Poor old Chris. The discount Viscount has not been having a happy time with the New Zealand press, as my Sciblogs colleague Peter Griffin noted in Monckton’s nightmare week in New Zealand last week. According to the Waikato TImes, he may even be about to hang up his sceptic spurs1. He was given a much [...]
Posts Tagged Monckton
The Monckton has landed in New Zealand, and he’s up to his usual tricks. In a desperate display of attention-seeking behaviour, the discount Viscount has lashed out at his critics, threatened libel actions against a scientist and a journalist, and attacked the good standing of Victoria University of Wellington. To make matters worse, in a [...]
You’d think, in the middle of the worst drought in 70 years, with farmers in crisis, that their national political body might be thinking about the big picture of climate change and how best to communicate that to farmers.
In Marlborough, where the drought is hitting hard, the local Federated Farmers chapter is sponsoring a talk by crank Lord Monckton. I asked Conor English, Federated Farmers CEO, what he thought about this and he said:
“We have 24 Provinces and they get all sorts of speakers on all sorts of things. We simply don’t know.”
OK, one renegade chapter. Fair enough. I’m sure Top of the South farmers will be relieved to know climate change isn’t real.
But on March 8, Federated Farmers’ “Friday Flash” weekly email bulletin was mailed to members right around the country, including a full-on promotion, with dates, links, and phone numbers of Monckton’s wander around the country. The item even questioned the science of global warming, running out the tired old denier “global warming has stalled for 16 years” argument (rebutted here) that is central to Monckton’s theories.
So I went back to Mr English to ask how they could be promoting Monckton’s visit, right in the middle of this terrible drought, the type of drought farmers are expected to get a lot more of as climate impacts kick in.
Indeed, how could the only mention of climate change in that Friday Flash newsletter be to advertise a tour by someone who is currently in Australia promoting the Rise Up Australia Party, whose leader, Pastor Daniel Nalliah, says that the awful 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria were God’s retribution for that state’s abortion laws?
Oh, the comms person said, that was just in our newsletter – we weren’t promoting it. “Events publicised in the Friday Flash do not necessarily align with Federated Farmers official standpoint.”
Really? So your newsletter can have any old rubbish in it? That’s not how a number of farmers who have contacted me over the last week see it. They are very much of the view that Federated Farmers are promoting the tour.
John Hart, a Wairarapa farmer, comments:
“I think Monckton’s climate-change-denial tour couldn’t have come at a worse time, as we battle the worst drought in a generation. In my opinion, Federated Farmers promoting his tour most certainly associates their brand with his. The man is a crank and does Federated Farmers no favours among rational farmers that accept climate change is real and requires meaningful action.”
Federated Farmers says: “Our organisation is keen to encourage debate and free speech. That is why we have publicised events from both sides of the climate change debate.”
“As for “promoting debate”, they don’t seem to realise that by giving oxygen to cranks like Monckton, Federated Farmers are playing into the hands of the climate change deniers. It’s disappointing to see Federated Farmers wasting time we don’t have when farmers need leadership in sustainable agriculture.”
Indeed, “debate” like this is exactly what Frank Luntz, the Republican communications guru, told the party to do:
“Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”
Because doubt, after all, is the only product Monckton deals in. Oh, sorry, and conspiracy.
Given that Federated Farmers went on to assure me that they were “well aware that scientists have predicted parts of New Zealand, in particular the East Coast, will get drier and hotter. That is why we have advocated a greater use of water storage and access to new science and new technologies,” what sort of contribution are they expecting from someone who’s going around the country saying climate change is a hoax?
Even that bastion of National Party fervor, David Farrar over at Kiwiblog doesn’t think that Monckton would make a useful contribution to the country. “He has a history of over-egging his claims,” he says, linking to John Abraham’s thorough rebuttal of Monckton’s science.
So I went back (again) for some further clarification, asking how they think a climate denier like Monckton – with no scientific qualifications and who says Agenda 21 will lead to UN concentration camps and that Obama’s birth certificate was fake – would further the “debate” on climate change for farmers?
They’re coming back to me on that one, apparently. Deafening silence so far.
What I find astounding is the fact that Federated Farmers refuse to distance themselves from Monckton’s tour. Including something like this in your newsletter implies tacit approval, doesn’t it? Given that the majority of climate change’s worst impacts in New Zealand are likely to be on the farming sector, they might consider that including a discredited denier in their newsletter is not going to be particularly enlightening to their constituents, or a helpful contribution on the issue.
Christopher “I could be the next Pope”1 Monckton is no stranger to outrageous overstatement, but on his current tour of Australia he’s really been pushing the boat far out onto the sea of craziness that passes for his political philosophy. As well as his usual climate nonsense, he’s been telling his Aussie audiences all about a new bugaboo: Agenda 21 – the new face of fascism, apparently. This is how he describes it in an article titled Agenda 21′s Terror Down Under:
…the U.N.’s anti-irrigation, anti-pesticide, anti-farming, anti-business, anti-environment, anti-population, anti-human, anti-Western, anti-capitalist, anti-everything Agenda 21 program…
But what does this mean for humanity? UN-created concentration camps, as Monckton explained to an Aussie audience last month…
“The remaining few areas where the last few humans allowed to exist in America in what they call human settlement zones — and what we would call concentration camps — all ideas of freedom and individual liberty will have gone if this is implemented…”
Agenda 21 is a terrible UN plot that has got it in for everything we hold dear, as this slide from one of his talks handily summarises.
