Diary

Matt Ridley’s diary: Why a Guardian contributor wants me beheaded

30 May 2015

9:00 AM

30 May 2015

9:00 AM

Martin Williams, former head of the government’s air quality science unit, has declared that the reason we have a problem with air pollution now is that ‘policy has been focused on climate change, and reducing CO2 emissions, to the exclusion of much else, for most of the past two decades. Diesel was seen as a good thing because it produces less CO2, so we gave people incentives to buy diesel cars.’ Yet another example of how the global warming obsession has been bad for the environment — like subsidising biofuels, which encourage cutting down rainforests; or windfarms, which kill eagles and spoil landscapes; or denying coal-fired electricity to Africa, where millions die each year from the effects of cooking over smoky wood fires.

Greens are too hard on coal. If much of the world had not switched from wood to coal in the 1800s, we would have deforested the planet almost entirely. By 1860, Britain was getting as much energy from coal as a forest the size of Scotland could yield; today, we’d need a forest the size of South Africa. And coal produces less carbon dioxide than wood per unit of energy. I would say this, wouldn’t I? My ancestors were in coal from about 1700 and I still am, hosting a temporary surface mine on my land. It provides good jobs, lots of tax, a community benefits fund and an income windfall for local residents as well as me. Plus opportunities for spectacular restoration schemes, like Northumberlandia (look it up). It also helps keep electricity affordable.


The Guardian, unhappy that I said last week that its fossil-fuel divestment campaign was likely to hurt the poor, writes to tell me that it intends to have a go at me, rather than tackle my argument, by quoting an unreliable blogger about the amount I make from coal. I don’t own as much land as he thinks I do, nor share as little of the income with other residents, but I am under no obligation to invade others’ privacy by naming the sums. I always declare my interest when relevant. If I were getting similar money from wind or solar power — as I could if I approved of them — I’d be a hero to greens. It’s a strange world where the left likes rich people getting money only if it comes from a tax on poor people’s bills. (Meanwhile, part of the Guardian’s website is sponsored by a coal-mining company.)

Back in January, on the day a Japanese captive was beheaded by Islamic State, the Guardian published its previous attack on me over a picture of a severed zombie’s head. My crime was to write about how I had been furiously denounced merely for presenting the evidence that climate change is real but may not be net harmful — so the Guardian piece rather proved my point. Beneath the article online appeared two comments recommending that I be beheaded, and one revealing the writer of these comments was a Guardian contributor, Gary Evans. Astonishingly, the comment outing Mr Evans was deleted to protect him, while the death threats remained — until I complained.

Although the economy of the North-east is doing better than for many years, Northumberland’s old mining towns are still not prospering. My wife and I fund a charity that supports community projects mainly in Blyth, the port city that was built to export coal and in the 1990s became a drugs hotspot. Visiting one of these projects last week, the Silx Teen Bar, which gives 700 young people a year a place to hang out, a meal to eat and coaching in applying for jobs, I was encouraged. The bar’s been refurbished by volunteers, jobs are more numerous, heroin has faded, but legal highs are the new problem. Over tea and chocolate pizza, Jackie Long, the incredibly dedicated senior youth worker, told me what had happened to a young man I met on my last visit. Orphaned when his parents died from drugs, he relied on Silx from the age of 12 for food and friendship, and lived with his grandmother. Apparently she died recently and he drifted between evictions. Now he has a secure job and was recently named employee of the week. Silx was the family he came to show the certificate to.

The Homosexual Necrophiliac Duck Opera is opening at Kings Place in London in August. Where I sometimes go salmon fishing on the incomparably beautiful Coquet, there’s a mallard ménage-a-trois. For two months now, every time I have visited, two drakes and duck have been together in the mill race or below the dam. They are inseparable. I can tell they are the same birds from their markings. There’s no sexual jealousy, let alone necrophilia. They just keep on working the shallows for fly larvae beneath the tip of my fly rod. The rod is new and expensive. ‘There’s no pockets on a shroud,’ said David, my fishing companion, excusing my extravagance.

Matt Ridley’s books include Genome and The Rational Optimist.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Isage000

    That Guardian zombie article was one of the most repugnant examples of malignant hate ever published in a national newspaper.

    • Isage000

      For the record, the original Guardian article, (the most revolting bit of which -the headline illustration of a severed zombie head dangling on hooks from its eye sockets- was finally removed five days later) is here

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/jan/21/matt-ridley-wants-to-gamble-earths-future-because-wont-learn-from-past

      And the somewhat less than profuse apology a full three weeks later here

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/13/when-joke-in-comment-thread-goes-beyond-tastelessness

      • Mc

        Unfortunately The Guardian publishes some of the most irrational, hysterical and poor quality articles among the broadsheets. The fact that its editor is willing to publish such twaddle is rather interesting.

      • randomusername

        Absolutely little wrong with either. This though:

        ‘Back in January, on the day a Japanese captive was beheaded by Islamic State, the Guardian published its previous attack on me over a picture of a severed zombie’s head.’

        is either a mistake (look at the dates) or a lie. But it does follow that this being the case the distasteful nature was not present, and frankly the article does not in any way condone any sort of violence towards ridley. Nothing revolting, at all.
        The article is in fact dealing with the issues in a fair way, that is presenting a line of reasoning backed up with facts cited from relevant sources… You know, journalism.
        The above is ridiculous

      • Guy

        Less than profuse? I’d suggest “I think Lord Ridley deserves an apology, which I am happy to give on behalf of the Guardian” is fairly unequivocal. The poster of the tasteless comment is also quoted acknowledging that what started as a joke in the heat of the moment was inexcusable. The incident should never have happened, but it seems to me Lord Ridley has had the apology – and was fully entitled to it.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Viscount Ridley should be the one apologising to us all. Running the Northern Rock into the ground with his reckless lending. He brought shame on our nation with the first run on a bank since 1878. Then all he did was create a giant naked lady to plonk in the Northern landscape.He likes to leave his mark on this land for sure.

    • Fried Ch’i

      Biofuels do not encourage cutting down rainforests, FFS.

      We do not have any rainforests in Britain.
      What we do have is loads and loads of unfarmed land!

      • Isage000

        I said nothing about biofuels and rainforests, but since you have raised the subject, I suggest you do a bit of googling about it. Even Greenpeace admits the policy has been a disaster.

        http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/forests/palm-oil

        • Fried Ch’i

          You live in the rainforest? Fine. Stay there. Don’t come to Britain. We do not want foreigners here.

      • Rintintin
        • Fried Ch’i

          Is this troll central or wot – wot part of ‘Britain has no rainforests’ did you trolls not understand?

          Other peoples’ land and forests are none of your f * k i n business.

