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Monbiot Grandstands At Environmental Committee, But Expert Witness Is Banned

February 7, 2016

By Paul Homewood  


Booker reports on some shameful goings on at the Environmental Audit Committee this week:  



The Great Moonbat comes up with two impossible theories in a day

Last Wednesday was quite a day for that grand “environmental” campaigner George Monbiot. He began by regaling Guardian readers yet again with that IMF paper which last year startled the world by revealing that fossil fuels receive far larger subsidies than “renewables”.

The paper argued that we should take account of the true cost of all the damage fossil fuels are doing to us all, by causing global warming, air pollution, traffic congestion and deaths from traffic accidents. That the producers of coal, oil and gas can get away with not being charged for all this damage amounts to a “subsidy” worth $5.3 trillion a year, more than the entire global cost of health care. And if we were sensible enough to tax them for it, this would make the subsidies paid to windmills and solar panels look like peanuts.

One can see why this theory would appeal to someone like Monbiot. But to call it a “subsidy” may remind the rest of us of Humpty Dumpty’s dictum that, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.”

Later that day the great environmentalist was deferentially invited by the Commons Environmental Audit committee, to explain his theory that the way to stop floods is not to dredge rivers but to plant trees, to slow the flow of excessive rainfall from higher up in the catchment area that causes them.

On the 2014 floods in my county of Somerset, Monbiot then went out of his way to rubbish by name those, including me, who revealed how those floods had been made much worse by the deliberate flooding of a key area of land to provide water for wildlife (because the Met Office had predicted a dry winter). To support his point he triumphantly cited a report by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

In fact that report didn’t properly address this issue at all. It made no mention of how the flow of the Somerset Levels’ main “flood relief scheme”, the Sowy, was deliberately reversed, to flood Natural England’s Southlake Moor, thus blocking the drainage of a much larger area of the Somerset Moors to the east.

But nor did the Great Moonbat tell the MPs that the same report had trenchantly rejected his theory about tree-planting on the hills, by finding that this does nothing to halt the downward flow of excessive rainfall (and if he had looked at the relevant hills in Somerset, he would have seen that they are covered in trees anyway).

What made all this even odder was that an expert witness, who had been invited to follow him to point all this out, was then told that he could not appear before the committee after all, because of “allegations” (unspecified) that he had written something “offensive” online.

So the MPs were only allowed to hear one side of the story. It will be interesting to see how this is reflected in their report.


It turns out that the expert witness, who Booker was not allowed to name and who was banned by the committee, was Dr Richard North, who reports on his blog:


000a EAC-003.jpg

Having been asked several times by the Environmental Audit Committee in the House of Commons to give oral evidence to them on flooding, I travelled to London yesterday, at my own expense, prepared for the session.

Because of the Prime Minister’s statement on the EU, the session was late starting but, before the first witness was heard, I was called out by a clerk. In a nearby corridor, he told me there had been "allegations" against me, relating to my online activities, as a result of which, the committee had decided that my evidence would not be called.
That my evidence would have completely contradicted the evidence of the first witness, George Monbiot, is neither here nor there – one assumes. 

Who actually chaired the committee on this session I do not know, mainly because I don’t care enough to find out. Such is the incompetence of the the committee that, until late this morning, it was recording on its website the chairman as Labour’s Huw Irranca-Davies, even though he stood down on 25 January. Suffice to note that this is obviously the way our masters do business now, and how they treat us lowly serfs.

I would mind so much had I not been specifically called by the committee to give evidence. I had not asked to give it, and had not contacted the committee in any way, until they had invited me. And, in anticipation of giving evidence, I had to spend most of the weekend preparing a written report for the MPs, to their deadline of Monday.
But, to add insult to injury, the clerk who yesterday conveyed the news that the Irranca-Davies surrogate didn’t have the guts or courtesy to tell me to my face, told me that, "if I wished", I could submit written evidence to the committee. I have to say that my response was what one might describe as "robust".
I need, however, to place on record this cowardly behaviour by a
committee of MPs who obviously lack both manners and the courage to address me personally, and skulk behind their staff, getting them to do their dirty work. It is a measure of these loathsome creatures, however, that they don’t even have the self-awareness to be ashamed of their own behaviour.