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? I’d vote against that. Unfortunately, as is true of so much that Monckton promotes, it’s a complete work of conspiracist fiction. Agenda 21, according to Wikipedia, is:
…a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development.
The demonisation of this anodyne initiative is a product of the wilder shores of American conservatism, where opposition to environmental regulation in any form can be traced back to the days when ranchers were fighting restrictions on their use of public lands. Agenda 21 paranoia has been picked up and popularised by Tea Party Republicans, but Monckton’s version of the beast is one of the most extreme out there. In MoncktonWorld™, climate change is a scam put together by the UN in order to bring about world government. Tin foil hat territory, in other words.
It doesn’t seem to matter just how lunatic and extreme Monckton’s public utterances are, he will still find a warm welcome amongst climate sceptics. Here’s NZ’s very own Richard Treadgold, taking Monckton’s agenda at face value…
Agenda 21 values human life below every other kind of life — people are less worthy than plants and animals, rodents, reptiles and insects. I didn’t believe this when I first heard about it, so I started reading about this monstrous programme for myself, and it’s true — this “agenda” threatens our freedom.
…and swallowing it whole:
Monckton is in the forefront of opposition to Agenda 21. Thinking people everywhere support him. We should, too.
I shudder to think what definition of “thinking” Treadgold is using, but if it involves taking Monckton seriously then it’s probably a clinical condition and the unfortunate sufferers should consult a medical professional.
Monckton’s on his way to New Zealand in April, and his sponsors2 have started to promote his speaking engagements with a charming little poster (left). Quite how a pregnant hippie chick is supposed to appeal to sceptics is not something I can be bothered trying to fathom out, but I do note that Monckton is scheduled to travel from Matakana to Gore speaking at some of the nation’s smaller venues. I’m sure he’ll be warmly welcomed by the Flat Earth Society and the nation’s climate cranks — but I wonder if Federated Farmers, who are sponsoring his Marlborough talk, really want to be associated with a man who thinks the UN is plotting to bring in world government? And does the NZ Institute of International Affairs, a rather august and respectable body, really think it should be promoting3 the views of a conspiracy nutcase?
The last word I shall leave to the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. Here he is describing (with some glee) the deep emotions he’s been rousing in Australia:
[a farmer in South Australia] was so delighted that someone – anyone – is speaking up for the farmers menaced not only by the carbon tax but also by daft environmental over-regulation that he is naming this year’s prize bull “Lord Monckton.”
At least the bullshit produced by that beast will be useful around the farm.
- Seriously, he did write that — and “in one vital respect I am an eminently suitable candidate”, here.
- Includes all the usual suspects, especially Bryan Leyland, who has been desperately trying (and failing) to find real scientists and genuine academics to engage Monckton in debate.
- In Hamilton, on April 8th.
“Potty peer” Chris Monckton has reacted to criticism of his threats to sue Australian academics by doubling down on his commitment to pursue legal action. In a typically overblown piece at an Australian sceptic site, Monckton tries to reassure the faithful that their guru has not gone off the rails:
Going to court is the deadliest weapon we have against the extremists who have lied and lied and lied again to save the Party Line. Lies have consequences.
Indeed they do, as Monckton may find out one day. He goes on to demonstrate how “successful” this tactic can be by re-writing the history of one or two cases he’s been involved with, and then states:
“Dr.” Michael Mann, fabricator of the “hockey-stick” graph that falsely abolished the medieval warm period, sued Dr. Tim Ball for calling the graph scientific fraud. Tim Ball’s defence was to propose showing the judge the many dodges by which “Dr.” Mann had done what “Dr.” Overpeck had called for in 1995: “We have to abolish the medieval warm period.”
Rather than face cross-examination, “Dr.” Mann gave up the case at a cost that cannot have been much less than $1 million.
This is not true. It is an invention. Monckton is lying about the state of the Ball/Mann court case, and repeating Ball’s libel of Mann to boot. Mann’s lawyer, Roger McConchie, has described Monckton’s statement as “nonsense”. The legal process continues — in fact, Mann’s legal team were deposing Tim Ball as part of the discovery process on the same day that Monckton concocted and published his story!
The discount viscount concludes his epistle with a rousing call to his own arms:
But if the liars tell lies about me, if the fraudsters deny the scientific truth when I speak it, if the cheats make up baseless personal attacks on me, then I have the opportunity to fight back, not so much on my own behalf as on behalf of the silent, broken millions who cannot speak for themselves and whom your political class no longer bothers to represent.
