His Highness Ladybird Corner

HRH the Prince of Wales’s bestseller on climate doom, Climate Change: A Ladybird Expert Book is currently listed on Amazon as “#1 Best Seller in Chaos Theory”, but that’s probably just Amazon’s idea of what chaos theory is about. My idea of chaos is a world where the future Head of State of one of the world’s most powerful and respected nations writes a book for adults which pretends to be a book for eight-year-olds, and adults buy it.

The first customer review at Amazon gives it 5 stars but comments:

It is a rather odd book in that it’s target audience isn’t clear. It’s probably best of [sic] children aged 8-12.

The second 5 star reviewer, a certain Robert Ward of the LSE, says Every household and business should own a copy.”

Hang on Bob. That’s 25 million copies you’re talking about. Do we really need so many? It’s not Mein Kampf you know…

While at Good Reads, the first of only three reviews by a certain Brendan O’Neill calls it:

A feudalistic finger wag, a groan of aristocratic angst, a haughty eco-edict packaged as a children’s book – because we’re all brainless imps in dire need of instruction from proper adults – from a prince still peeved about the Industrial Revolution and nostalgic for a time when people lived off the land (probably his land) and convinced Mother Nature is the sweetest lady alive because he has never once had to brave crop failure or hurricanes destroying his home or any of the other vagaries that come with being dirt poor and not living in a palace and yet having to listen to an insanely rich descendant of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha duchy saying there’s been too much economic growth. A future key exhibit in the British Republic’s museum about why we ditched the monarchy. 0/10.

Brendan is obviously a bit of a sceptic, and therefore almost certainly a conservative Trump supporter, possibly in the pay of Big Oil. Cue the entry of Britain’s foremost expert psychological profiler of climate sceptics, my old mate Dr Adam Corner of the University of Wales, Cardiff, who has just given Prince Charles’s twenty-odd page tome a glowing review at Climate Change News.

His sober assessment of this work by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, Chancellor of the University of Wales (Dr Corner’s employer) is headed: Prince Charles’ Ladybird book is a climate communications masterpiece”. Dr Corner, like His Royal Highness’s co-author Tony Juniper, is an unsuccessful candidate for the Green Party, (as would be His Royal Highness himself, no doubt, if it weren’t for eight hundred years of turbulent constitutional history…)

Dr Corner goes on to reveal why this work authored by the Green Party’s Regimental Colonel is such a “climate communications masterpiece:

As a social scientist whose work has focused on communicating climate change, the authors invited me to comment on an early draft…

So the reviewer helped write it. All 25 pages, or only some? We don’t know. We know Prince Charles didn’t write it on his own. He had the help of two of his subjects, Dr. Emily Shuckburgh and Tony Juniper, both of Cambridge University, or nearby.

Emily-05

Neither of these co-authors is unknown. Emily is research group head at the British Antarctic Survey, and her photo at the BAS site is pure Ladybird, showing a mad dog of an Englishwoman out in the near-horizontal noonday sun shining through a Union Jack. [note to commenters: all other jokes about where the sun does or doesn’t shine out of will be severely censored. Only I’m allowed to make those gags.]

Shuckburgh has form. She recently co-authored an article at the Conversation along with a couple of professors of astrophysics and climate at UCL and a professor of oceanography and another of international relations at San Diego suggesting that it was time to drop the emphasis on global surface temperature and talk about other “vital signs” of the health of the planet. Comments to the article revealed that the article was largely a rewrite of an article written two years ago by the professor of international relations as a reaction to the current pause in global warming. Dr Shuckburgh did not defend her co-authorhip of this article.

His Highness’s other co-author, Tony Juniper is a big fish in the environmental kettle. As Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International from 2000–2008, he “oversaw the campaign that ensured the inclusion of a Climate Change Bill in the Queen’s Speech of 15 November 2006.” (That’s the bill that 99% of M.P.s voted for that ensures that British economic policy will be dictated by insane unelected idiots like Lord Deben and Lord Krebs until 2050 or until the masses rise up and exile the bastards to St Helena or some other ecologically sustainable paradise.)

