Climate, Covid, Brexit, Peace Prize

Some thoughts on the last week. Nothing controversial. Ahem.


Last weekend I rejoiced in XR losing hearts and minds so, for balance, here’s our favourite XR alumnus with friends:

Nuclear for Net Zero? Well, it’s a lot better than any other version. IMHO. Feel free to disagree.


A couple of previous paragraphs of mine, from two posts in December 2017, with the second modestly pointing to the first:

For mediocre self-defined experts, climate is a gateway drug. For society, climate is self-harm due to low self-esteem.

The good news, I aver, is that climate is a gateway drug for a lot of other bad stuff. (Good news for us as a blog, that is, though bad news for society.) But being a real expert on so many things is incredibly hard. That’s part of the bad news for us as a blog – and indeed for everyone.

There has been bad stuff in the Covid area – like the Lancet’s retracted paper on Hydroxychloroquine. And I do see my dictum about climate as a gateway drug applying to some of that. (I also agree with my former self on how hard it is to be a real expert in this new area.)

However, there are also far more honest brokers in the Covid case, the way I see it. How many climate scientists have you seen asking this question?

Publication bias in alarming studies in climate science and policy? What a thought! Seen any quotes from Betts and his ilk like that?

On our covid policy and quality-of-life stance, this little interaction yesterday for me had everything:

I also cited Burke earlier in the week, having been irritated by the four options given, by someone I otherwise consider a good broadcaster, in a poll on pretty much the same controversy:

I would need to do another post on everything I mean by Burkean Scepticism. But, as a sceptic generally, I’ve also had the pleasure of watching this from Ivor Cummins this week:

In brief, it looks like Sweden got it right. Cummins (no relation) explains that point of view very calmly, based on the latest data, and deals with most of the counterarguments one has heard raised.

I still wear a mask in the supermarket though. I put that down to Burke and his non-revolutionary wisdom. Feel free to disagree. Or even to ask what on earth I mean.


If the UK has already turned into a fascist dictatorship then I think it’s fair to assume that there is no hope for us regarding Brexit. I don’t hold to either part. I simply read with interest:

I don’t hold to what Major, Blair or Adler – of the BBC but reflecting the views of the EU – are saying. I hope the other two are right. That has big implications for the future freedom of the UK to take a different path on climate policy, as we’ve discussed in the past. But it’s also why some caution is I think wise before writing off this government as committed fascists, because of their faulty Covid policy.

Is it not possible that Cummings and co decided they couldn’t fight ‘conventional wisdom’ on both fronts at the same time, with the EU negotiation going to the wire during the winter months that are a genuine concern for various well-meaning people on Covid? I think that it is possible.

Peace Prize

And that was before Bahrain.

Complex area, of course. But ask yourself, are the climate alarmists of the world rejoicing at this prospect and the imminent reelection of Donald Trump, whether for that or other reasons?

As with last week, reactions on anything welcome.

28 thoughts on “Climate, Covid, Brexit, Peace Prize

  1. I think Michael Mann has a better chance of winning an actual Nobel science prize than Trump has of actually being awarded the Nobel Peace prize. Greta Thunberg certainly has a better chance of getting the Nobel Peace prize than Trump, … or a Nobel science prize for that matter. They’ll probably add some type of Nobel Climate prize with Naomi Oreskes, Katherine Hayhoe and Sarah Myhre getting nominations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep, it was the brave Norwegian MP nominating Trump for the prize that was enough for me. Because people will compare with Obama in 2009, to say nothing of Al Gore and the IPCC in 2007, and realise Tybring-Gjedde has a point.

    Not that all climate sceptics see Middle East politics the same way of course. I’d be with Steve McIntyre in much preferring Trump went back to his stance of not advocating for, or helping ISIS/Al-Qaeda ‘rebels’ towards the overthrow of Assad in Syria. That would also mean lessening the tension with Putin and Russia on that issue. That’s the ultimate peace no-no so I’m in favour.

