Ideology is coming ahead of analysis for Osborne and Cameron tags along with it
Posted on 2 December 2011 | 8:12am
I have not mentioned anywhere the attention-seeking, abusive and offensive remarks of a well-known TV presenter about strikers. He was on the TV at the time ‘to launch a new DVD’ so the abusiveness and offensiveness were deliberate and the means of attention-seeking. His publicist will on balance be happy, the DVD will sell well, and the world will move on.
A worse form of attention seeking comes from this week’s Spectator magazine which leads on an article by a scientist casting doubt on climate change. Though this may get less attention than Mr Top Gear, it is more serious.
I talked at the Leveson inquiry about the MMR scandal, and the determination of parts of the media to believe the sole high profile scientist casting doubt on the vaccine, because it made a better story if it could damage the Blair government, whatever the consequences, like the risk of measles.
But The Soectator’s provision of a platform to Dr Nils Axis Morner to peddle lots of nonsense stems from a belief that ideology can beat science. Look down through history, and see the right wing standing again and again in the path of reason and progress. Why it should be particularly right wing to resist the idea that the world is warming as a result of our habits I don’t know, but it is.
It leads too to a situation where environment secretary Chris Huhne has to deliver a ‘protest too much’ defence of his Chancellor George Osborne, who is perhaps the least green Chancellor we have ever had, and that includes climate change denier Nigel Lawson.
My partner bumped into a senior civil servant who works in a major government department earlier this week. He said one of the worst things about the Chancellor and other ministers is that they have next to no interest in hard analysis of the impact of policy. They want analysis that confirms their ideology, nothing else. So when Osborne says his policies are working, he believes it, because of the dozen papers alerting him to what is happening, he picks out the one that confirms his original view.
Mr Cameron promised this would be the greenest government ever. Nick Clegg promised to hold him to that. No further comment is needed on either of them.
But the triumph of ideology over science, reason and analysis adds to the danger this government and in particular its right wing pose to the country.