Richard Drake on another thread links to this video exhortation to support Extinction Rebellion by Stephen Fry, Aug 25th 2020

Here’s a transcription:

Hello there. I’m Stephen Fry. It’s sickening how much money is being spent on think tanks and professional lobbyists to spread confusion lies and doubt on the subject of man-made climate change and its horribly real threat. These people and the huge corporations funding them are utilising exactly the same playbook that big tobacco used to sow doubt and confusion over the clear scientific evidence that had emerged about smoking and health. It worked for a while, and hundreds of thousands who could have been saved died early as a result. The truth will always out in the end though. Eventually even the vested interests trying to discredit Extinction Rebellion and its supporters, even they won’t be able to keep lying. But by then, so much terrible damage will have been done to our planet and to millions of its citizens. We can’t keep letting this deliberate climate denial stand. It’s an affront to truth, reason, and facts. We have to stand up, expose the lies, and make sure that this cynical, brutal, and terrifying dishonesty and greed – that they’re countered before it’s too late. So stand up with the writers, and with Extinction Rebellion, Wednesday 2nd of September. Thank you.

Playbook” … “sow doubt and confusion” … I hear the echoes of Naomi Oreskes or Naomi Klein or some other spambot Fury out of hell. This is not the prose of one of England’s finest minds.

I’ve been out of the country for forty years, so my knowledge of what’s going on culturally may be ropey, but I believe Stephen Fry is still someone who counts – a national treasure, like Richard Attenborough. For me, Stephen Fry is an actor renowned for his portrayal of the typical thick upper-class prat in Blackadder. He also comperes QI, which is the only programme I try and watch when I’m in England. If, in the early to mid 20th century, England’s finest were busy discovering penicillin and inventing radar, the jet engine and the Turing machine, by the time of my adolescence our brightest and best were conquering the world in the form of the Beatles, Monty Python and Mr Bean. Lately, the ablest minds of my country have turned to stand up comedy (which is naturally incomprehensible to foreigners) and like to appear on QI like the clowns in Shakespeare as a foil to Mr Fry’s genius. I watch QI when I can – spellbound – since I only understand a quarter of the jokes, conscious of being in the presence of the finest intelligences in England (and the colonies of course.)

So I assume Mr Fry is someone to be reckoned with intellectually, and I’ve penned him this letter:

Hello there. I’m the eight thousand and first person to have linked to your August 25th 2020 Youtube puff for Extinction Rebellion, and I’ve just transcribed it at our website, Climate Scepticism.

If you google “Climate Scepticism” you’ll be led straight to the Wikipaedia article on “Climate Change Denial,” a long article with 291 footnotes, (number six of which is a scientific paper by Dr Paul Matthews, one of our founder contributors, by the way.) So I suppose it was us you were referring to when you said in your Youtube: “We can’t keep letting this deliberate climate denial stand. It’s an affront to truth, reason, and facts. We have to stand up, expose the lies, and make sure that this cynical, brutal, and terrifying dishonesty and greed – that they’re countered before it’s too late.”

Given your determination to expose our lies etc., and the fact that you say “We can’t keep letting this deliberate climate denial stand,” I hope you will accept this invitation to debate the subject of climate change with us, in any format of your choice, live by Zoom or whatever, or via an exchange of emails, or any other method. This will be your opportunity to “expose our lies, and make sure that our cynical, brutal, and terrifying dishonesty and greed is countered before it’s too late.”

One of the oddest features of discussion of Climate Denial, whether it be by you, Extinction Rebellion, Boris Johnson, the Guardian, or the 97% of scientists who agree with you, is that the enemy, whose lies and “cynical, brutal, and terrifying dishonesty and greed” must be stood up to, is never identified by name. Well, it’s us. We are Spartacus. Look forward to seeing you in the arena.

I found this contact address:

Stephen cannot be contacted by email personally. Please address your postal mail in the following manner: Mr Stephen Fry, c/o Hamilton Hodell Limited, 20 Golden Square, London W1F 9JL

My wife recently posted my anti-cholesterol pills from France to England and they took a month to arrive, so I don’t expect a reply straight away. But I’ll keep you all posted.