    But my other focus here is that Trump 2021-24 would be far more sceptical of the ‘climate crisis’ narrative than any Democrat regime, whether with Biden as lasting figurehead or acting as the Kerensky for some other Lenin. Orange Man Bad is not out of it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In terms of peace prize, tend to think that the Arab leaders getting it. If Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
    joins in, then he get it, or share it with the other Arab leaders.


  4. Speaker of the House of Commons:

    “If one lesson from the pandemic is that taking serious action in a timely manner is key – then shouldn’t this also be true in terms of climate change? With Covid, what surprised many of us in the UK was how engaged most of the population became once the seriousness of the situation was made clear.

    “People were prepared to accept limitations on personal choice and lifestyle – for the good of their own family and friends. No-one could ever imagine that we would be wearing masks so readily and that we would all be so compliant. Perhaps we ought not to underestimate the ability of people and communities to work together for the common good, if there is united and clear leadership.”


    Wasn’t this Speaker supposed to be a refreshing and welcome change from the Poisonous Dwarf? OK, he’s taller, I’ll grant you that.


  5. “Perhaps we ought not to underestimate the ability of people and communities to work together for the common good, if there is united and clear leadership.” Say the leading lemmings as they approach a cliff.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jaime,

    “No-one could ever imagine that we would be wearing masks so readily and that we would all be so compliant.”

    A councillor stood outside the Sainsbury’s in Middlesbrough the other day to gauge the level of local compliance. He reported that out of the first 90 people to emerge, only 15 were wearing a mask.

    I’m guessing that the Speaker shops at Waitrose and doesn’t live in the bowels of Teesside.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jaime: I’d completely missed that story in the Express, highlighted by Paul Homewood, so thank you. Nancy Pelosi convened this Zoom meetup of the world’s top Speakers and in that heady context Hoyle embarrassed himself and the Parliament and thus people he represents. Pelosi has also got publicly involved in our fight to escape Brussels in the last week, in the opposite direction Trump would take it. She’s probably not pushing for the guy to win the Nobel either. All worth noting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Another thing that might have been mentioned is the output from the climate assembly. I actually thought one of the cliscep crew would pen something on this, as I know it has exercised folk in the past.

    I mentioned this in passing in another thread, but Harrabin’s summary seemed to show that the 550 page blueprint for Net Zero advocated things that won’t help (more wind turbines) and rejected things that certainly would (nuclear). It also called for a voluntary reduction in meat eating and a ban on SUVs. To repeat myself, a table of 6th formers in Wetherspoons could have come up with as much, and it would only have cost £20 for the round. (It is curious how students forget how hostile they are to Wetherspoons when it comes to finding the cheapest pint on the block).

    Regarding the peace prize, well if memory serves Obama got his before he had actually done anything, so on that basis The Donald would seem to deserve it more.

    Finally, why, if Zion Lights has joined the rational anti-alarm crew, is she still driving for Net Zero? Has she cleared this with her boss?


  9. John. May I comment upon the esteemed clientele at my local Waitrose? The beefiest of employers sits at the entrance and doesn’t admit even the most demure of intended shoppers unless they they sport a suitable face mask. They also threaten with hand-wash. I do wonder if my bog-standard blue mask is really acceptable to the good people who frequent Waitrose, but to-date I have been admitted (but sometimes with a scowl). So all shoppers who can walk wear masks. The last time I shopped there they were in the process of physically separating people entering from those exiting. So we of the North Folk are fully up to speed.


  10. Jit:

    Another thing that might have been mentioned is the output from the climate assembly. I actually thought one of the cliscep crew would pen something on this, as I know it has exercised folk in the past.

    There you have hit on a weakness of the author. Others like Geoff and Barry have put in hours to the climate assembly story, at least in its early days. I see them as an anti-democratic abomination but not as big a risk as other areas. I could of course be wrong. Plus I don’t have time.

