Rusbridger’s Dementia

One of the nice things you can do on WordPress is see which of your articles people are reading. With 177 articles up so far, I find this most useful since many of them I can’t even remember writing.
One which seems to get a fair amount of attention is this one
https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/climate-killings-danish-management-consultants-discover-100000-more-bodies/
It’s like a million others (well, 176 others). It quotes a Guardian article claiming 400,000 deaths a year due to climate change. It’s not as many as the estimated two million a year African women who cough themselves to death over cooking fires fuelled by cowpats due to lack of clean coal or gas fired electricity, but it’s a lot of people. The figure comes from the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, which is produced by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which “convenes … some of the countries most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change” e.g. Bangladesh, Costa Rica, and Vietnam. They offloaded the job of writing the report onto a Spanish NGO called DARA (Director: Ross Mountain). But DARA didn’t actually write the report. That was done by Commons Consultants, a Management Consultancy based in Copenhagen.
It’s two and a half years since I looked at this report. In that time, assuming the Guardian report (quoting the Climate Vulnerable Forum, quoting the Spanish NGO DARA, quoting the Danish Management Consultancy Commons Consultants) has got it right, a million people have been killed by climate change. It seemed only right, if only in honour of the million dead, to go back and survey the killing fields.
The Guardian, is in the middle of an unprecedented campaign to persuade us to stop using fossil fuels that are causing the climate change which (according to the Guardian) has killed a million people since Fiona Harvey’s 2012 article. So no doubt they’ve followed up Fiona’s article with reports on those million deaths. I mean, Editor-in-Chief Rusbridger is complaining that it’s difficult to report climate catastrophe because it’s so slow – but a million deaths! If climate editor John Vidal can write eyewitness reports on the global-warming-induced suffering in Tanzania while on a flight to Pretoria, surely the Graun’s dozen-strong environment team can find something to say on those million corpses. A bit of imagination, guys!

Why do I assume that Rusbridger is not a psychopathic liar like his employees, but an innocent victim of his own stupidity? I find the time to scan the five articles per day on climate change published in the paper he edits, and to research one from time to time. Why shouldn’t he?
My loyalty to the Guardian goes back a long time, and has survived a thousand disappointments. I wasn’t there when they supported the abolitionists against the British interests in the slave states of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. I wasn’t even there when they supported Stalin’s atrocities in the Ukraine (according to Richard Drake in a comment on a previous post).
I learned long ago that they were capable of tergiversation and worse when it came to the crimes of our American friends (in Vietnam, for instance) and of a discreet silence about the shortcomings of the European Dream, for example when British Foreign Minister Steel and French Foreign Minister Juppé decided that the Bolshie multi-ethnic population of Sarajevo, with their irritating insistence on tolerance, were not worth defending against the geopolitically more important Serbs who were picking them off one by one from the surrounding hills. (Steel has long disappeared from the scene, but Juppé stands a chance of being President of France in 2017, despite his six month suspended sentence for corruption… where was I?) But it was only around 2007 that I discovered that the Guardian was systematically lying to me about climate change, and I admit that my first reaction had all the touching naivety of the Soviet dissident who, when hauled off to the Gulag, cried out: “Just wait till Comrade Stalin hears about this!”
So I started commenting on their climate change articles, in the hope of alerting editor in chief Rusbridger to the fact that Monbiot and the others at Guardian Environment were a bunch obsessive liars. It didn’t work, which didn’t surprise me when I transcribed Rusbridger in the role of discussion chairman at a Greenpeace event. He insisted on introducing each participant by announcing the number of followers on his Twitter account, and managed to insert into the debate a comment about how profoundly he’d been affected by Stephen Emmott’s plea at the Royal Court to teach your children how to kill climate refugees.
It didn’t work. (My campaign to alert Rusbridger to the shortcomings of his underlings, I mean. For the Emmott/Rusbridger/Royal Court plan to shoot climate refugees, we’ll have to see.) He’s still there, still campaigning to ban electricity when the wind isn’t blowing, still hoping to abolish plastic by the year 2030.
I’ve just finished transcribing the fourth part of the Rusbridger/Guardian Circle Jerk to be put up eventually at Mytranscriptbox. But I do recommend that you listen to it at
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2015/mar/16/the-biggest-story-in-the-world
(click on 4 Risks)
The Story So Far is that Rusbridger has realised that the Paris Climate conference will be an epic failure, and so has decided to pin his hopes of saving mankind on a conversation he had with Bill McKibben in Stockholm, during which he was persuaded that the owners of the world’s megatrillion barrels of oil could be shamed into leaving it in the ground. Before starting on the chaps who own the stuff (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, Scotland) he thought he’d have a go at the chaps who extract it, or rather, more exactly, the chaps who own the shares of the chaps who extract it. Or, even more exactly, two of those millions of chaps who, being known for their liberal tendencies, might be persuaded to divest of their shares in the interest of saving the planet.
But the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust told Rusbridger and the 174,000 readers who signed his petition to get stuffed. So Rusbridger turned his attention instead to his very own Guardian Media Group, the 800 million pound investment fund which exists to ensure the survival of the Guardian In Perpetuity.
(Suddenly Rusbridger’s obsession begins to make sense. Wouldn’t you like to know that the thing you’d devoted your life to – the family farm, an orphanage in Bangladesh, your collection of model soldiers of the Napoleonic wars – was guaranteed in perpetuity thanks to the backing of an 800 million pound trust fund?)
So imagine Rusbridger’s chagrin when he discovered that his campaign to divest from Big Oil was backed by a trust fund that invested in the same. There followed an urgent meeting of the GMG which decided, on purely economic grounds of course, in accordance with their statutes, to divest. Do listen to the conversation. It’s pure Ibsen. Or Pinter. Or Beckett. Or Jarry. Anyway, it’s worthy of the Royal Court. Here’s an extract:
Alan Rusbridger: Yeah, I’ve just had avocado on sourdough for my breakfast. I don’t know what Neil’s had.
Neil Berkett (chairman of the Guardian Media Group): I had muesli..
Alan: You had muesli? i can’t believe it!
Neil (laughing hysterically): I had muesli, I had raspberries, and I had goat yoghurt
AR: God!
NB: I’m absolutely genuinely serious, that’s what I had for breakfast this morning.

