the time – so I suppose he knew what he was talking about. Rather presciently, he was writing in the context of Russia, and "the difficulties that attend going to war against Afghanistan."
But then this is the man who wrote: "To treat kindly those who disturb the peace is being an enemy to those who love peace." I guess he did know what he was talking about.
"It may be that there's an innocent explanation for all this... but there needs to be a fundamental independent inquiry to get at the truth."
So says Nigel Lawson, with Prof Jones on the back foot, denying that he had massaged temperature figures.
A spokesman for the Dept of Energy and Climate Change still insists that the evidence for "climate change" is overwhelming but even the little Moonbat is going wobbly - to his very great credit says WUWT.
The real "smoking gun", however – or so we are told - lies in the code. Here, there is evidence that tree ring data are "artificially adjusted to look closer to the real temperatures."
It looks, says Welt online, as if they have a Glaubwürdigkeitsproblem. There are some times when only German will do.
James Delingpole offers another piece on "Climategate", telling us why it matters. With some perspicacity, he also makes the point that the subject is being shunned by "mainstream" political commentators, who are curiously silent on the issue.
That indeed is one the curiosities of the age - "climate change" is far from being a matter of science. If the e-mails demonstrate nothing else, it is how so-called scientists have broken the bounds of scientific method and have become partisan advocates for a political cause.
Yet, while the "scientists" have turned politicians, the real politicians have vacated the field and let these self-interest groups run the agenda, their only role being craven surrender to the incursions on their territory. Thus have the politicians relegated themselves to impotency, following rather than leading.
And, just to illustrate the point, we see from The Daily Telegraph that the "green" Tories have totally, completely and utterly lost it.
Not only are they planning a crazy recycling scheme, they are committing themselves to "cutting carbon emissions in Britain by 10 percent within a year", creating the country’s first "green investment bank", introducing "Green ISAs" to encourage investment in green technologies and – God help us - "making Whitehall energy consumption transparent".
At a time when the warmist religion is falling apart at the seams, now the Tories choose to nail their policy even more firmly to a corpse, completely oblivious to the events going on around them.
Meanwhile, The Guardian is still struggling to hold the line, headlining: "email hacking to be looked into by University of East Anglia". It then tells us that the publication has been seized on by "denial bloggers", and invokes the Met Office to reassure us that there is no evidence "that data was falsified".
I wonder if they realise what they are writing: "warmist Met Office says warmist data not falsified – shock!" But that's not what Devil's kitchen thinks.
The one thing that worried me about the emergence of more detail on the British occupation of Iraq was that the great labour in writing Ministry of Defeat would somehow be invalidated.
But, with the release via The Daily Telegraph of the Army's review of operations, I need not have been concerned. So far, what I have written stands up well against the inside information now being revealed.
What we have so far is a review of the earlier part of the occupation, under the title: "Stability operations in Iraq (OP Telic 2-5) – An analysis from a land perspective", which effectively covers the first two years of operations, up to mid-2005.
However, while we have been treated to some tantalising glimpses of the conduct of operations, this is no comprehensive evaluation. There is no great heart-searching and no recognition of the broader failure, which even then was becoming apparent.
More on Defence of the Realm.
It is classic "sods' law" that, just as the "Climategate" affair should be getting really interesting, we have the start of the Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq and the release (at last) of some important material by The Daily Telegraph.
On top of my ongoing study of Afghanistan (which has brought some very valuable responses) and the usual EU-watching, that means a classic clash, where there is just not enough time in the day to do everything. With "Climategate" in good hands elsewhere, though, my choice is obvious – I have to go with the Chilcot Inquiry and related matters.
The problem is compounded by the fact that The Telegraph has published the papers in a format which prevents "copy and paste", which means that extracts for quotation have to be laboriously copied out manually, adding considerably to the time taken.
Obviously, I'll keep an eye on other issues, but that is where my effort will be focused in the next few days.
The Daily Mail is running the "Climategate" story this morning – the first paper to give it a halfway decent airing. Furthermore, the piece is accompanied by robust editorial which wonders whether "the pernicious culture of spin and deception which ruined our belief in politicians has now infected the world of science."
Researchers at one of the world's leading climate change centres stand accused of manipulating data to exaggerate the extent of global warming - a deception which would represent a scandalous betrayal of trust, the leader says.