          • Rintintin

            I’m sorry I wasted my time on you. You are an idiot.

          • Fried Ch’i

            That is the idea lad – you pseudo-colonialists want to rule the globe don’t you.

            Listen, lad – why don’t you go away and plant rapeseed fields in England to offset the damage in Brazil? There is loads and loads unfarmed land in Britain. Now don’t waste my time with some illiterate response.

          • Rintintin

            I have no idea what you are talking about…and neither do you.

          • Fried Ch’i

            Listen lad – open your eyes. Rapeseed fields are bright yellow. Runs well in diesel motors. Now off you trot.

          • Rintintin

            Yawn.

          • Fried Ch’i

            Do you want me to provide you with a spade for you to dig an even deeper hole?

      • Patrick Roy

        Are you a farmer?

        • Fried Ch’i

          I ‘ave beer in se fridge.

      • Biofuel plantation in Indonesia and Malyasia required clearing an area twice the size of Wales whilst at the same time kicking off the tribes that live in the forest. Nonsense. Biofuels competes with food and destroys forest and produces more CO2 in the process.

        http://prolerevolt.com/2015/02/22/climate-change-policies-more-harm-than-good/

        • Fried Ch’i

          You live in Indonesia? WTF, dude, you just told us you’re a Nigerian breitbart spam bot.

          Let the Indonesians govern themselves, will you?

          • where did I say I was Indonesian…smh

          • Fried Ch’i

            You didn’t. Which makes me think. You are not in Indonesia and you want to tell Indonesians what to do. Are you fully kosher in the brain? That’s none of your business.

          • I’m a British who was born and raised in Nigeria. Troll

          • Fried Ch’i

            Then go and plant some biofuel crop on unused farmland here in Britain, you Greeny troll. It’s not that there was a shortage of suitable plots.

  • Lord Ridley. I hope all is well. Your comments about an “unreliable blogger” are unfair. I have asked you repeatedly to provide accurate information as to the true extent of your interest in coal. I have provided a strong public interest argument in an attempt to persuade you. I have sent you everything I have written well in advance of publication. I have given you the opportunity to correct any mistakes and to provide comment for my reports. I have taken into account the fact Banks Group mine at sites not on your property. If you let me know what the true extent of your own financial gain from coal is then I will happily report this and inform my readers if my own estimates are wrong. This does not involve invading anyone’s privacy. I seek the truth and play fairly. The Spectator should share those aspirations. Yours, Brendan Montague. DeSmog.UK

    • Frank

      Why should anyone tell you anything about their private financial matters?

      • Isage000

        Said person appears to have an obsessive fixation that everyone daring to question the alarmist mantra must be morally and intellectually delinquent and funded, or benefiting by some means or other from interests or investments in fossil fuels.

        • Isage. It can appear that way. It just so happens that everyone I have never met who doubts climate change has benefited directly from coal, oil and gas, or is sympathetic to free market think tanks funded by coal, oil and gas. It’s the same small group of people constantly repeating the same talking points which makes it seem like there is still a debate about climate change.

          • KingJon

            I doubt climate change and have never benefited directly from coal oil or gas

      • Frank – that’s a good question. If Matt Ridley was a private individual making money by producing something that had no adverse impact on the rest of us then his financial affairs would obviously be his own business. But the opposite is true. He is a hereditary peer who has significant influence over legislation and policy that impacts directly on my lives and everyone else’s in this country and beyond. He writes for the Times, influencing others with power. And he makes money from the mining of coal, which when burned will contribute to climate change and create hardship for millions of people. Under these very specific conditions the public does need to know the extent of his interest in coal when hearing and being effected by his views on climate change.

        • Frank

          You do appear to be deluded about various aspects of British life, eg the impact of the House of Lords, or the extent that the Times has the ear of important people.
          No 1, As a peer, he has almost no impact on legislation.
          No 2, He writes articles in publications with relatively small circulations (eg the Times). I doubt that these articles affect public opinion in any way, much as he might like the reverse – unlike the BBC whose biased opinions roll out unchecked day after day.
          No 3, he appears to own a small interest in a coal pit. Good for him, it provides employment and keeps the supply of coal coming!!
          Yes, indeed he is the scourge of Britain!
          Perhaps you should focus on countries that burn a lot of coal like China, or India, or even dear old Germany (I have to say that I would rather we burned a lot of coal (like Germany) rather than have nuclear power stations, but each to his own).
          You seem to be a classic case of someone who has lost his religion and replaced it with hysteria about climate change

    • Mc

      Just out of interest, what difference does it make whether Ridley has, for arguments sake, a £5K or £500m stake in coal? All that matters is whether Ridley’s or your argument for or against renewables is rational. Basically, it sounds like you’re trying to peddle a logical fallacy by focusing on the size of Ridley’s coal interest.

      • Mc. This is a very important point. If you would allow me to present a comparison. Imagine, if you will, that you are going to the doctors with depression. The doctor prescribes Prozac. You also discover that the doctor has received a pen, a note pad and a Christmas bottle of wine from the company making Prozac. Do you trust him and take the medicine? Now imagine that Prozac pays the doctor 1 percent of the profits from the prescription he makes. Do you take the medicine? Now imagine the doctor makes £100,000 a year and £50,000 comes from Prozac. Do you take the medicine? I believe Matt Ridley is peddling the equivalent of homeopathic medicine. He has a compelling argument which seems reasoned. But 97 percent of the world’s practicing climate researchers disagree with him. Now if we were to learn he gets a Christmas card from the CEO of ExxonMobil every year we would think nothing of it. But if 50 percent of his income came from coal he would very understandably have a very keen sense of the benefits of the coal industry and very likely underestimate the risks. I am genuinely concerned about the welfare of the people who chose to take his medicine.

        • Mc

          Two points. (1) You continue to peddlea logical fallacy about Ridley’s alleged conflicts of interest: it is irrelevant what the extent is of Ridley’s alleged conflicts of interest are. What is relevant is whether his arguments (and those of climate changers) are rational and based on fact. To use your example, I’d be keen to know where a GP’s conflicts of interest lie, but more important whether there are systematic reviews confirming Prozac efficacy (which is, to belabour the point, a separate issue from conflicts of interest)
          (2) You’re peddling a logical fallacy and making a sweeping statement by claiming that “97 percent of the world’s practicing climate researchers disagree with him”. Somehow I doubt Ridley’s statement that “climate change is real but may not be net harmful” (notice the use of “may”?) is going to be disputed by 97% of climate scientists, particularly when one presses them on how infallible their projection models are. (Or I’m hoping that those 97% of climate scientists don’t have an infallibility complex about a future, modeled climate).

