Thank God for James Delingpole – Tim Blair on the UK author, columnist
Tim Blair writes on James Delingpole’s Australian tour in a cover story for this week’s The Spectator Australia. Here are a few excerpts that provide a taste (but, definitely, are no substitute for the whole of Tim’s piece). If you’re not a Speccy subscriber yet, a trip to the newsagent is highly recommended …
James Delingpole, currently in Australia to promote his book Killing the Earth to Save It, routinely lands more than his share of blows. You want confidence? His massively-read blog at the UK Daily Telegraph opens with cheery lines about “a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything”. Delingpole, who is not crippled by shyness, builds from there.
Truth be told, most anti-global warming books are as boring as books that push the warming cause. “Killing the Earth” – published elsewhere under the grabbier title “Watermelons” – is blessedly graph-free, as arts graduate Delingpole correctly realises that global warming is overwhelmingly a political issue. And also a rich target for jokes.
“The debate was never about ‘the science’ in the first place,” he writes. Understanding that politics drives “the science” of global warming rather than the other way around is key to grasping why, in Delingpole’s words, this subject grew from “a minor cult followed by a few tousled eccentrics” in the 1970s to “the world’s most powerful religion” today.
Yet, thank God, it’s a religion now under serious threat. Sceptics wrestled global warming down from its undeserved place as a scientific totem several years ago and dumped it back in the political pit where it always belonged. That’s when the beating began.
Delingpole and his kind have been remarkably successful. Someone not unfamiliar with wrestling and beating, The Spectator Australia’s own Mark Latham, this month wrote that in his area of south-west Sydney, “it is difficult to find anyone who believes in global warming, let alone the legitimacy of collective action against the problem… intelligent people, high-achievers in life, are just as likely to dismiss the evidence of global warming as anyone else”. Latham attributes this distressing – for him – development to a newly-apparent anti-enlightenment hostility to expertise. “Science,” he says, “has lost its place in the pecking order of respect.”
The former Labor leader doesn’t see that science as it applies to global warming is as greasily political as any ALP move to install, say, a certain Queensland LNP representative as Speaker of the House. Science didn’t lose its place in the pecking order. Science either threw it away or allowed it to be stolen, depending on how you view Climategate, the 2009 exposure of emails between the world’s most influential climate activists.
James Delingpole’s book is available from Connor Court.