Yes folks, this is the Biggest Story In the World. Told by the Biggest Storytellers.

And while I was writing this, episode Five has just gone up. In which Guardian Economics Editor Larry Elliott prevents the World’s Worst Economic Crash.

This was once one of the world’s great newspapers. ,What happens to it matters.

This entry was posted in Guardian CommentisFree, Weirdos and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Rusbridger’s Dementia

  1. No, what happened to it matters. It as all over now, save for the interment.

  2. stewgreen says:

    Geoff, “what did you have you have for breakfast ?” ..is a standard Qn to test the microphones, surely they just forgot to edit it out ?

  3. stewgreen
    The muesli exchange was left in for a reason. It’s a joke, a typical self-deprecatory Guardian joke. It’s Rusbridger saying to the head of the GMG: “Hey! I’m the wet muesli-eating liberal. You’re supposed to be a hard-nosed Australian capitalist running dog plutocrat who eats raw Aborigines for breakfast.”
    The whole Guardian is like that. One could argue that the whole of our modern society is like that; clever, shallow, obsessed with in-jokes and crazy cults.

  4. foxgoose says:

    Are you ready for one of my UKIP leaflets yet Geoff? 🙂

  5. TinyCO2 says:

    Growth is an academic issue for them. They think of a billionaire with a super yacht but reality is thousands of people with a spare room, dreaming of a bigger house with a garden. There’s an obsession with disparity, rather than fundamental increase in wealth. While people might gripe at not being as wealthy as the oligarchs, they’d mind a whole lot more if they had to reduce their current consumption, regardless of what the rich did or didn’t have. To be in the global top 1% you have to have an after tax income of about £25000 (after dependents accounted for). While it’s no small potatoes, it’s not a huge sum of money and doesn’t reflect an impossible goal for many people. However it doesn’t come close to the lifestyle most people dream about when they play the lotto. Growth represents a lot more people enjoying the lifestyles the Guardian writers take for granted.

    They talk of the damage that leaving fossil fuels in the ground would do to the financial markets. No you FECKERS, the real damage will come from having almost no energy!

    These people have totally bought into their own societal mischief and are merrily sawing off the branch we’re all sitting on. Firm in the belief that the only thing preventing us learning to levitate is the lack of incentive that a long fall from the tree would provide. The only bright spot is that in their madness they’re cutting at the wood with a baguette and we only have to worry when they move on from breakfast and get their hands on a carving knife.

  6. TinyCO2 says:

    The Guardian output peaked the year they wrote about San Seriffe, it’s been downhill ever since. If they revisited it now they’d blame the erosion on climate change. The original climate refugees.

  7. artwest says:

    I agree. There had been other issues before where I differed with The Guardian but wrote it off as honest disagreement or occasionally ignorance. It was over climate change though that I realized that the paper would not only omit awkward facts but lie outright. Not coincidentally, that was about the time I stopped being able to have The Guardian delivered and so found my daily news online – thus discovering a multitude of other angles on the same events.

  8. alexjc38 says:

    The transcript is now posted here (many thanks, Geoff!):
    https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/2015/20150409_gn

    Apologies for the delay; I’ve just come back from my travels and am still a bit jet-lagged.

    Re muesli, there was a similar thing in Episode 3:

    “Two floors up, the special project room has finally been vacated by the HSBC tax scandal team. The pizza boxes are cleared, the bowl of granola is on the table. The climate team are here…”

  9. TinyCO2 says:

    In episode 5 it’s fish and chips. These people aren’t working hard enough based on the amount of time they spend munching. The way the sound editor merges the music with the crunch and squelch is… er… different.