Monckton’s hypocrisy is breathtaking. He is a puffed-up propagandist who has repeatedly lied about many things, and who has misrepresented the science of climate at every one of the many opportunities he has been given by those campaigning against action to reduce emissions. When the “silent, broken millions” who will be hit by climate changes made worse by Monckton’s efforts wake up to his mendacity, his words will surely return to bite him on his upper class bum. And the sooner they do, the better.
Christopher, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley’s tour of Australia must be going very badly, because the “high priest of climate scepticism” is indulging in another of his increasingly desperate displays of attention seeking behaviour. After giving a poorly attended lecture in Hobart last week, Monckton took umbrage at an article in the Sunday Tasmanian (on the web here) reporting the views of Tony Press, CEO of the University of Tasmania’s Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, who was not impressed by Monckton’s efforts. In response, Monckton has thrown his toys out of his fossil fuel funded pram, and called for the University of Tasmania to fire Press. Here’s the last paragraph from his typically pompous and ludicrous letter [pdf] to the Vice Chancellor:
On any view, Press is not a fit and proper person to be employed in any capacity at the University of Tasmania. I hope that the University will investigate his misconduct and fraud and will dismiss him forthwith.
Connoisseurs of Monckton’s antics will note that this is a well established pattern of behaviour. Remember when he took exception to the comprehensive dismantling of one of his lectures by John Abraham, and tried to get him fired? Nothing came of that threat — except that Abraham was motivated to become more active in countering climate crank nonsense wherever it appears.
In his latest attack on academic freedom, Monckton accuses Press of fraud:
The multiple falsehoods by Press published in an article in the Sunday Tasmanian on 24 February 2013 manifestly constitute frauds as defined in your policy. Press’ deceptions, false suggestions, suppressions of truth and other unfair means were calculated – individually and by mutual reinforcement – to occasion loss to me and continuing profit to himself.
Monckton’s hypocrisy here is breathtaking. He is himself a fraud, as I demonstrated in this post nearly three years ago. I might also note that in order to suffer a loss of reputation, you first have to have a good one. Anyone who cares to peruse the history of his climate activities, as recorded by Barry Bickmore at Monckton’s Rap Sheet, will find that the discount viscount has a chequered past, as well as plenty of evidence of Moncktonian toy-throwing and threats when criticised1 — none of which amount to more than a considerable waste of time for the people he attacks.
A senior Australian police officer specializing in organized-crime frauds tells me the pattern of fraud on the part of a handful of climate scientists may yet lead to prosecutions.
When the cell door slams on the first bad scientist, the rest will scuttle for cover. Only then will the climate scare – mankind’s strangest and costliest intellectual aberration – be truly over.
The strange and costly aberration here is not in the state of our understanding of the climate of our planet, but in the weird and wonderful mindset of people like Monckton who think that climate science is a scam designed to usher in world government.
Monckton brings his conspiracy roadshow to New Zealand in April for an extensive tour of the nation’s smaller venues. I’m sure he will get a warm welcome from the dim and deluded, and the local branch of the Flat Earth Society.
I do — sometimes — enjoy a trip over to the other side, those dark corners of the web where people pretend that climate change isn’t a real and pressing problem. I looked in at µWatts this morning, and passed a most amusing breakfast perusing the latest offerings there from potty peer Christopher, Lord Monckton of Brenchley, and Robert, “Bob” Carter. When I say amusing, I mean that I found it almost impossible to get past the first paragraph of Monckton’s extended paean to Greek architecture without collapsing into my toast laughing.
It appears the good Lord is planning to build what he describes as a cottage orné, and the rest of us might think of as a folly, on his Scottish estate. This cottage will be a Greek-style pavilion, as the little image above shows. Quite why Anthony Watts thinks his blog is an appropriate place for this folie du grandeur remains obscure until very late in the piece, but Monckton never fails his loyal climate crank fans:
To make matters worse, there is now overwhelming evidence that climatologists all over the world have been tampering with temperature data, sea-level data, paleoclimate data, etc., etc.. The tampering always seems to be in the direction of making it appear, artificially, that there is more of a problem than there is.
Remember this when he turns up in Australia and New Zealand this year. Monckton expects to be able to libel every climate scientist in the world, and still be taken seriously. I hope he brings a model of his cottage, and displays it at every opportunity.
Not to be outshone by the verbose viscount, Bob Carter, Australia’s master of pompous prose, offers µWatts a classic example of his normal nonsense…
Carter begins by claiming comparable credibility to real climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe1, and therefore falls at the first hurdle. Carter is a well-published and somewhat respected geologist, but when it comes to climate science his credibility has been shot by twenty years of daft denial on behalf of US and Australian fossil fuel interests, not to mention by taking money from the Heartland Institute.
Carter attempts to show that a self-posed hypothesis — that CO2 induced warming is dangerous — doesn’t stand up to the evidence. Here’s his last “test”:
(v) The same computer models predict that a fingerprint of greenhouse-gas-induced warming will be the creation of an atmospheric hot spot at heights of 8-10 km in equatorial regions, and enhanced warming also near both poles.