It goes on to tell us that we rely on scientists to give us the truth about these complex and crucial issues and suggests that, "If they are now twisting the facts to support their own doomsday theories, they are no better than Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell, who fabricated the 'dodgy dossier' of lies on which we were dragged into the disastrous Iraq war."
That this newspaper should take this line is quite significant, and there is more with a long piece by Booker, putting the rest of the media in the shade. The BBC is trying to hold the warmist line, with its "daily scare" – this one on the Antarctic (how novel) and The Guardian recruits Bob Watson to tell us how the sceptics are destroying the planet.
Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, the blogs are still making the running on the "hack" – which is now looking more like a leak - leaving the government with an inauspicious start to its poster campaign – which starts today – on climate change.
Billboards across 900 locations in the UK will "offer a stark message for any climate change sceptics" and are timed to precede a United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen next month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change is saying. The sceptics aren't listening though ... the game has moved on. The warmists have been outed.
Illustrating just how far the European Union has departed from its original ethos of a "trading agreement", we learn from Christian Today that the EU has instructed the UK to end exemptions to equality laws that allow religious employers to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.
This came via a "reasoned opinion" sent to the UK on Friday for "incorrectly implementing" EU rules prohibiting discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in employment or occupation.
The reasoned opinion states that the Government's "exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for religious employers are broader than that permitted by the directive."
Our provincial government has come unstuck because it allows exemptions for employers who could not conscionably employ homosexuals because of their religious convictions. The intervention means that anti-discrimination laws will have to be redrafted to ensure that churches and other religious bodies fall in line with all aspects of equality laws.
This means that churches and church groups which regard homosexuality as a sin will be obliged by law to consider homosexuals when or if they apply for jobs, and to face action if there is any discrimination shown in determining their applications.
No doubt the eventual requirement that such groups should be required to employ homosexuals by an alien government in Brussels was precisely what Mr Heath meant all those years ago when he assured the nation that there would be no "essential loss of sovereignty" when we joined the EEC.
One of the restrictions against which the "colleagues" in Brussels chafe is the need always to go cap-in-hand to the member states for their funding. As long as the purse-strings are held in this way, the member states at least have some control over the wilder ambitions of the project.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, to see pieces in The Sunday Telegraph today which point to EU plans to circumvent the current restrictions, with ideas for imposing direct taxes.
One of the offerings comes from Booker in his column who warns us not to underestimate Herman Van Rompuy, the first permanent president of the European Council. Almost the only thing we know about his ambitions in his new office is that he wants "more Europe". At the top of the list is the question of direct taxation and at the top of that list is the idea of levying new charges on every kind of activity that emits CO2.
Nor indeed is this a new idea. Way back in 1991, Brussels first proclaimed its intention to give a "moral lead" to the world in "combating climate change" – not least because its polling indicated that the project scored well on environmental issues.
The following year it then published plans for an EU-wide "carbon tax" and, ever since, saving the planet has risen steadily higher on the EU's agenda as the perfect idealistic cause to justify more new laws. Now that the Lisbon treaty is in the bag, this is the next in line for attention, and Van Rompuy is the man who intends to make it happen.
A similar theme is thus rehearsed by Bruno Waterfield and Justin Stares, also in The Sunday Telegraph, which notes that Van Rompuy will put his weight behind taxation proposals within days of taking office in January.
Apart from a CO2 tax, we are told, the new man will also be considering a Euro-version of a "Tobin Tax" – a levy on financial transactions. Either will result in a stream of income direct to Brussels coffers, "funding budgets that critics say are already rife with waste and overspending".
In this piece we are also warned not to underestimate Van Rompuy, who seems to have handled his own appointment with some guile. According to Belgian newspaper De Morgen, he told colleagues a few weeks ago that to achieve a top EU function you must "not ask for high office, but become a grey mouse, and offers will come."
Well, the offer came and was quickly accepted. Now we have an arch integrator in post, and the agenda goes rolling on. Once again Van Rompuy demonstrates the classic dynamic of the EU. There is no such thing as "enough". The moment they complete one power grab, they immediately start planning the next.
There is no accommodation to be had with this monster. We must destroy it, or it will destroy us.