        • Anonymous

          Hi Brendan,
          I note you say above that he “has a compelling argument which seems reasoned” (not something he has in common with homeopaths, I hasten to add), but I sense you don’t believe his argument is compelling – if it were, surely it would compel you to believe it.
          I understand that he has interests in the coal industry, but his reasoning does seem sound regardless of his interests, so would you mind explaining to a simple-minded person such as myself why you don’t agree with his argument?

        • Sean L

          That’s an example of an arguement which isn’t reasoned – isn’t really an *argument*. If the doctor’s on the take from the drug company all it shows is that he has a motive to supply the drug independently of its efficacy: it’s irrelevant to the merits of the drug itself. Homeopathy is something else entirely: that’s supposed to be quack science. If an argument is reasoned and compelling, even if 100% of researchers disagree has no bearing on its truth value. What you’ve demonstrated compellingly with this garbage is that you don’t know what a reasoned argument is in the first place…

        • Mc

          Brendan, I notice that articles is also liberally sprinkled with snide logical fallacies. To answer your headline of “Why Does Ridley Still Mine Coal If He Could Make More Money From Renewables?”, I suspect there are two reasons why Ridley doesn’t want to switch to potentially more financially rewarding renewables. Firstly, he may believe it is unethical to receive, via government subsidies, payments from the tax payer for hosting renewables. Secondly, he may think that the required power backup systems and infrastructure modifications required for renewables are inefficient, costly and maybe more environmentally damaging than not having renewables.

      • randomusername

        Seeing as he is both a Lord (a politician therefore) and one who has business interests in coal it should only make sense he does so.
        Now you speak of logical fallacies, one could speak of downright manipulation and lies by Lord Ridley. This article:
        https://spectator.com.au/features/9176121/armageddon-averted/

        States that the installment of the IPCC’s fifth assessment report he discusses shows how scientists have finally come around to adaption being far more important than mitigation. He states that the report mentions adaption ten times and mitigation nil; what he leaves out from the entirety of the articles is the fact that this ENTIRE report is uniquely devoted to the question of adaption and is a single small part of the literature.
        This is again and again with the man. So either he is an absolute idiot (which I doubt he is to this extent) or this is a strong deal of manipulation in his articles.
        His financial gains from this type of manipulation is important to underline. You know, journalism.

        • Mc

          I can’t speak for Mr Ridley as to why he phrased his article like that. Perhaps you’ve corresponded with him on the matter?

          Of course, it is useful that you’ve highlighted that particular angle of the IPCC’s report. Do you have a link to the report in question?

    • MC73

      Why should he? Ridley openly states that he has interests in coal. That’s enough; play the ball not the man.
      I looked at the DeSmog website. Word of advice to you and your colleagues, repeated hysteria about “climate change denialists” is not going to win many converts to your point of view.

  • Alison Lane

    Hey Matt, ever wondered what happened to the coal industry in this country? Did the Green Party and the Guardian get in league and destroy it with nasty articles? No Matt it was the party you support – Thatcher systematically destroyed any chance we had of producing coal in this country on any scale and she did it out of revenge and ideological blindness. Please please don’t tell me the mines were ‘uneconomic’ – if you believe you will believe absolutely anything.

    • rolandfleming

      Number of mines closed by Wilson: 290
      Number of mines closed by Thatcher: 160

      • Mc

        Also, I’m pretty sure that if those mines were economically viable, a private company would’ve snapped up the mining rights. But perhaps Alison Lane believes that the taxpayers had to continue subsidizing the mines under government ownership, along with all those other nationalized industries.

        • Alison Lane

          Wow it’s so sweet when you guys try to argue using only right wing propaganda to help you. It’s like watching a newborn foal trying to walk. Of course some mines are not viable because they run out of coal or the coal is trickier to get at. But I wonder why you quoted the number of mines rather than, say, the reasons for closure (were the mines becoming too dangerous or were they deliberately closed to punish an entire industry in a deliberate ideological struggle assisted by a militarised police force? might be a place to start) – or most importantly numbers of jobs? I think that number might be more interesting – from memory it’s 80% of jobs under Thatcher, but be careful now when trying out critical analysis for the first time, you might stumble
          I love your faith in ‘the market’ – do you believe in the tooth fairy too – but the taxpayers have massively subsided many industries e.g. the railways. The coal industry was not for sale in the 1980s and by the time it was ‘privatised’ it was absolutely obliterated and definitely not a saleable asset. Thatcher COULD have sold the mines off – she chose not to because she wanted to humiliate the NUM and the miners and Arthur Scargill – which she did. It was personal and it was also hugely expensive in terms of massive damage done to massive numbers of individuals who lost their jobs and the communities that relied on. Those individuals would have found it much easier to find another job in Wilson’s day than in the mid 80s when Thatcher’s policies had ensured that manufacturing industry was on its knees (yea, no subsidies for them, unlike for the banks for example).

          • Mc

            Your comment is staggering under the weight of logical fallacies and the certitude of Socialist righteousness.

          • Alison Lane

            ‘Logical fallacies’? Let’s have em then.

          • Alison Lane

            If you interpret a clear headed understanding of the appalling economic, cultural and social effects of the policies of Thatcher’s government as ‘socialist righteousness’ then I plead guilty. What happened next in these communities? How might this continue to impact on the tax payer (if you don’t much care about the miners, who brought it on themselves by wanting wages higher than Chinese ones). Thoughts?

          • Edward Studor

            Thatcher saved us from socialist-fascism, headed by the unions and supported by the hard-left. You owe your liberty to her.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Hilarious.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            …..ah but he’ll say to hell with the social cost, as big business can access cheaper coal and pay the bosses and shareholders loads more.

          • Mc

            The list is too long, nevermind that those who use logical fallacies are incapable of recognizing them – which of course is why they use them. I forgot to mention your liberal slathering of conspiracy theories – not uncommon bedfellows for logical fallacies.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Well this is better than your appeals to spite and appeals to fear.

          • Mc

            I fear you’re going off on a tangent.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            That’s just spite.

          • Mc

            You’re hung up about imaginary spite.

          • Tom M

            And again; “…..Of course some mines are not viable because they run out of coal or the coal is trickier to get at…..”
            You are correct some mines were not viable because they run out of coal. Of course running out of coal is a relevent term (see my post above for Arthur Scargill’s iterpretation).
            “Coal trickier to get…” You bet and nowhere was it trickier to get than in Scotland. Again the figures from the NCB Annual accounts; NCB Scotland made a slight profit until 1950 afterwards ots losses mounted until 1989/90 when the losses were £30.00 per ton.