Given that we already know that the models are faulty, it shouldn’t surprise us to discover that direct measurements by both weather balloon radiosondes and satellite sensors show the absence of surface warming in Antarctica, and a complete absence of the predicted low latitude atmospheric hot spot. Hypothesis fails, twice.
Nope. Because that’s a false test. If you were a credible climate scientist, Bob, you would know that a tropospheric “hot spot” is a “fingerprint” that would result from warming from all sources, not just greenhouse gases. And I wonder why you fail to mention the remarkable warming in the Arctic or the Antarctic Peninsula? Rhetorical question. We all know why Carter is misrepresenting the facts. It’s because he’s happy to misrepresent the truth on behalf of his paymasters.
More interesting than Carter’s arguments are where his piece first appeared — the web site of the “American Institute for Technology and Science Education“, a creationist lobby group based in California. Monckton is a birther and supporter of all sorts of wacky conspiracy theories (see above). Now we have Carter making common cause with creationists. How are the mighty fallen. Tell it not in µWatts, publish it not in the pages of Morano; lest the daughters of the warmists rejoice…
- The piece appears to be an attempt at a rebuttal of an earlier article by Hayhoe.
Lost and damaged Dec 08Join the conversation at Hot Topic
At the end of every UNFCCC meeting, on the last day, there’s a grand prize: the Colossal Fossil. So proud: New Zealand took top prize for the first time, shared with Canada.
For a country whose emissions are similar in scale to the Canadian tar sands, New Zealand has demonstrated exceptional blindness to scientific and political realities. Surprising many and disappointing all, New Zealand has fought hard to unseat 5-time Colossal Fossil winner, Canada, in a campaign of extreme selfishness and irresponsibility.
While New Zealand may have helped drown the talks for another year, New Zealand’s small and vulnerable Pacific neighbours should take heart that they have not been forgotten – New Zealand intends to drown them too.
I don’t think I can add much to this, except to say that for a small country, we sure manage to punch above our weight at these talks, upsetting more governments and people than is warranted for our small size. Sam from the Youth Delegation has summed it up nicely over on the youth blog. It’s all about trust.
I was going to write a light-hearted blog today, poking fun at Lord Christopher Monckton’s appearance in Doha, in his Arabic dress and antics in the plenary. But I thought about it overnight and woke this morning more angry about it than amused.Monckton turned up on Wednesday dressed in full Arab regalia – the long, white kheffiyeh that the majority of Qatari men wear every day. He held a press conference the next day with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and a Texan tea party group, with Republican Senator James Inhofe joining by video.
But this week saw a massive typhoon in the Philippines that has so far killed more than 500 people – and counting. The southernmost super-typhoon ever seen in the country. It nearly wiped out Palau altogether.
The Philippine delegate, in tears, appealed to the meeting to take action, to get agreement: “If not us, then who; if not now, then when; if not here then where?”
Later, Monckton later took the floor in the plenary, posing as a delegate for Burma, who don’t have a delegation here, and told the meeting that there had been no warming in 16 years. The whole plenary booed him. He had his badge taken off him, and was ejected (he was leaving anyway). The Guardian Liveblog covered it here, if you feel you must watch (another rant from me there too).
I got an email from the UN telling me: “Lord Monckton has been permanently barred from the UNFCCC process.”
So that’s it. Never again will I see the Viscount of Brenchley, Lord Christopher Monckton at a climate talks. Good riddance. He’s already trying to spin that he was thrown out because he was talking about no warming for 16 years, when in fact he was rightfully thrown out for speaking on the floor as Burma when he wasn’t entitled to do that.
Right now, it’s after 2 am and I’ve left the negotiations to get some sleep. There’s big deadlocks around a lot of the detail, with much focus on an incredibly weak Kyoto Protocol text. Who’s in, who’s out? Our government has been right in there, weakening rules around trading to the point that they’re actually weaker than they were in the early 1990’s.
Then there’s the issue of “loss and damage,” new to the discussions from last year. The key sticking point is over whether there is an international mechanism set up to help distribute money for the poorest countries to pay for the loss and damage from climate impacts. It’s about the industrialized world paying for the damage it’s now wreaking on the poorest.
As Seychelles Ambassador Ronny Jumeau told a press conference earlier this week:
“If we had had more [emissions cuts], we would not have to ask for so much for adapatation. If there had been more money for adaptation, we would not be looking for money for loss and damge. What’s next? The loss of our islands?”
This isn’t going to finish any time soon. What we’ll get tomorrow is up in the air, but what we do know is that air will continue to be filled with increasing amounts of C02 – and nothing that’s happening here is going to slow it any time soon.
I’ll know more in the morning, but bets are on that it’s going to last through to late Saturday.