  1. Geoff,

    I admire your gladiatorial spirit but I am afraid this is not an open letter to Stephen Fry. As far as I can see the letter will be going to Hamilton Hodell Limited, whose secretary, no doubt, has been well briefed on how to ensure that the tender Mr Fry is protected from overtures from the cynical and brutal. When he talks about standing up and exposing lies, I think he has a secretarial waste paper bin in mind. To him, we are spam.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone in Norfolk knows where Stephen Fry lives, but 99.99% of us are probably misinformed.

    Hello there. I’m Stephen Fry. It’s sickening how much money is being spent on think tanks and professional lobbyists to spread confusion lies and doubt on the subject of man-made climate change…

    I got that far thinking the entire thing was a spoof transcript. Considering how easy it is to list alarmist lobby groups which certainly don’t do anything objectively useful, it takes a bit of wilful ignorance to state that the denialists produce anything more than a tiny minority of the sum of disinformation on the subject of climate change.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yet another celebrity reveals their woeful lack of intellect by sounding off on a subject of which they have zero knowledge.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Point of information, Geoff:

    Stephen Fry is no longer the chairman of QI. That role was taken over by Sandi Toksvig in October 2016.

    Still, if his anecdotes are to be believed, he is well in with that German family who have THAT big house in Norfolk.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. JOHN
    Spam we may be, but in my experience denierphobes have their spam bins programmed to spot rotting nuggets they can use in their diatribes. There’s just a chance that Fry or his assistant’s under-secretary may come here looking for a Big Oil slick and light upon your Bayesian browsings, or Alan’s insights into UEA, or one of Brad’s more offensive flights of fancy, and retire puzzled.

    Yes I’ve seen la Toksvig at work, I think. Another fine mind addled by a spot of fine weather. The TV I watch when in England is tuned to a Golden Oldies channel. If you think I’m a bit behind the times, Fry’s little hissy fit is straight out of Oreskes 2005, which itself was simply Gelbspan circa 1995. These people learn nothing and forget nothing.

    I didn’t know Fry was in with that family, though now you mention it, his delivery had a certain earnest braun Windsor soupiness. His old Blackadder scripts must come in handy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. John. Misread the last word in your 8.58am as “spawn”. Works just as well.


  7. While having to confess a soft sport for Stephen Fry (although not the total fanboy I once could have been described as ), I don’t regard him as a scientific authority, although he is undoubtedly intelligent, clever, enormously talented and highly productive ( just reading his Wikipedia entry is exhausting ).

    I was trying to see whether he had any scientific education whatsoever, and it appears that he hasn’t. However, his father was a physicist and inventor, so you might expect something to have rubbed off. Interestingly, physics is the only O-Level he failed, which suggests an element of rebellion or rejection of his fathers values or way of thinking. He certainly seems to have been going through a rebellious phase at school, c.f. the (probably) well-known credit-card incident.

    And while he wasn’t quite privileged in the same way as your Camerons, Johnsons or Osbornes, one must regard him as having been somewhat privileged. He started off at Prep schools, He then went to a public school, Uppingham (I have no idea where that stands in the public school league tables ), but they booted him out in the 6th form. He then seems to have been solely educated at state schools or colleges.

    One wonders whether a boy from a sink council estate in an inner city with working class (or unemployed) parents would have been given quite so many chances to take A levels, and finally to gain entrance to Cambridge. Possible, but unlikely.

    Hugh Laurie, who is described as his best friend, has said that he “has a mind the size of Kent”. And I wonder if that is a clue to the man. On QI his “facts” would have been collected by a team of researchers, but to give him his credit, once he had them, he seemed to have mastered them and put them across in an interesting and entertaining way.

    So is he, I wonder, a person with a voracious thirst for information and a computer-like memory for storage and retrieval? Yes, probably. But does he have a scientific, analytical mind? Does he ask questions? Well, yes, clearly he does ask questions, but does he _really_ question? Does he question what the experts tell him? Or is he too inclined to respect the experts (or people who are promoted, or who promote themselves, as being experts?

    Then season all that with the condiments of being a stereotypical leftie, London-based, liberal elite, so it’s: Brexiters are idiots, Climate Sceptics are denialists, biological sex doesn’t exist, wear yer mask, stay indoors (“not me, of course…”), get yer vaccines, and, oh yes, become a vegetarian (probably vegan by now).

    Liked by 2 people

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