  1. February 7, 2016 1:54 pm

    It would seem we are dealing with fearful 2-year-olds. When you tell one they don’t have to eat something on their plate, that is not enough…..they want the offending item removed from the plate.

  2. Coeur de Lion permalink
    February 7, 2016 2:07 pm

    Utterly disgraceful. Any way of getting this out of the blogosphere into the msm (print)?

  3. Peter Langdon permalink
    February 7, 2016 2:16 pm

    But the Great Moonbat has a point! If in helping to save the planet we take fuel away from transport it will remove the cost (or is it subsidy?) of traffic accidents.

  4. February 7, 2016 3:45 pm

    Subsidy is keeping Monbiot in his Guardian job.

    The suspicion has to be that the Environmental Audit Committee are just another bunch of hand-wringing one-eyed climate doomsters – but maybe not eh?

  5. February 7, 2016 4:05 pm

    Thanks, Paul.
    Chritopher Booker behaved with dignity. I support him.

  6. February 7, 2016 4:25 pm

    Monbiot has retweeted the 2010 article
    about North \\But among many possibilities is his describing people of colour as “jungle bunnies”//

    To imply that North DOES generally describe people of colour as “jungle bunnies” rather than once used it to describe ‘corrupt African dictators’ 6 years ago is quite deceptive
    ,, Monbiot’s article ended by saying none of North’s commenters called him out (before he changed it)
    .. The irony is now that none of Monbiots Twitter lot are mentioning the 6 year old context.
    I checked and still no recent accusation has arisen , just the the use of an offensive term in his blog 6 years ago.
    Best info is still North’s Blob. Ah I see Tomo commenting as moonrakin saying for Monbiot ambush is a known MO (certainly fits but that would be playing very unfair)

    • February 7, 2016 5:34 pm

      Booker tells me that this was a stitch up from the start, with Monbiot collaborating with, he thinks, Mary Creagh to exclude North.

      • February 8, 2016 4:56 am

        #1 North wasn’t completely excluded, I believe he was invited to submit written evidence.

        #2 Monbiot later tweeted that North misled by saying only a staffer had informed him of the exclusion tweeting

        @GeorgeMonbiot Feb 4
        4/4: @RichardAENorth also claims it was a clerk who told him his services were not required. But I saw him being called aside by an MP.”

        Maybe North had been informed by a clerk and then later got “called aside by an MP” ?

      • February 8, 2016 5:02 am

        Monbiot’s lot are breaking some 3 important principles
        #1 Two Wrongs don’t make a right.
        …North used a term 6 years ago, that most of us never use. And only clarified by saying paraphrase : ‘the issue of being right in politics is more important than being politically correct.’ He would have helped himself if he said something like “I support very much the principles of racial equality, but I have on occasion become hot-tempered in frustration over important issues, I replaced the phrase within hours and apologise for any offence”
        – The second wrong of how he was treated by Monbiot and the committee doesn’t compensate for his wrong.

        #2 Punishments mustn’t be arbitrarily imposed and punishments must fit the crime. A six year exclusion for wrting a word on a blog. OMG if someone had robbed someone in 2006, he would have probably served his time, and had his criminal record wiped clean by now.

        #3 Mostly importantly parliament has the duty to get the best info. A witness was there and could have been questioned in person. Written evidence is not as good as that Therefore the committee deprived themselves of the best info. Therefore they deprived the public.

      • February 8, 2016 8:15 am

        I just found a NAIVE explanation (not apology) was posted right back at the time on Monbiot’s Guardian story, by Richard North’s son. The Guardian mods as per style DELETED it.
        (ironically todays Monbiot twitter army comment North’s blocking them on Twitter is the “mar of a bully”)
        Basically it said
        #1 We shouldn’t have to self censor
        #2 No racism at all was intended the term was meant as “savages who show zero respect for the sanctity of life”
        #3 My Dad;s a top non-racist bloke

        I say naive cos of course you have to self censor, Monbiot’s baying mob will use any easy ammunition you give them. You can’t go around redefining words to an older definition they won’t let you get away with that.