Monckton and the mob May 22Join the conversation at Hot Topic
Scrotum stood looking down King Street towards St James’s Square. The spring wind was chill, and the young leaves on the trees in the square were struggling to look green. The old fashioned street lights gleamed on the rain-swept road and glistening pavements. He pulled his collar up around his neck, tugged at his trilby and shivered. This was no night for an assignation, this was a night to pour the Laird a stiff snifter of Glenfarclas in his suite at Pratt’s and to then retire to the kitchen for a drink with the Georges. A fresh blast of rain blew down over Christies and bounced off the front of the Golden Lion. He retreated to the shelter of a doorway and sighed. His breath swept out of his nostrils and hung in a brief mist before being beaten to the ground by the ice-sharpened rain. The things he did for the cause…
Monckton, meanwhile, was relaxing in front of the fire in his rooms at the club, sketching out some notes for the keynote he expected to deliver in Chicago in a few days. It would be a triumphant return, he was sure, though he thought he had detected some reluctance from his American comrades in arms in the great climate fight to pick up the tab for his first class airfare and extra baggage allowance. Perhaps Scrotum could travel in a trunk in the hold? He would phone British Airways in the morning.
Scrotum looked at his watch. A quarter past eleven. He snorted. Five more minutes, and he would be off. A soft whistle began to echo down the deserted street. The Third Man theme. Scrotum smiled and stepped out onto the pavement, but a hand reached out and grabbed his coat, pulling him back into the doorway. A voice hissed into his ear.
’For God’s sake, man, remember your tradecraft.’ It was Mycroft Monckton, the Laird’s twin – the evil twin, he called him – the opposite of his Lordship in every way. Denied the title and family seat in the House Of Lords lavatory by the accident of being born ten minutes after Christopher, Mycroft prided himself of being everything that his brother wasn’t. Subtlety was his greatest attribute, and though he lost very few opportunities to embarrass his sibling, he always did it with great style.
’Bloody hell, you gave me a fright,’ Scrotum croaked. ’If you’re here, who’s that whistling over there?’
’The mob,’ Mycroft replied, pulling Scrotum through the door and into an oak panelled reception. He pushed the door closed. ’I had to borrow this place in a hurry. There have been developments. Follow me.’
Mycroft opened a door and stepped into what looked like a broom cupboard. He tapped the back wall. It swung open to reveal a staircase heading towards the basement. ’Come on, man, hurry up,’ he said, setting a brisk pace down the worn stone steps.
It seemed to Scrotum that were descending into the very depths of the city. The ground rumbled beneath his feet, suggesting they were near a Tube line. The walls began to glisten with rancid damp. Yellowing old posters clung to the walls – it must have been part of a of bomb shelter during the last war. His knees began to ache at the unaccustomed exertion and his breath came in short pants, bringing unbidden memories of childhood.
At last they reached a large room lit by a few yellowing bulbs. Chairs were arranged around a table at the centre. A single old fashioned black telephone, the handset cord worn and knotted, stood at one end.
’Churchill used that phone, y’know,’ said Mycroft, seating himself in front of it. ’Tea!’, he called out loudly, and a young woman emerged from the gloom carrying two large, chipped white mugs.
’Milk, two sugars’, she said to Scrotum. He nodded, surprised that his personal tastes were so well known. He sipped at the brown liquid. It was hot and tannic.
’What’s going on, Mycroft? I thought we were just meeting to run over arrangements for the Laird’s next trip to Chicago. A bit of rabble-rousing at the Heartland climate conference. Standard stuff, same as the last few years. You want me to tape some of the backroom goings-on…’
’He’s not going to Chicago,’ said Mycroft.
Scrotum coughed and spluttered in surprise. ’What? Nobody’s told him. Why on earth not?’
’Usual thing. He went a bit too far.’
Scrotum tugged at a pendulous ear lobe. ’You mean the Unabomber billboard affair?’ Mycroft nodded. ’But I thought that was a huge success?’ A puzzled look spread from Scrotum’s eyes and found easy purchase on the wrinkles crinkling around his chin.
’From our point of view, yes,’ said Mycroft. ’Heartland made to look like vulgar idiots, their backers withdrawing left and centre, big coal being forced to step out of the shadows and front up with money. All good stuff.’
Scrotum sipped his tea and recalled the numerous phone calls between Tannochbrae and Chicago a month ago, the long ’marketing plan’ the Laird had put together for Joe Bast, the helpful artwork he’d drawn up for an advertising campaign. ’This’ll make the buggers sit up and pay attention,’ he’d said.
To begin with, the Chicago lobbyists hadn’t been too keen on Monckton’s proposals. ’Hitler’s passÃ©,’ Bast had said. ’Doesn’t test well with the focus groups. They seem to think he was a vegetarian and liked cats. Might be different in England.’
The Laird had been non-plussed. His plus fours were around his ankles in surprise, pantalogically speaking.
’I always find that an occasional swastika goes down well with the base,’ he said.
’We are aware of your thinking,’ Bast replied icily. ’But I want the Unabomber and Bin Laden. Hitler and Lulu are out, and that’s final.’
’What about my poster designs?’, Monckton asked plaintively.