    What Speaker Hoyle said in the last week is of immediate interest to me, though, as is its context. (YMMV on every single part of this.) I still think Hoyle is a vast improvement on Bercow but I see Pelosi as a global menace whose power will increase greatly if Trump is voted out in November, by fair means or foul. These little-known international meetings that so often seek to subvert democracy and put key people under insane peer pressure to commit themselves to the very stupid are also very much not my bag.

    Finally, why, if Zion Lights has joined the rational anti-alarm crew, is she still driving for Net Zero? Has she cleared this with her boss?

    I was hoping someone would ask that. Accepting Net Zero as a goal, even with Nuclear as the proposed solution, is a really risky tactic for us. It’s what leads to neophytes like Hoyle coming up with far more stupid solutions off the cuff and being praised by their vaunted peers for their farsightedness.

    On Trump generally, I found this interaction between two members of the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ (one of whom coined the term) instructive:

    But though I agree with Rubin there, a bit like Hoyle I still have time for Eric Weinstein, not least because of the rather deep interview he did with Roger Penrose in March just before social distancing hit:

    That might be considered off-topic but does it not concern science and uncertainty? At the least doesn’t it show two people disagreeing with good humour through a shared desire to discern the truth?


  11. John, I wish I lived in Middlesborough. Shopping trips here have become an intensely depressing and lonely experience. Here in South Lincolnshire face nappy compliance is almost 100% in Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Lidl. Amazing. You’re 10 times more likely to die from ‘flu or pneumonia, there’s no good scientific evidence that mass wearing of face coverings prevents transmission of this virus, as recently publicly stated by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries, the social, psychological and probably even physical harms far outweigh any hypothetical benefit at this stage, but because the government said you MUST wear a face covering, they did. Will they get on the cattle trucks if the government tells them that it’s for the ‘common good’?


  12. On a lighter note, I love this from Trump. Cool as a cucumber dealing with a climate hysteric re. the California wildfires. Note how he smirks and looks over at somebody out of sight at the mention of the Death Valley temperature record. He’s much brighter than they give him credit for.


  13. Will they get on the cattle trucks if the government tells them that it’s for the ‘common good’?

    Ah yes, the blame-the-Jews theory of the Holocaust. The men with submachine guns standing around had nothing to do with it, the Jews were weak and deserved to die. Or what is the analogy here?


  14. The Jews had already been stripped of all their civil rights and their humanity under the Nazi regime. In this context, they were told they were being ‘resettled’. Sure, armed men marched them onto the trucks, but many went willingly, convinced that ‘deportation’ would be better than living as a sub human under the Nazi regime. They were very wrong of course. They greatly underestimated the scale of the evil which they faced.

    The analogy is not perfect, but it is apt. There is certainly no hint of me blaming the Jews for the Holocaust which was inflicted upon them. The insinuation that I think they were ‘weak and deserved to die’ is quite frankly outrageous. We consistently underestimate the willingness of our governments to inflict harm upon us. In 2020 we have the benefit of hindsight. Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung – all of them socialists of one form or another. We are (were) a free people living in an enlightened modern democracy (reputedly), gifted with autonomy and independence and the opportunity to seriously question that which our governments tell us is ‘for our own good’. But it seems the vast majority just cannot be bothered. The WHO is telling us (via our governments) that we need to wear masks, get vaccinated, and that we must accept the long term ‘new normal’. The WHO is a socialist organisation, headed by a Marxist with a decidedly shady past, but we should not let that bother us – they’re the ‘experts’.

    But I see where this thread is going – once again. I’m out of here. Make up your own minds what’s really going on with this sinister removal of our civil liberties, destruction of our economy and decimation of our way of life in order to get to ‘Covid zero’/Ground Zero/Net Zero/Year Zero.