          • In search of a witty moniker

            Do you think, perhaps, that there might have been a little bit of “ideological” motivation behind Scargill’s “personal” crusade to bring down the elected government by manipulating and bullying his own union members into striking without ever even holding a strike ballot? Remember, even Kinnock thought there should be a ballot.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            What are you on? Scargill had no crusade beyond saving his people’s jobs. With the weight of the Authorities, the CoLC, the Establishment and the media (even the Daily Mirror) agianst them how could Scargill have an iota of culpability?
            It is sickening how the right wing media persist in trotting out personal crusade and he didn’t have a ballot. How does one man conduct a crusade and how many of the Tories 46 differtent leaders were appointed as a result of a members ballot?

          • In search of a witty moniker

            I actually liked and supported him at the time as a teenager. But now, as an adult who has seen something of the world and understands concepts like supply and demand, democracy, the rule of law, etc., I’ve grown up and changed my mind.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            I met Arthur twice at Snowden colliery in Kent during the strike.He was a man of courage and queit dignity.

          • In search of a witty moniker

            I have no doubt he was utterly convinced of the righteousness of his actions. Doens’t mean he was doing the right thing, though.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Arthur was patently doing the right thing.

          • In search of a witty moniker

            And how thankful we should all be that he lost.

          • In search of a witty moniker

            Let’s all just be profoundly grateful that he lost and that democracy endured.

          • Caractacus

            Thatcher had a billion pound retraining and compensation package put together for miners being made redundant.

            Scargill turned it down without even looking at it. So after he inevitably lost, the miners were left with sod all.

            He betrayed his members for his own personal agenda of attempting to dethrone Thatcher. Wales should be burning him on November 5th instead of Guy Fawkes. He is the one who destroyed our communities and left them on knife edges. Many of the consequences of the closing of the mines could have been avoided simply by taking the redundancy package.

          • Robbydot1

            Instead of which they are paying for his very expensive London pad.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            And we are paying up to £40 billion to take care of Northern Rock’s bad loan book.

          • Robbydot1

            And that is relevant, how?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Because Ridley, the author of this article, was in charge at N Rock when it collapsed.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Said £1 billion would have kept the mines open for another five years, but £1 billion between 180,000 miners is only £5,000 each.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          We had up to 250,000 people gainfully employed in thriving communities,but opted to have most of them on benefits while we imported S African and Australian coal. So determined was Thatcher not to use Welsh coal for the steel works in Cwmbran and Newport, they landed the foreign coal in Avonmouth and sent it by conveyor belt through a tunnel under the Severn estuary. 2,000 years of history and 400 years of reserves wasted by a political dogma.

          • Mc

            It sounds like you expected the government to subsidize the UK coal industry into eternity. Fortunately most of the electorate didn’t want that to happen. And I expect that same electorate expected the people who were made redundant to eventually find another job.

            A note to people tempted to work in a single-industry city / town, especially mining, heavy industry and vehicle manufacture: steer clear, because those industries are all guaranteed to go bust (even if there’s temporary government subsidy).

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Well I didn’t expect them to subsidise banking, with over £800 billion.

          • Mc

            Neither did I. They should’ve been allowed to go under and the banking CEOs and board members should’ve been imprisoned.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            The Viscount Ridley among them. He allowed N Rock to work on an assets to lending ration of 1.4%.

          • Caractacus

            Unfortunately, you can’t force customers to buy from you. Welsh coal was ten times as expensive as African and Australian coal. For the simple reason that the Communist NUM was going on strike every five minutes. No one is going to buy something ten times as expensive if they can get it cheaper elsewhere. The reason mining failed as an industry in Britain is solely down to the NUM (and latterly Scargill). Maggie was simply carrying out the last rites on the corpse, killed thanks to the policies they pursued. I speak as an Afan boyo (our mines were closed by Wilson in the Seventies).

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            The NUM conducted four strikes between 1972 and 1985. Every five minutes would have been 1,370,000 strikes. Our coal was not ten times as expensive, it was about 30% more.
            Mining did not fail. It was destroyed .

      • Interesting fact: what is the source? Many thanks.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Wilson came to power in 1964 and left power in 1976, interrupted by Heath for 4 years. In that time the number of mines fell from about 400 to about 250 according to the Gov.UK /ONS stats. But production only fell from 200 million tonnes to 170 million and employment from 370,000 to 230,000.
        During the Thatcher years we fell to 30 pits(from 172) with 26,000 miners producing less than 50 million tonnes.
        The peak year was 1910 when 3,000 pits and 700,000 miners produced 260 million tonnes.
        I make it that Wilson & Heath combined oversaw an industry decline of 30% in 12 years ,while in the same amount of time Thatcher managed a 78% reduction. Numbers of pits is a bit like comparing military power on numbers of tanks.

    • Zionist lackey

      The miners priced themselves out of the market when countries like China began to produce and export coal far more cheaply than British Coal could at home.

      The real villain was never Margaret Thatcher; it was Arthur Scargill, who throughout the 1970s and during the 1980s encourage his members to out price themselves within a fast changing industry (particularly abroad). As a nationalised industry, his victories were ultimately paid for by the taxpayer whose taxes subsidised his industry.

      In other words Scargill’s members won their inflation beating increases at the expense of fellow workers in the private sector many on much lower incomes than his miners who nevertheless had to pay their taxes.

      In a free market there can never be jobs for life because technological advances make this impossible. Judging by the way many unions talk and think; if they had their way their members would still be driving steam engines and using the Gutenberg press, and transporting goods along waterways – in other words, the kind of world the Green Party envisages.

      • Alison Lane

        Christ almighty where to start with this mish mash of sloppy thinking.

        I love the idea that the miners priced themselves out of the market while Chinese miners decided to pay themselves much less or something? Sorry I lost track of that argument half way through. The relative ‘competitiveness’ of the Chinese coal industry versus the British one is nothing to do with the free market and everything to do with specific decisions made to support some industries and let others go to the wall.
        ‘In other words Scargill’s members won their inflation beating increases at the expense of fellow workers in the private sector many on much lower incomes than his miners who nevertheless had to pay their taxes.’ What?? Christ almighty this is hardly an argument, more a knee jerk word salad. The strikes were over pit closures. What happened to those communities once the mines were closed? Did they suddenly take up less of the tax payer’s money? Go away and educate yourself.

        • Zionist lackey

          Oh dear! I have upset comrade Lane. I sense I hit a nerve. She asks me. ‘What happened to those communities once the mines were closed?’

          The same thing that happened to other communities that failed to adapt throughout human history. Alison, who I assume to be a socialist, will be familiar with evolutionary theory that adaptation to change is the prerequisite of survival.