        BTW The comment was deleted after Monbiot himself posted that comments should not be deleted
        Sorry, to go on

  7. Christopher Booker permalink
    February 7, 2016 6:06 pm

    Paul, since you have passed on that piece of information, I should perhaps add that the member of the committee who was particularly anxious for Dr North to submit expert evidence and to appear before it was Peter Lilley MP, He did so because North had produced a superbly researced paper on the Somerset floods in 2014, not least to brief our then Defra Secretary Owen Paterson on all the complex legal and political background. Lilley thought that this should be read by the committee because it was by far trhe fullest and most informative guide to the policies which brought about that Somerset flooding disaster, and also included an annex cogently showing why Monbiot’s ‘planting trees not dredging is the answer to flood management’ theory is based on a complete misreading of the scientific evidence. North’s submission to the EAC last week, updating his 2014 paper, was a measured, detailed and scrupulously referenced technical document which would have told the MPs a great deal that was highly relevant to their remit and would have been extremely salutary for them to read. As it was, it seems they only wanted to hear one side of the story (supported by no proper evidence at all) – which was why I said in my article that it will be interesting to see what they come up with when they produce their report. Yet another dismal day for our legilsators I fear.

    • February 7, 2016 7:22 pm

      A further fact is that when you have 4″ or more rain within a 24-hour period, it does no matter what the landscape is–fully forested, clear-cut, strip-mined, meadows, etc.–the water just goes–taking everything with it.

      I saw a video recently in this blog of some group of green women planting “trees” along a marshy creek, which I think was called a river, through a flat, marshy meadow. I said, “seriously?” There had been no attempt to create topography and thus create a stream bank upon which to plant the said trees. I don’t know what species of “tree” would take hold there and create topography. If they were “shrubs” then they weren’t “trees.” Furthermore, if there is a significant rain event, as I described above, which seems to be the case with the floods you have been reporting, those “trees” will just be washed down to clog up drainage and dam further flood waters. Mangroves might be a good start, except for 2 small problems: global warming has not reached tropical temperatures yet and the rising ocean has not flooded the area with salt water.

      In the mountainous areas of West Virginia, we often get the aftermath of hurricanes or just Appalachian storms with that much rain within a few hours. It leads to flash floods and boulders washed down from the steep hillsides.

    • Bloke down the pub permalink
      February 8, 2016 12:07 pm

      I see that the Moonbat will be on BBC Countryfile next week, presumably pushing his plant a tree agenda.

  8. J Martin permalink
    February 7, 2016 6:22 pm

    All bar 6? MPs demonstrated their gullibility, stupidity and lack of professionalism when they voted for the ridiculous climate change act. So we can expect them and Monbiot to use every trick in the book to preserve the ediface. But once the El Nino is gone and La Nina takes over and we get nearer the next solar minimum the global warming fools will evaporate away.

    When the Guardian goes bust I will open a bottle of cheap champagne. Monbio will have to reinvent himself. No doubt he’ll go to the New Scientist, or the Economist or some such religious co2 mouthpiece.

  9. February 7, 2016 7:53 pm

    Britain is increasingly becoming divided between the MSM and their lackey MPs and the rest of us … well I say increasingly divided … but in truth we’ve always been divided but until the internet the vast majority of us thought we were just a few isolated individuals.

    Now, because of the internet, the vast majority of us know we are not alone and these sharks who formally told us we were the minority are clearly the very extreme minority.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      February 7, 2016 10:12 pm

      We no longer say “Am I the only one” but now “I didn’t know there were so many of us before”

  10. Derek Colman permalink
    February 8, 2016 12:44 am

    The argument that externalities should be counted as subsidies is fataly flawed. The purveyors of this BS conveniently omit half of the equation. They put a price to the disadvantages of burning fossil fuels like ill health caused by pollution, and others, some of which are purely imaginary, but they don’t balance that against the value of the advantages. For instance the cheap energy from fossil fuels has allowed us to extend life expectancy from 45 to 85. Yes, a small percentage of people will die prematurely from lung diseases caused by the pollution, but most of them would not even have lived to the age where they contracted the disease in pre-industrial times. I’m certain that if you actually used the same methods to price the advantages, the total will be at least 100 times their spurious cost.