’They’ll do,’ Bast had replied. ’The first one’s up tomorrow.’
’Great,’ said Monckton. ’Now, about my conference keynote…’
’We’ll get back to you,’ said Bast. The line had gone dead, and Monckton’s brow had ruffled with odd thoughts and insecurities. Surely they still loved him?
Scrotum dragged his wandering thoughts back to the present. ’So what’s the problem?’, he asked Mycroft. ’He was supposed to get Heartland into hot water.’
’Yes, but not to give them third degree burns. Not only will they never trust him again – which means we’ve wasted a lot of time and effort in making him into an unwitting double agent – but some of the more excitable Americans have hired a hit team to ‘take him out’, as I believe the cousins put it.’
’Good God.’ Scrotum was shocked. ’You mean the guy in the street was a hit man? You said ‘the mob’. You mean mafia?’
’Nothing that mundane,’ said Mycroft. ’A team of former special forces operatives who normally ride shotgun for Bankroll Barry, the last big Heartland backer. We call them The Mob because they come from Chicago and like to go around in fours.’
Scrotum whistled softly. ’So the Laird’s in danger.’
’Yes. They know he’s in London. We think they’ve had a little help from inside the Pentagon, which is why that bloke in the street knew our signal. My best guess is that they were planning to snatch you then force you to lead them to Chris.’
Scrotum turned a whiter shade of pale. The room was spinning harder, and his mind was turning cartwheels across the floor. He steadied himself with a deep draught of tepid tea.
’Do they know he’s in Pratt’s?’
’We’re not sure,’ said Mycroft grimly. ’We need you to get him out of there, and to a place of safety.’
Scrotum leaned across the table towards Mycroft, and listened to a machine gun list of instructions.
’Got that?’, said Mycroft.
’Roger,’ said Scrotum.
The trip back to Pratt’s had left the wrinkled retainer as short of breath as he was short in stature. Mycroft’s young assistant had ushered him through a warren of tunnels and past a multitude of doors. Passages spread out into the gloom like the tentacles of a particularly armful octopus, a decapod of directions, but only one led to the cellar at the Laird’s club. At the foot of the steps, the black-stockinged young lady had thrust a little phone-like object into his hand.
’What’s this?’, he’d asked.
’A one-time routefinder,’ she’d explained. ’Follow the green arrow on the screen, and it will take you to the rendezvous.’
The Laird was unimpressed by Scrotum’s appearance – the retainer was puffing, sweat dripped off his long lank eyebrows, and there was a wild look in his eye.
’What’s the matter with you, man. You look like you’ve just seen, or possibly shagged, a ghost!’ Monckton took a sip of whisky and leaned back in his chair, which creaked alarmingly. ’Now, listen to this…’
’Your lordship,’ Scrotum raised his voice to an unaccustomed pitch and tried to look severe, ’your life is in danger. We must leave the club now.’
’What poppycock!’ cried Monckton. ’Who would want to bring harm to me?’ His brow furrowed, and seagulls gathered behind the plough looking for worms. ’Unless…’ He paused. ’It’s the enviro-fascist left, isn’t it? It’s the UN-sponsored green Nazis who can’t tolerate open debate. They’ve given up on beasts of prey and are about to resort to…’ He paused again. ’What are they about to resort to, Scrotum?’
’I have no idea, your lordship,’ said Scrotum, ’but I am assured your life is in danger.’ He sidled to the window and pushed the curtain cautiously until he could see down to the street. In a doorway opposite he could see four men in trenchcoats carrying what looked like violin cases. ’Look,’ he said, waving Monckton towards the window.
Monckton peeped around the edge of the window. ’Blimey,’ he said. ’You think they’re after me?’
’I’d move back from the window if I were you sir,’ said Scrotum, pushing the Laird a trifle too firmly, sending him staggering backwards into his chair. As Monckton collapsed into the old leather, the window made a loud cracking noise and a little round hole appeared in the curtain material. A bullet buried itself in the ceiling and dropped a little spurt of plaster onto Monckton’s silvery pate. The Laird began to whimper softly, clutching his arms across his chest and swaying backwards and forwards. ’Get me out of here, Scrotum,’ he cried. ’For pity’s sake..’
’For your father’s sake, sir, I will.’
They’d been in the tunnels for at least a quarter of an hour. Monckton had insisted on putting on his anti-raptor body armour and solar topee, and was beginning to perspire furiously as he struggled to keep up with the old retainer’s new found fleetness of foot.
’Stop here for a moment, will you?’, he said hoarsely. ’I need to catch my breath.’