          When those pits were closed down it was because they were no longer economically viable; not because Margaret Thatcher hated the NUM. You do not seem to grasp the fact that human progress is not and never can be based upon theories that try to reform human nature. Human nature is unreformable and any attempt to do so will only meet with stagnation. Think of the Soviet Empire where socialism was tested to its limits where literarily millions of people met their deaths.
          When the mines closed; generous redundancies followed. My own cousin, a miner (and no friend of Arthur) working in Doncaster was awarded £40,000 in redundancies for working for no more than ten years. The payoffs were generous and once they were gone; if they had not found redeployment in other parts of the country, then welfare kept their heads above the water until they found work. My cousin found work in Tesco’s.

          • Mr Lackey. It seems rather sad that you have this rather terrible view of humanity. I can only guess you think everyone else is greedy and self interest, but this is never how you would describe yourself, or your children, or those who you care about. I assume that other people have the same capacity for empathy and caring as I do. Thatcher broke the NUM in 1984 so that the organised, industrialised working class could not effectively resist the privatisation and market liberalisation that happened immediately after. The coal on the international market was cheaper because of the extremely poor conditions of miners in China and elsewhere. Perhaps we should ban imports of goods produced in conditions of slavery, so we ourselves don’t become slaves. Paying a good redundancy in order to destroy a good job is a short term good to create a very long term harm. The miners then could have been retrained to produce renewable energy now. This could have been paid for with the huge amount of profits from North Sea oil and gas. But instead the Tories decided to let their friends profit from this common boon, and stash all the cash in tax havens. The effect of this is what you see around you now: dramatic inequality and real hardship. And worse is still to come. Those children and grandchildren who you feel very real and love and empathy for are the ones that will really pay the price.

          • Tom M

            “….The coal on the international market was cheaper because of the extremely poor conditions of miners in China and elsewhere…”
            You are correct the coal on the international market was cheaper but to claim poor working conditions as the reason is disingenuous. Not all coal (did any?) came from China. Try Poland, Australia or the USA.
            I would suggest you have a look at the NCB’s own accounts for the period in question (summarised in my reply to Alison Lane above). You will note that even after the rigged market of the nationalised industry selling it’s coal to another captive nationalised electricity generating industry (oh don’t you just love monopolies) they still managed to make a loss.
            So it wasn’t so much a case of foreign coal being cheaper more a case of our coal being too expensive.
            Margaret Thatcher did what any elected government should have done when the State was threatened. Fight and win, and conclusively. I elect Governments to run the country not unions. Unions are not political parties they are there (or should be) to look after the terms and conditions of their member’s employment. Take on the Government of the day if they want but do it at the ballot box.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            I do love the irony of Thatcher using Communist produced coal from Poland, China and Russia to destroy her opposition in the UK.

          • Mc

            And so many logical fallacies being trotted out again. Brendan, the problem is that you fundamentally undermine your arguments by gratuitously employing logical fallacies.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            What are you talking about? The NHS is not economically viable. Our road system is not economically viable. The Police and Fire services are not economically viable. The Armed forces are not economically viable. Nor are railways, care services ,schools, most farms, the royal family, many airports and a lot of banks. Mines were a national asset ,like our hospitals and they were trashed for a pathetic dogma.

          • Zionist lackey

            The police, armed forces, fire service and the NHS as well as all of the other public services (apart from the banks and – the farms! Really?) you mention are paid for out of general taxation. They are part of the public sector. Part of the infrastructure of a civilised society. Our nation’s defences, its laws and law enforcement, are paid for out of taxation just as such services are in the USA.

            Coal mining was nationalised, along with British Leyland, because neither could compete with the competition in the market place, which is why they were nationalised in the first place and where they continued to fail, until they had to be abandoned by any sensible government not in the pay of the trade unions. They could not survive in the private, wealth creating sector, where they belonged like any other business.

            You say coal was a national asset – tell that to the Greens. I am afraid Yvon & Barry, it is the both of you who are espousing a pathetic dogma (socialism); a dogma tested by history and has failed over and over again from the Soviet block, China and Cuba, to Africa and Latin America;at a very princely cost of millions of human lives. In every social laboratory it has been tested. Socialism has been a cruel master to those who have HAD to live under its rule.

            They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and this has been the case with socialism. It tried to create the perfect society for imperfect human beings and created instead, a hell on earth.

            I am 65 years old and in my youth . . .well, I say youth; but it was not until 1983 that I gave up the ghost. I joined the Labour Party, at 16; the Communist Party of Great Britain at 20; I also flirted briefly with the Socialist Workers Party. I was eventually tempted to return to the Labour Party under Blair’s leadership. I no longer have any attachment to any political party that calls itself ‘progressive’.

            Unlike most socialists, who, as they did then and still do today prefer slogans to thinking, I read Marx; I read his philosophy of Historical Materialism, based upon his theory of dialectic materialism. I read copiously the history of the USSR particularly the several volume history by E H Carr – admittedly I found Das Capital turgid and unreadable as did 99% of those who called themselves Marxists.

            Socialism is the antithesis of human nature, the nature that brought us from the age of hard labour to the age of the computer technology. Socialism could never have attained such progress, because in its naive attempt at improving human nature, it destroyed the system of ambition and reward that motivates human beings; and it is by such mechanisms that technological progress evolves.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Nationalised industries were national assets too. Yes they should have been subsidised and we should be producing 90% of our power from clenaer coal, not paying the Chinese to build more Hinckley Points.

          • Zionist lackey

            Give it up Yvon & Barry. Nationalised industries were never and could ever be considered assets to any democratic nation. They were subsidised, which is what nationalisation means. A state monopoly, as was apparent in the Soviet Union, only led to the bread queue and the awful fowl smelling Trabant cars that were technologically antiquated from the beginning of their production.

            The minimal state can produce our laws and can defend our country. Which is what its original purpose was meant for. It is the minimal state, not its antonym that produces, scientific, and technological progress.

            The West bested the Soviet Union because of the likes of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Soviet socialism had to rely upon espionage to try and compete with the West technologically.

            It was the free enterprise system (what Yvon and Barry would call capitalism) that has advanced humanity – the very antitheses of socialism. Socialism has only diminished and enslaved humanity to the power of the state.

        • mikewaller

          You’re nearly as bad as they are. To many of us, the willingness of miners to use their then huge industrial muscle to further their own ends was deeply, deeply offensive. As a Londoner, I was particularly appalled when during one of their intimadatory marches, they refused to move on until placards critical of their stance have been remove from an office window. To a very significant proportion of their countrypersons, they were holding us to ransome, it was therefore a tad unreasonable to expect us to weep when they got their comeuppance.

          P.S. As for Ridley – late of Northern Rock – and his “rational” optimism, having got us into so much trouble as a result of his fallacious belief in the endless availability of cheap short-term loans as a means of supporting long-term mortgages, I should have thought several decades of penitential silence would have been the obvious self-prescription.