Juniper’s big claim to fame, according to his Wiki article, is his support for parrot conservation. His book “Spix’s Macaw: The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird” is by far his most imposing work. At 500+ pages, this is Juniper’s Moby Dick. Spixs Macaw was thought to be extinct in the wild until a specimen was spotted in 1990, though this identification has been contested.

Those who fear that biodiversity is being lined up as the next subject for environmental hysteria, as well as those (like me) who think that wildlife conservation, like the preservation of works of art and historical monuments, is a sign of a civilised society, should have a look at the Wiki article on Spix’s Macaw.

Like that other endangered species, European Royalty, Spix’s Macaw is fussy about its habitat and its breeding habits. Any idea that climate change or other horrid modern activities might be responsible for the bird’s rarety is dispelled by Wiki, which notes that:

The bird was already rare by the time of Spix’s discovery of it in 1819 following 100 years of intensive burning, logging and grazing of the caatinga. Centuries of deforestation, human encroachment and agricultural development along the Rio Sao Francisco corridor following European colonization of eastern Brazil preceded its precipitous decline in the latter part of the 20th century.

Furthermore:

This macaw lived in the hottest and driest part of the “Caatinga” or Caribbean trumpet tree woodland galleries. The Caraibeira constitutes a microclimate within the Caatinga. The existing galleries are fringes of unique woodland extending a maximum of 18 metres to either side along a series of seasonal waterways at least 8 m wide in the Rio São Francisco drainage basin. Large mature trees of this species (and apparently no other) provided the nesting hollows of Spix’s macaws, as well as shelter and their seedpods, food for the species.

A bird that insists on nesting in one tree existing in a 36 metre-wide habitat is asking for trouble. But Brazil is a civilised country, determined to preserve its wildlife. With the help of the bird fanciers who contributed to its extinction in the wild in the first place, the country is actively campaigning to reintroduce the bird into the wild, apparently successfully.

Which is nice, but doesn’t answer the question: Why does our future Head of State appoint as his chief advisor on environmental matters (or Astrologer Royal) a chap whose main claim to fame is a five hundred page book about a dead parrot?

But back to His Highness’s book. I must admit I haven’t read it. Amazon’s peek inside only allows you to read the list of 24 chapter headings and the intro by someone whose signature looks like Chav III. Google gives you Chapter one, all one page of it.

According to the Times Besteseller List linked in Corner’s article, HRH‘s book is now number 3 in the list of top 5 hardbacks. Number one is “Five on Brexit Island.” There are three Ladybirds in the top 5. What this shows is:

– most book buyers are old age pensioners nostalgic for the books they read sixty years ago, when colour printing was a luxury reserved for children. (See Woman’s Own or Film Fun for the same period, strictly bichrome.)

– most books are bought at WH Smiths, and Ladybirds are the only hardbacks they stock.

– educating yourself by reading books is something the British don’t do much. When we buy a book, it’s for a Christmas present, or a giggle. “Five on Brexit Island” is a good giggle.

Amazon is currently offering 6 used copies of HRH’s 25 page tome from £3, or 39 new copies from £2.

Hurry, hurry while stocks last. Bob Ward is counting on you.

15 thoughts on “His Highness Ladybird Corner

  1. most book buyers are old age pensioners nostalgic for the books they read sixty years ago…

    I think the trend for oldschool ladybird books was popular with a younger niche, with some slightly cynical satires having done the rounds a few years earlier, one notably involving some kind of legal battle. The publisher saw the opportunity created by the satires, and re-branded a range of ironic titles. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/12/ladybird-books-introduce-peter-and-jane-to-hipsters-and-hangovers

    It is odd, given the heavy irony of the rest of the range, that such an earnest and imploring book was commissioned. Either odd, that is, or laden with too many layers of irony to unpack to make sense of it.

