How much muddled thinking is it possible to include in a single newspaper article? Or, more to the point, in a single article in the Guardian/Observer.

People can’t sleep’: Rhondda valley flood leaves climate fear in its wakei

In February last year, Storm Dennis wreaked havoc in the Rhondda valley, causing flooding in hundreds of homes and businesses, leaving landslips, ruined roads, smashed bridges and broken hearts in its wake….

There was a time, before the storm, when it would have been easy to find climate emergency deniers in this area. They are fewer now. The people of the Rhondda have had first-hand experience of the crisis.

Two immediate observations. First, as is now the norm, note the trotting out of the D word – deniers. Secondly a flooding event is not, of itself “first-hand experience of the [climate] crisis.”

Next we get this:

In the nearby village of Pentre, where 159 homes flooded, Lian Roderick, who had to endure flooding followed by lockdown in a damp terrace house with two teenage children, said the authorities in charge of clearing drains and culverts were directly to blame.

Well, there you are then – failure by the authorities to clear drains and culverts: directly to blame, no less. But then what do they quote Lian as saying next?

But I do worry about climate change. We had the flooding and it’s been so hot this year. Now this week it’s been raining heavily again. It’s crazy.”

Flooding in winter because of blocked drains and culverts, a week or two of summer heat and now some more heavy rain. Climate chaos!

Well, what’s to be done? Not keeping drains and culverts clean apparently. Oh no. The people of the Rhondda Valley have a far better idea, at least according to the Guardian:

Activists are doing their bit – a repair cafe, river litter picks, seed swaps.

Well, I’m not against repair cafes, river litter picks or seed swaps. In fact I’m happy to commend them. But I very much doubt that they’ll see off climate change. Anything else?

Pontypridd town council has declared a climate emergency.

Hmm, I’m still not convinced that any climate change still lurking after the activities of the repair cafe, litter picks and seed swaps will be seen off by that declaration. But fear not, there’s more:

On a practical level, Davies said the council was thinking of investing in electric vehicles, improving allotments, looking at investing in solar tiles. She admits progress is slow. “But we are taking steps. The mindset has to be, is everything we are doing sustainable?

Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) council has produced a climate change strategy and aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.

On a practical level? They must have changed the definition of practical in my Oxford English Dictionary since last time I looked.

When the council asked what they could do to combat climate change, hundreds sent in suggestions including better bus routes, solutions to the problem of parking bikes, and setting up electric vehicle charging points on terraces, creating “final mile” delivery schemes using electric vehicles.

Lewis said there were massive challenges. “A decade of austerity has made it very difficult for us,” he said. But he said the council was committed to act. “We face challenging times ahead. Now is the time for us all to talk, and more importantly to act.”

Yes, acting now would be a good idea.

Whenever it rains heavily now I get countless messages from people saying, is it going to flood again. People can’t sleep at night, they are traumatised. Nobody feels reassured.”

Well they won’t, will they, if you don’t keep the drains and culverts clear.



  1. Having just poked fun at the comical climate change reporting in the Guardian/Observer, here’s evidence that they can still sometimes write a serious and sensible article:

    “Britain needs big ideas for big problems, but its leaders don’t appear to have any”

    It’s just a pity they had to get the Assistant Editor of the Spectator to write it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In that piece for The Guardian Isabel Hardman points to exactly the same article by Steve Baker in The Sun that I was about to highlight, in my first Cliscep article for a while. In May 2021. “The ‘Net Zero’ boiler ban will leave Britain’s poorest out in the cold” indeed. Telling.


  3. Not at all Mark. There were other articles, not least a more recent one from the Mirror, about Boris caving. But clicking that link from Hardman did cause me goosebumps. Baker is very bad news for Boris. Very bad.


  4. That’s all right, then. 🙂

    Steve Baker is one to watch, I think. Net zero could split the Tories. As you know, I’m no Tory, but we do need a major political party to at least ask difficult questions about net zero, and preferably to ditch it. Labour isn’t going to do that any time soon. And while I don’t count the Lib Dems or the Greens as major parties, neither are they. And although the SDP are sensible on the subject, sadly they don’t seem to have funds, backers, or any interest from the media, so they certainly aren’t even a middling party, never mind a major one. I guess that just leaves the Tories, and quite a few of their backbenchers (and I suspect a lot of the party faithful) are very unhappy at the direction of travel.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another typo in the Guardian URL. Showing how much they care by spelling Rhondda wrong.

    It has come to something when people genuinely seem to believe that inconsequential acts displaying the correct virtue are actually in some way going to make the weather gods more benign. (Although removing all the crap stuck in the culverts may well help – photovoltaic tiles certainly won’t.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “It has come to something when people genuinely seem to believe that inconsequential acts displaying the correct virtue are actually in some way going to make the weather gods more benign.”

    Virtue-signalling membership (of the culture of climate-catastrophism) has been the whole point since a minor scientific worry escaped into the public domain over 30 years ago. Whether a president or PM promising policy that defies reality and sense, or a prophet child demanding that we all panic, or ordinary citizens showing their virtue by indeed inconsequential acts, or endless media articles proselytising that the coming catastrophe will affect everything from prostitution to gender to the size of fish to war and crime and fashion and anti-bacterial resistance and skiing and everything else imaginable, even before we are all roasted, toasted fried and grilled, this has only ever been about signalling membership of the catastrophe club, being part of its virtuous circle. They key part of your sentence is ‘genuinely seem to believe’. Indeed so, they are (in the main and notwithstanding some bad apples and aligned agendas) not mendacious or suffering from mental deficiency or engaged in some monstrous global hoax, they are merely captured into a cultural belief that bypasses rationality. Such is not a flaw, but a feature of all humanity.


  7. Like

  8. More delusional thinking:

    “Climate crisis: what can I do from the UK to help save the planet?
    From joining local groups to pushing for change on a larger scale, there are ways for individuals in the UK to make an impact”

    “The World Wildlife Foundation recommends lobbying your office to switch to a renewable energy firm for heating and electricity….

    …Some companies have switched to only vegetarian options in the canteen or at events, and others have tried to reduce packaging as much as possible…

    …Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth also run local volunteer groups….”

    If one starts from the questionable assumption that there is a climate crisis, the brutally succinct answer is that there is nothing any individual can do about it, whether individually or collectively with others. On the other hand, individuals might be able to achieve quite a lot in terms of adaptation that will make a huge difference in coping with sever weather events. Keeping drains and culverts clear is a good start when it comes to flooding.


  9. Wandering round Cockermouth this morning, I noticed that the leaves are coming off the trees (after all, it’s autumn), and many of the culverts and drain grilles are completely blocked. If we get heavy rain, there could be flooding. Of course, if that happens, it won’t be because the Council couldn’t be bothered to have a plan to deal with autumn leaves, it’ll be climate change wot dun it.


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