          • Mc

            The unions’ behaviour was one of the reasons why people voted in Thatcher: they were expressing their democratic wish for the unions’ power to be curbed.

      • You’re right. Everyone should work in abject slavery in order to compete with people surviving in a country without democracy, where trade unions are illegal and where state violence is commonplace. Otherwise they are not being realistic.

        • Mc

          And you engage in yet another logical fallacy, this one known as a straw man argument. I.e. Zionist Lackey didn’t state that people should live in slavery or under a totalitarian, union-free country.
          Could you clarify why exactly you insist on basing so much of your output on logical fallacies?

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        “Priced themselves out of the market”.Are you joking? Hansard dated 28 Jan 1974 records average pay for men in the UK at April 1973 as £38.10 a week. At that time miners were paid £27.50 a week. Later in 1974 miners secured a rise to £36 a week but meanwhile inflation had been running at 20%.

    • Matt is well aware. After all, it was his uncle Nicholas Ridley who drew up the battle lines in The Ridley Plan.

    • Tom M

      “….Please please don’t tell me the mines were ‘uneconomic’ -….”
      I’ll take you on with that comment. I am looking at this moment the NCB Annual Accounts books figures up till 1989 and the figures from the Central Valuation Board before those. The mines made a profit of around 4 to 5 shillings a ton up to about 1960 when the losses ovewhelmed any profitable individual pit (and there were one or two of those).
      Terms of the debate; it is the profitablilty of the NCB deep mines in total we are discussing not the revised figures due to the highly profitable opencast mning activities. What I am not including is any liability for pensions or interest repayments or Coal Industries Act repayments that were “absorbed” by the Governemnt both of which would make the figures even worse.
      A good example of what happened to the coal industry Alison is Arthur Scragill demanding that no pit should ever be closed as long as a pound of coal remained to be dug out (ignoring the cost and whether anyone wanted to buy it).

      • starfish

        Oh dear quoting facts to a lefty… you should realise it is not is true it is what they believe that counts!

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        You only consider the profit and loss and not the broader social cost or global ecological impact. If it was mining jobs Scargill was safeguarding he did it, only trouble is they were in Poland, China and S Africa, not Maltby ,Merthyr or Mansfield.

        • Tom M

          Perhaps you didn’t read all of it. My post was in reply to Alison Lane’s strong contention that the mines were not uneconomic. That is why I quoted the NCB accounts. And if you read my post you will see that they most definitely were uneconomic.
          Her explicit point was that it was a Tory Government plot to close profitable mines. It would be a nice gesture if she and others recognised that her contention was wrong.
          Just leave the point there and don’t try to broaden the debate. That’s what people do when they are losing the argument. Stick to the economic point under discussion. Refute it if you can.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            I refute it. Coal production in 1983 was at 145 million tonnes and on your NCB figures was losing £3 a tonne. A modest subsidy of £450 million a year would have kept 250,000 people and their wider families off benefits and paying taxes.
            Instead we were lumbered with £2.5 billion in redundancy costs, £2 billion in decommissioning expenses, £1 billion a year in welfare payements, extra retraining costs, extra policing costs, suicides, vandalism, drug abuse, drunkeness and divorce.
            Thatcher attacked the very fabric of a proud working class and did so out of wretched dogma. Miners were not Communists, if they were we’d have had Communist MPs in the 1980’s. You people are apologists for the toffs and you are dangerous.

          • Tom M

            110 million tons actually. Made up from 7.7 million tons from the Scottish Area and the rest from Wales (I’ve no actual figures on how much from Wales if any at that time) and England. But I’ll wait till you repost the part post that finished ” A modest subsidy of….” to contemplate further.
            Although having said that anybody that started by claiming the NCB was profitable and Thatcher lied about the finances just to get at the unions and finishes by saying “A modest subsidy of….” has clearly lost the argument.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Thanks, so the subsidy need only have been £350 million per year. I maintain the pits were profitable to society on a wider scale and to the planet.
            Not sure what you mean by unfinished posts.
            The money given to the banks could have kept us in coal for another 100 years.

          • Tom M

            You are wrong about the tonnage and my post has disappeared. If it doesn’t show up I’ll post it again.
            “..Miners were not communists..”. Along the road from me in the 80s was a small mining village that had communist councillors and a street called Gagarin Way. The locals called it “Little Moscow”. I knew Mick McGahey, if you remember that stalwart of democracy (he hailed from around there) so don’t talk to me about miners not being communists.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            So in one pit village there were some Communists. Enoch Powell wasa Tory, did that make them all racists?

    • MA0

        “Hey Matt, ever wondered what happened to the coal industry in this country? Did the Green Party and the Guardian get in league and destroy it with nasty articles?”

      Basically, yes. Union Marxists held the country to ransom too many times. I remember doing my homework by candlelight. The only option was to get foreign coal, which was cheaper and didn’t depend on whether some or other brain-washed union felt like waging class war that week. Thatcher did this country a great service proving to the miners that their presumed monopoly wasn’t one. Ever since, unions have been somewhat more nervous about blackmailing the British public.

      British industry was destroyed not by Thatcher, but by belief in the Marxist idea that there be advantage for workers when organised labour wages war against the boss.

  • Sean L

    *where millions die each year from the effects of cooking over smoky wood fires.*

    Yes people in African cook on charcoal fires – contained in iron stoves. Never heard of a single person dying from such a fire though, let alone millions. Hard to imagine how anyone *could* perish from such a thing. Doubtless the Greens might claim they do… But I’m surprised to hear you repeating such rubbish when you’re otherwise a masterly debunker of the green cr*&p… Apparently it’s claimed that they cause chest infections from being used in poorly ventilated conditions. Absolute garbage. I’ve got family in Kenya and we use them all the time in very cramped conditions: the smoke is scarcely detectable. In any event if the smoke was a problem people could easily put them outside – they’re not stupid! And it tends to be available in abundance in Africa, space outside in the sunshine…

    • In search of a witty moniker

      Actually the impact is cumulative:

      “Indoor air pollution is by far the biggest environmental problem of the world. Every year, 4.3 million people die due to the exposure to household air pollution caused by indoor open fire. To bring this in perspective: This is 45-times the number of the global annual deaths from natural catastrophes (±95,000 in the 2010s). And much more than twice the number of people dying because of AIDS (1.5 million in 2013). It is probably the most unreported of the world’s big problems.
      The burning of solid fuels fills the houses and huts in poorer countries with thick smoke that kills the world’s poor by causing pneumonia, stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. It is predominantly women and young children who are killed by indoor air pollution.”

      http://www.maxroser.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Share-Using-Solid-Fuels-for-Cooking-Indoor-Air-Pollution4.png

      • Sean L

        In Africa you don’t see open fires for cooking but charcoal stoves. I’ve seen and used them myself in five diferent countries. You see open fires for burning rubbish, but I was referring to cooking only. And these charcoal stoves scarcely give off any smoke at all – that’s the point. So wherever your stats are from, and who am I to doubt them, they cannot be based on people cooking their food in Africa. Besides, in the slums where people live in little shacks, they tend to cook outside anyway. Go to an African urban area and you can see for yourself. If you’re a mzungu they’ll probably offer you something for yourself.;.