Scrotum looked at the routefinder, then at his watch, and nodded. He pulled a handkerchief from the breast pocket of his tired black suit and mopped the Laird’s brow. It was deathly quiet down here, just an occasional drip of water from the ceiling, and then a strange susuration wandered down the tunnel to the two men’s ears. It sounded as though a group of people were grunting ’hear hear’ in unison. It meant nothing to Scrotum, but Monckton’s ears pricked up like a terrier’s, and his nose twitched like one of the beagles he’d hunted at Cambridge. He began to walk slowly down the tunnel towards the sound, muttering to himself. Scrotum followed, listening intently. The Laird was chanting softly to himself. ’The Lords, My Lords, Lords temporal, Lords templars…’
Scrotum knew he had to move fast. They were obviously under the Houses of Parliament, and Monckton was back in the thrall of that odd place. Ever since they’d told him he was not and could never be a member of the House of Lords, the Laird had wanted nothing else. He was prone to interminable fugues of lust for parliamentary status, aching with desire to sit on the cross benches and guffaw along with all the others, to the free bus pass and privileged use of gold-painted Boris bikes that was their preserve.
Monckton pressed his ear to a grating in the wall. A tear formed in the corner of his eye and his lower lip quivered. Scrotum looked at his watch, shrugged his shoulders and gave the Laird a swift but servile kick to the fork. Monckton yelled in pain, and looked around to chastise his attacker. Scrotum grabbed his arm, and got him moving once more.
’Sorry, sir,’ he said softly. ’But we have to hurry. The mob may yet be on our tail.’
The grating was heavy. Through the thick bars Scrotum could see trees and lights against a dark sky. He wedged his back against the iron and pushed up as hard as he could. The grating popped up easily, and his head emerged in the middle of a pavement. A couple of passers-by looked at him in astonishment. He touched his forelock and smiled at them, then reached down into the hole to help Monckton climb the last few rungs of the ladder. While Monckton dusted himself off, Scrotum looked around. They were under the London Eye, the gleaming white ferris wheel that whirls tourists around above the Thames. The river was black and choppy, the South Bank walk almost deserted – except for four men carrying violin cases, trotting towards them from the direction of the Festival Hall. Scrotum tugged at the hem of his Lordship’s coat, and pulled him towards the bottom of the great wheel. Where the hell was Mycroft?
Even at this late hour there were a few hardy souls lining up for the Eye. Scrotum and his master brushed past the queue, muttering apologies and trying to look inconspicuous, but their chasers were closing fast. When they reached the ticket office, Mycroft appeared from nowhere and whisked them through the gate and into one of the glass pods. He closed the door.
’We’re safe for now,’ he said with a grim smile. ’Well, Chris, what have you done to deserve this?’
’Mycroft, thank god you’re here,’ Monckton gasped. ’It must be the enviro-fascists. I must be getting close to the heart of their conspiracy to impose a one-world socialist government funded by carbon taxes on every living thing.’
’They’re a bit closer to home, I think you’ll find,’ said Mycroft. ’Those four men…’ He waved at the men as they jumped over the ticket barrier, knocked aside the uniformed attendants and sprinted for the next pod. ’They’re from Chicago.’
Monckton frowned. ’You don’t mean…’
’I do,’ said Mycroft. ’They’re associates of your friends in the windy city, upset that your marketing plan and poster design has got them into such deep trouble.’
The pod began to rise up above the river, and the lights of the London skyline began to spread out around them. In the pod behind, the four mobsters were opening their violin cases and extracting weapons of considerable sophistication. A blob of laser light started to bob around Monckton’s body. The Laird began to shimmy and shiver in as impressive display of the frug as Scrotum had ever seen.
’Don’t worry, Chris,’ said Mycroft. ’This glass is bullet proof. You’re quite safe for the time being.’
’What do you mean, for the time being?’, asked Monckton querulously.
’Well, we have to get you out of here,’ said Mycroft. ’They’ll have a chance to get a few shots off if they’re quick.’ Monckton’s face took on a ghostly pallor, and his shaking intensified.
High up on the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster a huge golden eagle stretched its wings and preened an out of place feather. Below its razor sharp talons the clock chimed the quarter hour. Aethon was ready for action.
The next twenty minutes passed more slowly than any other period of Monckton’s long and incident-packed life. The mobsters had passed out of sight below their feet as the pod had swung up into the sky, but as they approached the top they came back into view. They were sitting on the bench, their guns trained on Monckton. Mycroft opened his briefcase and pulled out a leather harness.
The Laird laughed. ’Aha, Mycroft. Your secret is revealed. You are a fan of leather and restraint. Now I know why Nanny left us all those years ago…’
’Very funny, Chris,’ said Mycroft. ’Help him to put this on, Scrotum. It’s important that the big loop reach above his head.’ Scrotum fiddled with the buckles and straps while Mycroft opened a panel in the ceiling and began to turn a handle. The roof began to split open. The mobsters were milling around their pod, obviously trying to work out what Mycroft was doing.
As the pod reached the top of its arc above the great city, Mycroft stopped winding the handle. ’Right, brother,’ he said, ’we’re going to give you a boost up so that you can climb out onto the roof.’
’I’ll do no such thing,’ said Monckton, looking truculent. ’I’ll fall to my death.’
’I won’t be able to protect you from those mobsters when we get to the bottom,’ said Mycroft. ’It’s my way or a coffin. Your choice.’