    • dennisambler permalink
      February 8, 2016 7:58 am

      There is a feature on Monbiot on this blog,

      It mentions his close association with Sir Crispin Tickell, one of the Grand Old Men of Global Warming.

      Tickell, like his children’s story namesake, (almost), Mr Tickle, Tickell has a very long reach, but he doesn’t make me laugh. He has been instrumental in promoting energy controls around the world and his own blog is worth a visit to see what he is about.

  11. February 8, 2016 6:42 am

    Only 3 years ago Monbiot avoided conviction cos of offence he tweeted

    Guardian journalist George Monbiot has agreed a”remarkable” settlement with Lord McAlpine over a libellous tweet sent last November.
    Monbiot said in a blog today that McAlpine had offered him the chance to carry out £25,000 worth of charitable work over the next three years.(maybe scrubbing the climate stats steps)

    There appears to be a long running Monbiot Camp / Booker/North camp fracas.
    Cos Force Monbiot tweeters point back to 2010 when ForceMonbiot helped get 2 Booker/North stories retracted : The one about a WWF grey paper in the IPCC, and another one about alledged Pachauri financial gains.
    Full fracas Explained well on BH
    “Following Climategate, Glaciergate, Amazongate and North’s articles about Pachauri, Monbiot was finding it harder to sell his messianic scare stories and views to a sceptical public.”

    Ironically at the time of those controversies Monbiot had a story (Skeptics)Never Retract, Never Apologise, Never Explain I suspect it’s projection and fantasy

    Monbiot has retracted general views before “his view that the ethical way forward was veganism”, his opposition to nuclear power..and it would not surprise me if he has retracted stories which were mostly true.

    • February 8, 2016 7:01 am

      2001 the Predictor-biot said “Within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.”
      ..It’s good to see in Monbiot , Britain has a world leader in something …Monbiot world champion in “Magical Thinking”

      • February 8, 2016 7:36 am

        “Whoops – looks like I’ve boobed. Sorry folks.” said by Monbiot In 2009
        When he realised he’d made a simple error when trying to prove in was so easy to debunk “Christopher Booker in 26 seconds” on WORLD’s POLAR sea ice
        – Monbiot had used a graph showing just ARCTIC sea ice

      • February 9, 2016 2:30 am

        2002 not 2001

  12. February 8, 2016 6:52 am

    So don’t ban Monbiot from giving evidence, just cos he has caused offence or got something wrong in the past. And the same should apply to North

    – Accredited experts should probably be the primary source for MPs, but blogger experts can be brought to help MPs by pointing out flaws in those first experts arguments and secondly to raise issues and ideas which the accredited experts don’t due to political climate etc.

    • February 8, 2016 8:29 am

      Oh North has given up on this topic. He’s posted one last blog post on it
      …And ends with a comment

      I’m not wasting any time on it. What’s done is done. I’ve only referred to it here because Booker has mentioned it, and NALOP. I’ll never ever give evidence to a select committee again, and if the MPs are content with this low-grade manoeuvring to stitch up their report, then that reflects on them, not me. They have devalued their own work and earned my everlasting contempt – not that they care in the least.

      Pity that cos while good people stick to the evidence, another set of people seem to with mud throwing smears, in a desperate attempt to wear you down and knock you out of the game.
      Others have commented that when your opponents get desperate enough to use those smear tactics, it shows you are right over the target.

  13. February 8, 2016 8:25 am

    North loves to block people from his blog ,his son is the same, personally i dont feel sorry for him,he certainly doesnt believe in freedom of speech, thought, or expression, unless you agree with him!

    • Richard Smith permalink
      February 8, 2016 12:01 pm

      I think of myself as a calm, moderate and cheerful person, but I was delighted (ROFL delighted) to hear of North’s problems with the committee.

      North is a psychiatric basket case. He is a toxic combination of arrogance and need for recognition. He will devote many posts to telling us what odious, stupid scum MPs are, then at the slightest hint of publicity dash down to London for an unpaid appearance.

      He uses blog post after blog post to dump buckets of slime over any journalist, commentator or politician who has a different opinion then squeals when they won’t have his name mentioned (Telegraph/Booker) or dump him from their counsels.
      He told us the other day that he spent hours of his precious time talking to some journalist who then had the temerity not to relay his magisterial words to the waiting public immediately and in full – bucket of slime on him!