        • mrsjosephinehydehartley

          Thank you. It’s always better to hear from somebody who really knows what is going on. Some of these research types have never lived, it seems.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Some of those living types have never researched. That much is clear.

        • In search of a witty moniker

          Hi Sean, you’ve perhaps travelled more widely in Africa than I have, and I’m simply pulling the quotes from Max Roser at Oxford University, who presents lots of realistic (and thus positive) facts about our world in a very accessible form. That doesn’t mean the data are right, of course, and here are his sources if you wish to check, taken from the huge main page at http://www.maxroser.com (do Ctrl F to search for words on the page to locate if you wish to follow the links):

          “These data are taken from Bonjour et al. (2013) – Solid Fuel Use for Household Cooking: Country and Regional Estimates for 1980–2010. Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1205987. Online here. The data (by country) is available in the supplemental material document which is online here.

          The authors are Sophie Bonjour, Heather Adair-Rohani, Jennyfer Wolf, Nigel G. Bruce, Sumi Mehta, Annette Prüss-Ustün, Maureen Lahiff, Eva A. Rehfuess, Vinod Mishra, and Kirk R. Smith.

          Countries are grouped by WHO region and income category (WHO 2012e; see Supplemental Material, Table S2).”

          • Sean L

            Yeah just makes no sense to me at all …. Why would you have an open fire indoors *in Africa*? We have open fires here, of course, for warmth even for cooking – my relatives in the west of Ireland had no electricity – and the smoke goes up the chimney. There are three types of cookers I’ve seen in Africa: electric, much the same as ours; their equivalent of a range, our Aga, Rayburn etc, which is incorporated into the stucture of small prefab type dwellings in urban areas, fuelled by charcoal where the smoke goes up a chimney just like ours; and finally and most commonly the small charcoal stove which gives off hardly any smoke, that’s the point of them. And as I said earlier, people in slums, i.e. tiny shacks, tend to use them outside anyway. Not because of the smoke but because of space and because it tends to warm most of the time in most of Africa. You see them everywhere, and the bags of charcoal on sale everywhere. My sister in law in Nairobi has a decrepit electric cooker with one hotplate, so when cooking we’d have the charcoal stove going on the kitchen floor at the same time. You wouldn’t notice any smoke from it at all. So yeah I’d be very sceptical of those WHO stats – which of course is itself effectively a campaigning body with its own agenda…

          • Mc

            I lived and travelled in Southern Africa. In Southern Africa, it is common for people in rural and urban areas to light open fires indoors, powered by charcoal, coal or wood (if they could afford wood only). Cooking fires are lit indoors to keep the cook and the fire out of the rain, for privacy and to have utensils to hand (some people have a hut dedicated to cooking). Heating fires are lit indoors to minimize fire heat loss.

            Like with many diseases, I’m sure that not everyone exposed to fire smoke would become ill, though it sounds logical that long term exposure to particulates would be problematic for some.

    • randomusername

      ‘windfarms, which kill eagles and spoil landscapes’

      This was a gem. Now it is unfortunate that Eagles get killed by windfarms, as it is that birds die when getting sucked into plane engines, or even a fly hitting a car’s windshield, but to demand the end of windfarms based on that…
      And that they ruin landscapes… Not to the extent that effects of Global Warming will, something I noted the article does not actually touch upon which is curious as it is partially a response to an article which did deal seriously with some of your former claims about the lack of dangers caused by climate change.

      • kentgeordie

        I think the point is that, as well as being useless and expensive, wind turbines are ugly and have a damaging effect on the environment.

        • randomusername

          Useless might be a bit harsh. They do make it around 10% of power in Germany, for example. And the only damage to the environment mentioned above was that it is unsightly.

      • lindzen4pm

        Global warming?
        When is that gonna happen?

        • randomusername

          happening.

          • lindzen4pm

            When was that? Must have missed it.

        • victor67

          Matt Ridley knows as much about climate change as he did about Banking.
          In 2004 he inherited the Chairmanship of Northern Rock from Daddy. Soon after he wrote an article in the Torygraph describing Government as a “self seeking flee” on the backs of the more productive people in society.
          In 2007 Ridley and his cronies managed to bankrupt Northern Rock and went to the “self seeking flee” cap in hand for a £17billion bailout. For his endeavours he got a peerage from the Tory party and now sits in the House of lords. This is what Tory Britain is all about today. Socialism for the rich and raw brutal capitalism for the rest.
          Now Ridley spouts pseudo-science around climate change when all that he is is a lobbyist for the fossil fuel and carbon industries.

          • lindzen4pm

            Yadda yadda… class war… blah blah. However, his points are, as usual, sensible and well made. The only pseudo-science is spouted by proponents of climastrology, as real world temps fail to increase for 18+ years, while the famed models’ predictions diverge from reality.
            By the way, Lord Ridley inherited the title, but, hey-ho, much like your climate disaster schtick, it doesn’t fit the narrative.

          • victor67

            So you thought he did a good job at Northern Rock?
            He should be in jail rather than the House of lords. The guy is an imposter and its only the Murdoch and Barclay rags indulging him.
            Like Gideon’s cronies at HSBC who donate to the Tories they will be spared scrutiny.

          • lindzen4pm

            His other interests have no bearing on this subject. He is very sound on energy and talks sense on climate change and the hysteria that surrounds it. If you have an issue with his pronouncements, say so. Otherwise it is more pathetic ad hom nonsense.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            He inherited the title, but the sense of entitlement and self regard were instilled at Eton and Magdalen like the other toffs.

          • lindzen4pm

            Shouldn’t you two be spying for the Russians.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Shouldn’t you wipe that dribble from your chin?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Ridley was at N Rock since 1994.His hands are much dirtier than you think.

    • Mary Ann

      It’s a bit like cigarettes, I know someone who smoked 20 a day until he was 95 doesn’t mean that smoking doesn’t shorten your life by 7 to 10 years.

  • randomusername

    This is more than a bit disingenuous:
    The photo of the beheaded Zombie was in an article dated 21st of january. Mr. Kenji Goto was beheaded on the 30th of January. The uproar seemed to follow after the beheading adding distaste to the image (and certainly the comments made by a ‘contributor’, the individual in question wrote an article 5 years prior, was dumb). Not on the same day, Mr Ridley complained on the same day as the beheading occurred.