Monckton protested, but stuck his courage to the sticking post and clambered up Mycroft and onto Scrotum’s shoulders until his head and shoulders were out of the pod. Scrotum could see that the mobsters had worked out how to open the roof of their pod. It wouldn’t be long before they were able to get a shot at the Laird. ’You better get a move on,’ he said to Mycroft, who was busy pressing buttons on his mobile phone.
Monckton was oblivious to the danger. He scrambled up on to the roof of the pod and began to look around. The view was amazing. London was laid out at his feet like a brightly lit model city crawling with life, stacked with stories. What tales it could tell, he thought. He got to his feet, spread his arms and shouted ’Look at me, Ma! Top of the world!’
A bullet whizzed over his shoulder. Monckton yelled, and then his voice was drowned by a raucous scream as a giant eagle swooped down and grabbed the loop in the leather harness. More bullets whizzed past his feet as the great bird flapped its wings and lifted him out of the spotlights and towards the stars.
Scrotum watched his master’s departure and the outrage on the faces of the gunmen, and smiled at Mycroft. ’Nicely done,’ he said.
’Thanks,’ Mycroft nodded. ’It means you’ll be in hiding for a while, of course. Low profile, not Tannochbrae or Australia.’
’Understood,’ said Scrotum, taking the glass of Pol Roger Mycroft had poured. ’But what about them?’, he said, waving at the mobsters.
’I think the SAS has plans for them. And I have an idea too…’
This is the sixth tale in The Monckton Files.
Courtesy of the ever-helpful NZ Climate “Science” Coalition — you know, the guys who take money from American think tanks and found “charities” to sue scientists — I stumble on a remarkable exposition of the world view to which they subscribe. Apparently, “Climate criminals almost took control of the whole world by deception, a grand fraud. Money has changed hands on a vast scale due to a bunch of easily-dispelled untruths.” Really? Here’s another sample:
The supporters of the theory of manmade global warming are […] an intellectual upper class of wordsmiths, who regulate and pontificate rather than produce real stuff. There is little demand in the economy for their skills, so they would command only modest rewards for their labor in the marketplace. Arguably they are a class of parasites enriching themselves at the expense of producers, because they are rewarded out of proportion to the value they create–value as determined not by themselves, but by voluntary transactions in the marketplace.
Yes folks, those of us who would like some meaningful action on climate change are the “regulating class” according to a penetrating new analysis by Australian denialist Dr David Evans. And we’re bent on world domination…
Evans’ report, Climate Coup – The Politics, is a follow-up to his earlier Climate Coup – The Science [PDF], which purports to destroy the scientific case for action to reduce carbon emissions. It does no such thing, of course1, but it sets the stage for Evans’ political argument2. And what an argument! Here’s Evans on the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009:
Never in the field of human administration would so much power have been transferred by so many to so few. This was a narrowly averted global coup, an attempt to seize a great deal of power by stealth without the knowledge or explicit consent of the world’s people. It can only have been kept silent with the active support of the world’s media.
Positively Moncktonian, that analysis, and just as barmy. Here’s his array of the forces lined up in the argument:
Believers: UN (including the IPCC), Western governmentsï¿¼, major banks and finance houses, NGO’s and Greenies, totalitarian leftists, government-funded scientists, academia, renewables corporations, mainstream news media
Doubters: Independently-funded scientists, private sector middle class, amateurs (from amore , the Latin for love)
How strange that he couldn’t find room in his list of doubters for the big oil companies that did so much to kick start the campaign against action on climate change, or the mining companies that funded so much of the opposition to Australia’s emissions legislation. He finds no place to mention the Murdoch media, always keen to present the “doubters” views3, or to ruminate on Fox News in the USA.
In the end, Evans assures us, everything’s going to be all right:
While there will be warming due to our emissions of CO2, the climate models exaggerate and the warming will only be mild. In the tropics it will have almost no effect, while elsewhere it will be equivalent to moving a few tens of kilometers closer to the equator. There are much larger natural forces on our climate at play, and it is they and not our puny CO2 that drives the planet’s temperature.
There’s no danger from warming, only from “the grab for absolute power by those who already govern [and] have grown tired of democracy and would like to do away with it.”
The whole thing is, of course, risible4, but I think it should be taken at least slightly seriously as an example of a worldview common amongst those who do not believe in the need for action on climate change. Worldview is an important determinant of attitudes and how facts are evaluated, but when it is as extreme and as divorced from reality as that portrayed by Evans, then there can be little hope of any constructive dialogue. There is no “debate” to be had with a propagandising ideologue, however much they might clamour for one.
- It’s composed mainly of misdirection, misrepresentation and cherry-picking: I leave it as an exercise for the reader to spot the flaws.
- One wonders if they would not be better presented the other way round, because it would seem likely that politics is driving his view of the science.
- For a recent example, see this piece by Neil Perry at The Conversation. But then what else would Evans expect from “academia”…
- Which is exactly what Evans would suggest I would say.