  15. The analogy is not perfect, but it is apt.

    I beg to differ. The analogy was and is grossly inappropriate. But I get the “poor me” message at the end. That’s a common thread. You poor, poor thing, having such extreme and injudicious aspects of your messages about Covid-19 in any way challenged.

    Aside from the ahistorical and tone-deaf use of ‘getting on the cattle trucks’ it’s the contempt for your fellow-citizens that I feel is completely counterproductive. That ‘brainless majority’ that, among other things, voted for Brexit

    but strangely now is giving way to fascism

    because they’re cowed, compliant, low-information pillocks

    Yeah, that’s what fighting for our freedom in 2020 looks like! No cost at all to the fighters, except to the credibility of their cause. Our cause, in fact, because I agree about the extremes to be avoided.

    But I don’t think wearing masks is a big deal either way. So I can without reservation praise this GP:

    Well worth a read of that full thread, if one is open-minded.

    But I see where this thread is going…

    I don’t think you do. Did you foresee me pointing you to the strange dichotomy between your views on the majority on 23rd June 2016 and your views on the majority today? And how that plays into the fraught negotiations between our government and the EU right now? I’d love to get your feedback on that.


  16. You keep wearing your muzzle/face nappy like a good little boy Richard. Your contempt for me personally is plain to see now, your attacks upon my character ever more bizarre and ill-judged, driven by I know not what, though I have my suspicions. Now you’ve outed my anonymous account on Twitter, no doubt in the hope that I will be reported and banned. You’re welcome to your little empire here at Cliscep. Please remove me immediately from the list of contributors and enjoy your winter under curfew and lockdown imposed by this fascist government.


  17. Well, this is sad.

    I wear a face covering in shops, reluctantly (I hate the blasted things), because it’s the law. I don’t wear them outdoors, because I think to do so is pointless, and because it isn’t the law.

    I think the Government, aided and abetted by some extremist scientists (not all scientists share their alarmist views by any means) is going down the wrong road now. I take comfort from the fact that cases of Covid-19 are apparently increasing while, deaths, ICU cases and hospitalisations generally are not. I think we need to get back to life as normal, while sheltering and looking after those who are most at risk, so as to start treating people with other diseases, who might now die because of continuing lock-down, and because we need to restore our shattered economy.

    As for compliance with the law, I think we should campaign against the law if we disapprove of it, but I think we should obey it, even if we disagree with it. We (rightly, IMO) criticise XR for breaking the law because they think their views put them above the law; I think we would be hypocritical if criticising others for complying with a law with which we disagree.

    Jaime, please don’t go. You have a lot to offer. But please, please do calm down and think through the implications of what you’re saying, and pause before you hit “send” (something I don’t always manage to do, admittedly).


  18. First paragraph:

    Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century.

    My emphasis.


  19. Mark, I respectfully disagree with your stance on the ‘law’. A ‘law’ which is imposed undemocratically, by government diktat, with no consultation and no debate in Parliament is not a constitutionally valid law in my opinion. You should watch Lord Sumption’s podcast with Allison Pearson of the Telegraph for the technical details in this respect. If anyone knows the law it should be him. His advice when asked whether people should break the law: he suggested people should do what they consider is best for their own health.

    But let’s not get bogged down too much in the technical details, let’s examine what I think is the moral issue here. If a law, brought in under so called ’emergency powers’, has demonstrably no basis in evidence or scientific fact and is almost certainly having widespread, profound and damaging social, psychological and physical consequences, then I believe it becomes our civic duty to not comply with that law. Mass compliance has only led us further into the mire and here we are today, toddlers being muzzled up by their parents in supermarkets, schools hysterically imposing masks upon pupils for up to 8 hours a day in class, supposedly to ‘protect’ their staff, government ministers publicly calling a respected journalist a “selfish c**t” because he respectfully declines to comply with a government diktat. Where does it end? Not somewhere I want to be.