      He is too thick or lacking in self-awareness to appreciate the contradictions in his own behaviour. He likes to dish it out but he cannot take it. The slightest criticism or mockery (not in any trolling sense, either) will get you banned at his site.

      I also disagree with Booker about the quality of his research. The examples I have seen in the past are just stuff he has dug up from somewhere or other – the more arcane the better – which makes him feel he knows more than anyone else. He went through a phase bringing our attention to articles in the German media, even though his grasp of German is non-existent.

      He is currently touting his ‘Flexit’ document, which has been continually edited over the past few years as the ONLY solution for Brexit. Anyone who doesn’t agree gets the bucket of slime.

      If North or his idiot son are on your side then you had better watch out: he throws much more vitriol at his own side than he does at his putative opponents.

      • February 8, 2016 12:15 pm

        In combination with Moonbat – the Oscar Wilde unspeakable in pursuit of inedible comes to mind….

        But – in feasting on a large plate of schadenfreude you entirely miss the point.

        If the committee is going to be selective about evidence vs. anecdotery in this particular fashion – why do they even bother to act out the pantomime of investigation?

        Answers on a postcard please.

        North is irrelevant…

      • February 8, 2016 2:16 pm

        richard smith ….wow great comment, remember the brexit competition? only one person should have won and was of course north.he went ballistic when he faied to get shortlisted to last six!

      • dave permalink
        February 8, 2016 6:30 pm

        It’s sad what has happened to North, whose efforts I used admire, but who now find leads just a tiny band of online sycophants. Unsurprising, as anyone who questions anything in what he spouts is denounced and insulted in a peculiar and horrible manner. As for his son…

      • Nailer permalink
        February 9, 2016 7:16 pm

        It seems like your not a fan.

        I would love to know your qualification(s) to pass this judgement:

        North is a psychiatric basket case.

        Aside from that, your piece doesn’t serve as criticism, merely loathing, and to what purpose?). In my experience, this usually reflects badly on the ‘pitcher’)

        You haven’t offered a single valid criticism. For example:

        “I also disagree with Booker about the quality of his research. The examples I have seen in the past are just stuff he has dug up from somewhere or other…..”

        In other words, sources, as we writers call them? Can you name anyone else that is researching the EU to the level that he has, while drawing the same or similar conclusions? I can’t, and I’ve been at this game since 1985. And anything I see him post is always original unless cited, I stand to be corrected. UKIP is still churning out that £55 million per day” cobblers, in the same way Lib Dems do with the “3 million jobs” lie.

        Sorry, but we’re in a difficult time, and now that we have the internet (a game ‘decider’ over the massively propagandised and fixed 1975 Referendum), I have to wonder if you’re an EU propagandist / agitator. Under a different guise (when I posted), I can recognise some aspects of what you say about his blog, which has lost many decent contributors over the last year or so.

        I admire the work he has produced, and no-one’s perfect. His (with Booker’s) book, “The Great Deception” is still the reference work on the origins of the EU – to me. The inescapable fact is, that the widely acclaimed Flexcit, should have been a product of UKIP.

        No-one has received a “bucket of slime”, but more importantly, no-one, according to the relevant blogosphere, has produced anything even closely credible.

        Someone was saying something about “flak”…..?

      • dave permalink
        February 10, 2016 8:16 am

        Fortunately for those wanting out of the EU, North is near invisible to the public – and those individuals he insults daily have, hopefully, learned to ignore him. As for ‘Flexcit’ (why not Flexit?), there are some reasonable points, but overall it is too cock-sure and long-winded.

      • February 11, 2016 12:05 am

        Nailer…. fllexcit is not widely acclaimed,its virtually unknown,its the product of amateur bloggers,its not serious peer reviewed was submitted for the brexit competition and failed…… misrebly. its the product of ego inflation. north is an obsessive who has lost the plot,it’s sad, but true.

  14. February 8, 2016 10:02 am

    That a player can be barged off the field like this simply isn’t on – not at this stage of the game – after invitation, advertising etcetera…

    If they are going to be prissy about witnesses there’s got to be some unrepentant characters with actual innocent blood on their hands that have given evidence to Parliament in the past and who will do so in the future.

