(i.e. Why am I so critical of James Delingpole?)
As a white, British male, fortunate to have received a good education, I have often wondered what I would be like if I had been born black, poor and South African or – after my trip to Everest Base Camp in 2008 – the son of a Nepalese Yak herder in the Himalayas (not so bad I suspect). But if I was any of those things, I would not be me; and “What ifs” are generally not good for your mental health. However, what really scares me is that I could so easily have been James Delingpole.
We are the same age, the same gender, and the same sexual orientation (presumably). We were both brought-up in southern England, and both received an expensive education, paid for by parents who considered themselves to be upper-middle class (probably). However, although English, History and Geography were among my favourite subjects at school, I paid attention in science class and, by the age of 16, understood why scientists had changed their minds about an approaching ice age and were now concerned about global warming. Moreover, despite the absence of any discernible scientific understanding, James has convinced himself that Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) is a scam; whereas I understand that most relevantly-qualified scientists are convinced that ACD-denial is a scam.
Therefore, despite the fact that we may have the same sense of humour (because I think much of what James writes is genuinely funny – when it’s not criminally misinformed), what really scares me is that I could so easily have ended-up being the man who gave us Climategate – the biggest scandal in corporate misinformation history. Furthermore, although the fossil fuel lobby and conservative think tanks (and their computer-hackers) may provide the fuel for ACD-denial, it is people like James Delingpole that are driving the damn engine!
Thus, this blog is the ultimate result of my being so irritated by the irrationality of James Delingpole, as evidenced by his interview with Sir Paul Nurse on the BBC Television programme Science under attack (first broadcast in the UK on 24 January 2011). For those who have not seen this interview (what planet are you from?) – please see All that is wrong with “the marketplace of ideas” on this blog for an introduction.
Considering myself to be naturally conservative (rather than progressive), this prompted me to set-up my first blog on the MyTelegraph website, which I called James Delingpile.
The real James Delingpole clearly did not see the funny side of this; as my blog was taken down by the website moderators a few days later. After being unsuccessful in arguing that I had not actually broken any house rules, or libelled anyone, I re-invented my blog as Earthy Issues. However, I have had to abandon this (and am very glad I did) because of seemingly-unresolvable issues with my laptop (which meant I could not interact with other users on any part of the Telegraph website). For the record, I say I am glad to have abandoned MyTelegraph, purely because WordPress has allowed me to make my blog my own.
For those interested in the personal, scientific, philosophical, and vocational odyssey that has brought me to where I am now (August 2011 – as summarised in the personal statement on the About page), please see History.