    Cliscep is not somewhere I now want to be sadly, not because of people like you, with whom I can calmly disagree with and not end up being traduced, insulted and character assassinated by founding members. In that context, I take my leave.


  20. Jaime, we do have to agree to differ.

    I agree that there is a repugnance to using emergency powers legislation to bring in new and very constraining laws without any supervision by Parliament, but I don’t think you can call that undemocratic. Under our (admittedly very far from perfect) democratic system, we have elected a Government which is acting under the powers it obtained by virtue of the its election success, and is doing so under pre-existing laws, passed by a democratically-elected earlier Parliament (at least the House of Commons was democratically elected – this is not the place to go in to the absurdity of the unelected House of Lords).

    Also, I don’t like being forced to wear a mask in shops, and I think it is absurd that during a fleeting visit to a shop I have to wear a mask, but I can sit in a pub or restaurant for a couple of hours and not have to wear a mask. However, I draw the line at saying that a law mandating mask-wearing has “demonstrably no basis in evidence or scientific fact and is almost certainly having widespread, profound and damaging social, psychological and physical consequences”. I think that’s a matter of opinion rather than objective fact. As it happens, I incline marginally towards your opinion, but I think it remains opinion and isn’t fact.

    The fact that some jobsworths are over-interpreting the law doesn’t help – forcing children to wear masks in school, for instance, is I think stupid and unhelpful, but that isn’t the Government’s fault, since that isn’t the law (though I do wish Government spokespersons would speak out against that sort of thing).

    Anyway, it seems your mind is made up, which is a shame indeed. Will we be able to follow your contributions (which I usually value) at your own website? I hope so.


  21. Hi Mark,

    “The fact that some jobsworths are over-interpreting the law doesn’t help – forcing children to wear masks in school, for instance, is I think stupid and unhelpful, but that isn’t the Government’s fault, since that isn’t the law”.

    It most definitely is the government’s fault. They mandated the wearing of masks in communal areas in schools within lockdown areas, but gave schools the discretion to implement their own mask wearing rules. Boris said he thought it was not appropriate that children wear masks in class, but he knew full well that, given the opportunity, many schools would impose that. He gave them the opportunity. If he’d had a spine and faced up to the teacher’s unions, he would have banned masks outright in schools. He didn’t and he consequently threw kids under the bus. Political expediency is obviously a lot more important to him than the welfare of children.

    I shall be writing articles once again at my own blog: https://climatecontrarian.wordpress.com/ which I gave up on when I started writing here. It’s been good working as part of a loose-knit team with similar ideals, but the time has come for me to move on.


  22. Although it was not my intention to go into the history of the Holocaust in this thread I think it’s worth highlighting the one Axis country where there was a popular rebellion against the government as it sought to follow the Nazi edict to deport its Jews by train to extermination camps:

    The situation changed dramatically in February 1943. Bulgaria agreed to Germany’s request to hand over 20,000 Jews from its territories. In March, Bulgarian authorities arrested more than 11,000 Jews living in the newly annexed territories, and German army units deported them to the Treblinka killing center in Poland. Because the Bulgarian government had not met the quota of 20,000, it decided to deport Jews of Bulgarian citizenship, namely the 8,000 living in the town of Kyustendil near the Macedonian border. Word of the plan spread and angered many of the non-Jewish residents. A delegation of Bulgarians boarded a train for Sofia, the capital, to protest the deportation. They were hoping to enlist the support of Dimitar Peshev, the deputy speaker of the Bulgarian parliament.

    Although he had supported Bulgaria’s anti-Jewish laws, Dimitar had done so because he knew it would strengthen his country’s alliance with Germany. He never supported the deportation of Bulgaria’s Jews. He, too, wanted to stop it. On March 9, 1943, he brought the Kyustendil delegation, along with several parliament members, to meet with the Minister of the Interior, Petur Gabrovski. Gabrovski denied knowing about the plan, but they knew he was lying and demanded that he cancel the deportation. After a lengthy argument, Gabrovski agreed to do so. Dimitar knew, however, that the Jews were not out of danger.