    I have emailed the committee requesting a statement on the matter and if this does not elicit a response (not even an auto-responding receipt of delivery thus far) – I will escalate (not sure that’s quite the correct word) to Freedom of Information requests.

    fwiw Mary Creagh does look on the face of it like Moonbat’s prime co-conspirator

    • March 13, 2016 1:21 pm

      Spectacularly ignorant post from “pm” – who seems not to have even mastered spelling, much less grammar!

      “Nailer…. fllexcit is not widely acclaimed,its virtually unknown,its the product of amateur bloggers,its not serious peer reviewed was submitted for the brexit competition and failed…… misrebly. its the product of ego inflation. north is an obsessive who has lost the plot,it’s sad, but true.”

      This isn’t the “sad” thing here! The OP named Dr. North has being an “expert witness to a Commons Select Committee” – have you? Despite your anonymity and deeply jealous childishness, what have you achieved in the field of political analysis, research or front-line politics?

      I’m guessing you’re a UKIP member; because it’s mostly (only?) they who criticise North in the way you have, and you can’t even manage an apostrophe.

      To illustrate that you post is epically foolish, his blog hit-rate has been rocketing, and Flexcit downloads reaching almost 10,000 per day.

  15. It doesn't add up... permalink
    February 8, 2016 11:01 am

    The enquiry is still open for evidence (after all, it was only called late last month):

    Since the abrasive personality of North seems to be an obstacle in his presentation of his work, the obvious solution is to find someone else to do that to whom the committee could not reasonably object. However, it seems likely that North’s personality would obstruct such a solution.

    We can chunter on the sidelines, or take sensible action to ensure that the committee cannot hide behind a biassed series of views.

    • February 8, 2016 11:41 am

      The committee’s actions are perverse – not explaining themselves and excluding actual evidence when they’ve prominently acknowledged via their web site that Richerd North is viewed as an authoritative source on matters of interest to the committee.

      The committees’s actions require explanation – and – the actions of the members and officials should be exposed – not least to comply with the legal constraints of The Civil Servant’s Code of Conduct.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 8, 2016 12:12 pm

        The best way to do that is to get someone else with good in depth knowledge to present the material. North is now an obstacle. The post above by Richard Smith explains it well.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        February 8, 2016 4:35 pm

        The Committee’s actions are not in the least perverse.
        They’re simply using due process to remove inconvenient information from the report.
        Thus they can claim that expert witnesses confirm that the flooding’s all down to Climate Change and augmented by evil farmers.

  16. February 8, 2016 12:32 pm

    It doesn’t add up…

    Well, yes … there is an obstacle on both sides surely?

    In this particular instance – I have something of an axe to grind as I have had “inconvenient” evidence barged out of official process by foul means and seen pure fantasy substituted in its place – prolonging the dispute while truth worked its way out.

    Some members of the committee through their actions have shown themselves to be presently concerned with suppressing evidence Any evidence presented should also be tested – something that imho did not happen with Monbiot’s submission – submitting the written deposition several days prior to the hearing allows for informed cross examination.

    It’s all simply not good enough.

  17. February 8, 2016 3:28 pm

    Was North shut down by Monbiot or by Saul Alinsky ?

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

    Is that what Monbiot has been doing ?
    Today’s climate of political correctness provides easy tools
    ..Now you don’t need to shout “Witch !” …just “Racist !”

    George “The ‘racist-finder’ General” Monbiot

    Whereas most of us would see the items as seperate issues…the Sudden banning, Norths past blogging, the floods being debated.

  18. catweazle666 permalink
    February 12, 2016 2:52 am

    The best Moonbat blog I can remember was a decade or so ago when there was a serious discussion as to whether the photographs of the USS Skate surfacing at the North Pole were fabrications by Evil Oil Orcs who had planted fabricated photographs in the US Navy archives in order to discredit the CAGW brigade, as everyone knew that the North Pole was only going to be ice-free by 2012.

    I observed that if they had, they must have broken into my house and inserted them into my 1960 Guinness Book of Records too. Naturally, my comment was moderated.


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