Maurizio Morabito put my first internet article up on his blog three years ago. Tony Newbery put the next seven up at Harmless Sky. (links are on the first post on this blog: “I’ve got a Blog”).
I’ve never met either. A planned meeting with Maurizio was missed when snow screwed up my Christmas visit to England, and a meeting with Tony fell through when his car broke down in the Pyrenees.
I missed the great moment last night when Maurizio revealed The List, but I’ve been following the story closely since. If you haven’t, then get over to http://omnologos.com/full-list-of-participants-to-the-bbc-cmep-seminar-on-26-january-2006/
or follow it at
It’s significant for a lot of reasons. First, simply, it’s a scoop. So were Climategates 1 and 2, and so was the Gleick affair and the SkepticalScience internal email leak. All five affairs gave us sceptics the same liberating feeling of having our suspicions confirmed. We weren’t a bunch of paranoid conspiracy theorists after all: they really were up to just what we thought they were up to – and worse.
Secondly, it’s a scoop unlike the other four, which more or less fell into the laps of the happy recipients. Note that Maurizio called it his second-best scoop. His other one was the discovery of a CIA document confirming what warmists have long denied: that the 1970s Global Cooling Scare was taken seriously at the highest reaches of government.
Both Maurizio’s scoops were the result of his hard slog. No-one asked him to go ferreting round the British Library in search of the CIA document. No-one asked him to spend those hours searching the Wayback machine for the List of BBC climate “experts”. He explained in a throwaway comment at Bishop Hill what made him do it: “I wouldn’t have looked so damned hard had the BBC not fielded six lawyers against a pensioner.”
Which brings us to Tony Newbery, who had devoted Gaia knows how much time and energy to his Freedom of Information application, and the appeal before a tribunal when it was refused, and who seemed, just yesterday, to have reached a dead end. One short article by Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph and a lot of sympathy on sceptic blogs was all he seemed to have gained for his efforts.
Tony and Maurizio will probably have much more to say on this subject, and it will be much more interesting than anything that I can add. My function as a humble footblogger in the sceptic camp has always been that of a facilitator, suggesting things: “Have a look at this”; “Go and comment on that”. It seems so trivial, but sometimes you find that you have an effect.
One of TonyN’s best campaigns was over the government’s “fairy story” TV ad campaign to raise awareness of climate change. Commenters at Harmless Sky and other blogs wrote to the Advertising Standards Authority to complain, and the ad was the most criticised of the year, receiving 900 complaints. 900 may not seem much in a democracy of 60 million inhabitants, but it was enough to get a campaign withdrawn. And it’s almost certain that readers of sceptic blogs like Harmless Sky were a significant proportion of the plaignants. It wasn’t in any way an organised campaign, but the simple fact of consulting with likeminded souls on a blog thread certainly helped us to hone our arguments.
I added a comment to Maurizio’s comment about wanting to help out a pensioner who’d had to face up to six BBC lawyers: “It’s being so disorganised and unfunded what makes us so effective!” And I mean it.
Which isn’t to say that I’m against organised action. Simply that, at this stage of the struggle (and one must call it a struggle, since we’ve been refused all possibility of a rational debate) the sometimes apparently quixotic efforts of determined individuals can have surprising results. This is a subject I’ll be coming back to again and again and again. How a movement develops. It’s what I find fascinating about the sceptic position. If the last polar bear dies of heat stroke on the last Arctic ice floe tomorrow, I’ll still be here, discussing strategy for furthering the sceptic argument.
In the meantime, I’ve been neglecting the Adventures of Moonbat and Apocalypse Close.
I ask you, how can one write a satirical account of a global warming seminar after today? Still, I’ll try.