    One thing strikes me, their whole movement is based on preaching to the converted. If they were serious about their plan, they should be asking how they communicate with the billions who aren’t already on their side.

    Hope wherever you went was worth the jet lag Alex.

  10. potentilla says:

    I still subscribe to the Guardian Weekly but have to skip over the environment articles which are merely a string of anecdotes interspersed with speculation. As a scientist I am now being asked by the Guardian to fill out a form letter for them to forward to the Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust who have already told the Guardian to “get stuffed”. Recognizing the limitations of Guardian readers, especially the scientists, they plead that we should “write in complete sentences” and “please use your best prose”. It sounds like one of Geoff’s whimsical spoofs but they really are going round the bend:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/keep-it-in-the-ground-blog/2015/apr/24/scientists-keep-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground

  11. alexjc38 says:

    @ potentilla, the Guardian’s advising scientists to “write in complete sentences” is priceless.

    About halfway through transcribing Episode 5 and the soundtrack is getting ever more whimsical. In addition to the squelchy fish-and-chip eating, there’s a bit right at the start where Aleks says “The biggest story in the world is really about numbers” and a few seconds later we hear lots of helpful voices reciting actual numbers, as if to reacquaint numerically challenged listeners with these perplexing little beasts.

    Later on, they’re fantasising about the destruction of the fossil fuel industry and the popping of the “carbon bubble” – “That would be the equivalent of the sub-prime crisis – it would be probably worse”, says Damian Carrington. “There would be a massive stock market crash, without a doubt”. This is accompanied by cute little “pop!” “pop!” sounds…🙂

    It’s almost as if the Guardian are casting themselves as lovable eccentrics who will nevertheless muddle through, in the best tradition, etc., and help save the day/world. In their own minds, anyway.

    @ TinyCO2, the trip was very much worthwhile, to Japan which is currently 8 hours ahead of the UK. It’s been a pleasant – albeit temporary – escape from the UK general election non-excitement.

  12. Episode 6 is out now – it’s about psychology.

    All the favourite delusions are regurgitated – here are a few highlights:
    Everyone knows they really should be taking action on climate change but somehow we can’t face it.
    Wasn’t Naomi Klein’s book great?
    There must be something wrong with the way we are getting the message out.
    The Guardian has banned polar bears.
    A new language is needed, along with a new set of pictures.
    It’s all like tobacco.
    I’d love to see a gallery of shame.
    Climate change is somehow different from all other issues.
    The solution is mobilising the people.
    I think people really care. Of course people care.

  13. Barry Woods says:

    Gallery of Shame!! LOL

    they had George Marshall on, babbling about psychology of denial (he did a sociology degree in 1984, and has been a career activist since, Earth First UK, Rainforest Foundation,Greenpeace, COIN, etc)

    George STARTED – Halls of Shame over a decade ago – for climate deniers
    He founded Rising Tide, here is it’s Hall of Shame,
    http://risingtide.org.uk/content/hall-shame
    which he still links to on his blog climatedenial.org

  14. Thanks for all the sane comments. I’d go mad listening to this stuff without them.

    I’m half way through the latest podcast and it reminds me of two things: the “five minutes’ hate” sessions in 1984 and a group therapy for terminal cancer patients which formed the backdrop to wonderful Bill T. Jones ballet – “Still Here”. It’s as disturbing as the one and as sad as the other.

  15. TinyCO2 says:

    I love episode six. It’s like a window into their fuzzy little minds. They so desperately need someone with a different viewpoint to shake their comfortable little nest.

    They start by admitting they’re either not very interested in AGW or not doing anything about it. Later on they go on to consider things to raise public awareness as if they hadn’t already tried all of them. The missing question is ‘well if they haven’t worked on you guys, why would they work on anyone else?’

    They decide that there has to be an ‘enemy’ and surprise, surprise it turns out to be fossil fuel companies. Whoda thunk? Yet again they give themselves a free pass. At the end, someone witters about the public wanting to do more than ‘changing their light bulbs and making individual lifestyle choices’ as if those weren’t the things that have to be done! They’re always talking about people being in denial but the only people it fits is them.

  16. alexjc38 says:

    Here’s the transcript for Episode 6:
    https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/2015/20150429_gn

    It’s interesting – they start by rejecting polar bear pictures and things icy, then go through several gear changes (a Hall of Shame, cat videos, dancing babies, cli-fi, classical music), and end up with Anthony Gormley installations:

    Which could I suppose be considered highbrow versions of the polar bear/iceberg pics, so in a way they go full circle.

  17. TinyCO2 says:

    The Guardian’s project continues. Let’s hope they reinvested their money in this scheme:

    http://www.thegwpf.com/green-investors-lose-billions-as-sky-darkens-for-chinas-solar-industry/

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