    These historical and ironic pastiches speak to an audience that probably didn’t read them as children, but who themselves haven’t grown up much, and are characteristically ‘kidult’ in their tastes. A bit like those annoying “keep calm and carry on” memes that were popular a while back, and which seemed to celebrate an era in British history (and iconography) that few had any handle on… Mostly a bit of fun, but also something else going on under the surface. It’s half-mocking the era and its values, but half yearning for the morals, aesthetic, social order — and facial hair — of the past.

    Being amongst a range of cynical and satirical titles likely confused the would-be buyer, rather than pitched it perfectly as a ‘communications masterpiece’. If it is on that shelf, it sits next to the DVD of the No Pressure video. It’s as if the green prince and his minions have somehow authored a joke they are the butt of, and which they don’t get. It would be tragic, if they didn’t deserve it.

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  2. I gritted my teeth and bought a copy as soon as it was published, meaning to review it as an example of a book aimed at children, and other vulnerable groups such as Guardian readers. I have read through it and confirmed my expectations – it is a polished turd of a book, exquisitely wordsmithed no doubt through many drafts as the authors sought maximum impact and minimum blunders. But the blunders are there in the omissions and in the innuendos – as per usual with CO2 Alarm propaganda.

    It will serve as a little monument to that odious craft, an example maybe of the best they could do. I don’t look forward to going back through it for the Fisking it needs, and have merely added it to my little stack of books I think of as pending more attention. Maybe before the year is out.

    In the meantime, I think it may have a future as a collector’s item for those of us concerned about the sorry pass we are in thanks to uncritical devotion to the cause by the likes of the authors. It is of course not ‘climate change’ that deserves our concern so much as the various ‘climate actions’ called for by the alarmed ones, and those who seek to take advantage of their wails and lamentations. And how strange it is that so many of these actions seem deliberately designed to weaken our ability to respond to environmental threats and opportunities.

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  3. Most likely, the majority of buyers would have been the already converted and journalists. Add the usual royal sicophants and you’ve got a pointless audience right there. If the plan was to convert anyone, I doubt there will be a single person. A Ben points out the updated series was meant to be whimsical look at modern issues but this is just old fashioned infantalised preaching. I hope for Adam’s sake that he’s just sucking up to Charlie and doesn’t think that this sort of pamphlet, worthy of the Jehova’s Witnesses, makes a diference. It doesn’t even fall into the ‘can’t hurt’ bracket because it’s more likely to irritate and drive people away (much like the Watch Tower) than lure them in. Do I have to start looking out for pairs of be-suited adults and a small child spreading the word of Charles? Because I’ll be honest I love a bit of doorstep debate.

    “Chav III” love it, LOL.

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  4. There is an annex to the book available online at the Royal Meteorological Society’s site, intended to provide further information.

    Given that the book has a flood picture on the cover, I looked at the section on “Heatwaves, droughts, floods and storms”, which starts off talking about the cost of weather-related catastrophes. Surely these experts aren’t confusing weather and climate? There’s a mention of floods in Pakistan, but it acknowledges there’s no evidence of a climate link.

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  5. I meant to mention this detailed review in my earlier comment, but here it is now: https://manicbeancounter.com/2017/01/27/ladybird-book-on-climate-change/

    It ends with these words:

    There is no strong evidence would convict humanity of the collective sin of destroying the planet for future generations. Nor is there evidence that to show that a better future can be bequeathed to those future generations when the policies would destroy the economic future of the vast majority. The book neatly encapsulates how blinkered are the climate alarmists to both the real-world evidence and the wider moral policy perspectives.

    To which one can but say: ‘Yup’.

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  6. I can’t remember ever having read a Ladybird book when I was knee high to the cute little beetle’s insectivorous kin, the grasshopper, and I’m certainly not going to start now. But that won’t stop me slating Charlie at al’s ode to climate alarmism for those who would aspire to a mental age of 8-12 years whenever I can.

    Brendan O’Neill’s review is absolutely hilarious and this post is thoroughly entertaining Geoff.

    Ladybirds, in my erstwhile young and impressionable mind, shall forever be linked with alarmism, with dire warnings, and the fear of stuff burning. This latest Ladybird doesn’t buck that childhood psychological association.

    Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
    Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
    All except one,
    And her name is Ann,
    And she hid under the baking pan.

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  7. Tinyco2. Unfortunately Chav III is not to be. The well endowed (ear department) one has already announced he will be a George. Madness awaits us.

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  8. Is there a name that means ‘fake diffidence’, that being Charlie’s speciality? King Uriah wouldn’t do it. Uriah Heep’s fake humility involved grovelling and Charlie always fakes his humility with a straight back.

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  9. BEN
    The irony is unintentional. This is the first of a serious series. Relativity is the next on the list. But like the “…for Dummies” series, and OUP’s “Very Short Introductions, there’s something self-deprecating about it, which links to Vinny’s observation about Charles’s fake diffidence – “like, you know, I want to know about post-modernism or black holes, but I don’t want to get too serious about it.”
    Both Adam Corner and Bob Ward think the book is a good idea – for someone else (rather like the measures necessary to cut carbon emissions.)

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  10. Whilst HRH The Prince of Wales wrote the forward, I do believe that his considerable abilities were utilized to put forward credible solutions to the climate issue. For instance, whilst there is mention of muck spreading as a way of organically improving soil quality, there is no mention of the scientific research that proves that talking to one’s plants can play a significant role as well. There is also mention of reducing food waste, but what is one to do when one’s home-made wine turns out to be of a lesser quality than desired? Or when one finds that, despite careful laying down many years previously the claret or the port has gone orf? Or one’s dinner guests bring a bottle procured from a supermarket? Rather than pour it away one should have it converted to bioethanol.

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  11. Manicbeancounter.
    One does speculate whether the royal first in line is capable of conducting any enterprise without flunky assistance. Recall the stories going the rounds of his need for an assistant for the purpose of toothpaste container squeezing, or the holder of the royal appendage in the toilet department. If indeed Chaz was truly responsible for the book’s foreword, then Ladybird Books must have benefited from the loan of a ministerial decipherer to unravel the spider script.

    You raise the spectre of more Ladybird books under his royal imprimatur – wine manufacture, stories for cultivars, waiting………….

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  12. Alan,

    I believe that the forward is written by HRH. The whole tone of the forward is consistent with his previous pronouncements. Take the final paragraph, which states:-

    I hope this modest attempt to alert a global public to the “wolf at the door” will make some small contribution towards requisite action; action that must be urgently scaled up, and scaled up now.

    If there is truly a “wolf at the door” then as well as bolting that entrance, you would make sure that the windows were closed and the chimneys blocked. In other words, to cut global greenhouse gas emissions you need to be telling the people of other countries apart from Britain with just 1.5% of those emissions. At the next Commonwealth meeting (if Prince Charles represents the Queen again) he should be telling all the countries there to focus on Climate Change, rather than the lesser priorities of alleviating poverty through economic growth, reduction of wars, spreading basic healthcare etc.

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  13. He should write one about Scottish golf courses and invite/grab The President of The United States to write a forward. I could see that one shifting a lot of units. An instant collectors item.

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  14. The glib, facile and highly-polished mini-spectacle of intellectual decay that is this Ladybird book represents is not good for the spirits. Here is a more thoughtful essay I just came across (via Instapundit, March 20): https://spectator.org/confessions-of-a-climate-change-denier/ . It reminds us that such books, aiming as they do to underpin ruthless authoritarianism, are not a good thing:

    The last paragraph of Friedrich Hayek’s 1974 Nobel Prize address, The Pretense of Knowledge, puts the climate change mass movement and its true believers into frightening perspective:

    “There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success,” to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will.”

    It has always been worrisome to me that every so-called solution to global warming subverts rather than enhances human freedom and advances the power of the state to regulate energy, industrial activity, and individual behavior That seems to me, a denier, or whatever term you want to use, a potentially greater threat to the future of human welfare than even climate change. Václav Klaus, the former president of the Czech Republic, made this same point when he declared: “What is at risk is not the climate but freedom.”

    Source: https://spectator.org/confessions-of-a-climate-change-denier/

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