    On March 17, 1943, Dimitar wrote a letter to Prime Minister Bogdan Filov in which he opposed any future deportations of Bulgarian Jews. He convinced 42 of his colleagues in parliament to sign the petition and presented it to the prime minister. Filov was furious that Dimitar organized such a public protest. The parliament voted to remove Dimitar from his position as deputy speaker. Soon thereafter, Alexander Belev, the Bulgarian official in charge of the government’s Jewish policy, launched a plan to deport all of the nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews to Poland.

    Although Dimitar felt defeated, his actions caused others to intensify their protests. Leaders of the Bulgarian church sent letters to the prime minister and to King Boris III. Prominent writers and intellectuals spoke out, as did groups of lawyers, physicians, and communists. This collective pressure led King Boris III to alter his policy. Despite competing pressure from the Germans, he prevented the deportations by having many Bulgarian Jews assigned to forced labor units in Bulgaria. As a result, no Jews of Bulgarian citizenship were sent to their deaths in Poland.

    That summary is from The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous

    “As a result, no Jews of Bulgarian citizenship were sent to their deaths in Poland.”

    Who knows, there may be some fruitful analogies in our troubled future to be drawn from this remarkable case. I hope so. Note that the fighting was on behalf of others unable to defend themselves.


  23. Jaime. I look foreword to reading your new material at your old site. I imagine all that appreciate your contributions here will do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Richard, with respect, I don’t read Cliscep to be reappraised of the horrors of the Holocaust. I also don’t see much relevancy of comparison between such disparate occurrences as Covid, the supposed Climate Scare, and events the occurred in the Second World War and its preliminaries. But then it’s your thread and I don’t have to read it. I look forward to reading what, in my opinion, will be more relevant analysis.


  25. Alan, Mark, thanks. I don’t expect a tenth of the reader numbers I get here, but that’s life. I wish this dreadful Covid apocalypse obession would just go off the boil because I’d love to get back to writing about the climate apocalypse obsession – it’s much more fun. Beginning to wish they hadn’t cancelled COP 26 now.


  26. Alan, also with respect, I think that history is important to guide us and that it can be misused. For example, back in 2007, the CEO of the US National Mining Association wrote this to James Hansen:

    The suggestion that coal utilization for electricity generation can be equated with the systematic extermination of European Jewry is both repellent and preposterous

    I agreed. Hansen’s comment about trains delivering coal to power stations being equivalent to death trains going to extermination camps was way out of order. And I think Jaime’s comment earlier on this thread, used against her enemies, her own fellow-citizens, those who have decided to comply with the government on wearing face-masks, was just as bad as Hansen’s. So I called it out. If Jaime had admitted that she had mispoken (which as Mark has implied we all do at times) then there would have been no further mention of it or the horrors it referred to. Indeed I would have suggested we removed that sentence from her comment. And that would have been that.

    Left as it is, though, I think ‘repellent and preposterous’ is right for what was said here too. Obviously this means that I don’t have the same respect for Jaime right now as I once did. But, like Churchill, whom she also admires, I strongly believe in magnanimity. Thus I could point positively to James Hansen and his advocacy of nucear power in a piece I wrote last year for Cliscep. And so on.

    There is one other characteristic of Churchill’s that I think is worth considering at present: his utter calmness in a crisis. Here is Jane Williams, someone who knew him personally, writing about this aspect of his character – and then his magnanimity – in the context of Andrew Roberts’ brilliant recent biography.

    I don’t think such lessons from history can ever become irrelevant.


  27. Bad science. Bad data. Bad politicians.

    We’ve reached the turning point. This insane government is either forced into retreat or we face a very grim future indeed.

    Oh, and they’ve now come clean about the real purpose of smart meters: energy rationing in the new age of intermittent, unreliable renewables.


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