    This is dishonest on Ridley’s part. Furthermore the article in question actually dealt with the issues ridley brought up, something he seems unwilling to respond to. This is a bit silly frankly.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Ridleys are always dishonest. It is the Tory disease.

    • Isage000

      There were 2 closely related Japanese beheadings,the Youtube video of the first, of Haruna Yukawa, was mainstream news on 24 January, but the exact execution date is unknown. Goto was attempting to negotiate Yukawa’s release, but video of his beheading appeared on 30 January.

  • Dogsnob

    And for the heinous crime of voting for the only party who are interested in curbing immigration, Guardianistas will scream ‘fascist’.

    • Edward Studor

      The left are the real fascists. Socialism inexorably leads to totalitarianism, but the left are too thick to realise that, despite the accumulation of evidence from the 20c.

      • Richard

        It’s not that they don’t realise it, it’s that they want it. They desire that their ideology be imposed, at any cost. Voting is simply a means to that end. Don’t kid yourself that it’s anything else.

        • Mary Ann

          Bit like the Tories.

          • Richard

            Not from what I saw between 1997 and 2010. The Left are so convinced that they hold the moral cards and that they are unapproachably correct in all things, that how people vote is irrelevant. For instance, even though people asked Labour for years to reduce immigration, and all polls showed such people in the overwhelming majority, Labour refused because they felt it was morally wrong to do so. Ditto a referendum on the EU. How is that democratic by any definition?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Not just a bit. Exactly like. The Tories were bought by the Mont Pelerin society around 1977 and agreed to impose the will of the CoLC as from 1982. They deregulated the City in 1987 and this led directly to the credit crunch of 2007/08.
            The latter was a massive socialist bail out of feckless, reckless lenders and the government sanctioning of pocket lining by the 1%.

      • LarryInIowa

        The original Fascists were leftists. The “progressives” in both the US and the UK loved Mussolini for years. Communists and Fascists are simply rivals. certainly not opposites as the leftists claim.

        • Robbydot1

          The current fascists are leftists. UAF, the SWP et al.

          • Mary Ann

            Isn’t the UAF against fascism

            And fascism is right wing

            http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/fascism

            Unless of course you think your definition is better than the OED.

          • Robbydot1

            Ostensibly, but they sure act like fascist thugs.

          • Edward Studor

            Fascism is not right-wing. All the historical evidence and political theory puts in firmly on the left. I shall be writing to this dictionary to put them right. Somebody there is ignorant of politics.

        • Frankie James

          Once read online a comment years ago which made me chuckle,don’t know who wrote it …
          Marxism had 3 daughters,Communism,Socialism and Fascism.
          I think there is some truth in that.

        • Mary Ann
      • Annette

        Fascists are the real fascists.

      • Mary Ann

        http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/fascism

        fascism, right wing. Unless you think you know better.

        • Edward Studor

          Adolf Hitler – “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”
          Nazis/Fascists were only termed ‘right wing’ after WWII as a propaganda device by the left to denigrate the right. Before the war the Nazis of Germany and fascists of Italy were known more accurately as socialists.
          Hitler became leader of the German Workers Party and renamed it the National SOCIALIST Workers Party. Mussolini before 1922 was editor of the foremost socialist newspaper in Italy and was a renowned Marxist.
          Yes I do know better.

          • Mary Ann

            Well if that is your idea of socialism it certainly isn’t mine, socialism is the strong looking after the weak rather than walking all over them like the Tories do. As for killing 6 million Jews, I suppose you think that that is socialist.

          • Edward Studor

            ‘As for killing 6 million Jews, I suppose you think that that is socialist.’

            It isn’t right-wing either. It was the result of Hitler’s warped mind.
            To be right-wing is to want minimal government intervention, and to have the rights of the individual paramount. That hardly sounds like fascism does it?
            Socialism inexorably leads to totalitarianism. Was Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mussolini – were they right-wing?
            Socialism sounds great, and its goals are commendable, until it’s put into practice. I’m afraid you have the naive, student view of socialism.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            What rights of the individual.? You would deny them the right to withold labour to improve their lot. You prefer the right of the boss to hire and fire on a whim.

          • Edward Studor

            Of course not. You have to have leeway on both sides of the political spectrum. An extreme right-wing government would be the Victorian administration which oversaw millions die in the potato famine in Ireland, rather than break the rules of the market. An extreme left-wing regime would be Stalin’s Russia where equality usurped the freedom of the individual. A balance has to be made for a society to prosper in a benign environment,

    • Patrick Roy

      Fascist scum.

      • Dogsnob

        Yes, thanks for reminding me: ‘Fascist scum’.
        And you base this on what?

        • Patrick Roy

          Oh, I just didn’t want to see you leave out the full official title for anyone with a conservative mindset. I, too, am in hiding, Dogsnob.

          • Dogsnob

            You’re all heart Patrick. What are you hiding from?

          • Patrick Roy

            You’d be surprised…

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Reality I think

          • Patrick Roy

            Back to the mines Yvon and Barry!

      • oldoddjobs

        I have never in my life met a fascist. Have you? A real one, and not one whose sinister secret identity has to be divined by left wing mages. Maybe they are secretly fascists, seems unlikely though. Fascists never had any problem proudly identifying and promoting themselves, did they?

        • Patrick Roy

          Maybe one or two.

  • Patrick Roy

    The publication is garbage, but did you ever check out the IQ of the morons who post in their forums..? #KnowYourAudience

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      How do I go about checking the IQs of around 1.5 million Guardian readers or the 20,000 or so who post there?

  • TNT

    Interesting. I’ve long thought that anyone associated with The Guardian is better off dead.

  • Bonkim

    Whilst acknowledging that renewables offer no long term alternatives to coal and other fossil fuels, we need to look beyond such comparisons.

    Industrial development on the scale that exist today only became possible on the back of opening up the huge fossil fuel resources during the 20th century. Technological developments in turn allowed industrial and agricultural production to grow which in turn lead to the population explosion – 7billion+ and growng and a world economy based on ever widening production/consumption chain.

    Regardless of whether diesel is more harmful than other fuels and relative merits of different energy sources on climate change, we need to acknowledge that unless populations are reduced to pre-1900s levels and also consumption rates, there is no hope that mankind will survive beyond a century or two if not decades.

    • MA0

      This argument has been made since the dawn of history. It is a sentiment only. It may be true, despite always being false in the past, but there isn’t much evidence either way.

      This question demands a numerical answer: what is the ‘optimal’ number of humans? If your answer is less than the current number, how do you intend to make the surplus die?

      • Bonkim

        Give or take a few billion – if you were an engineer or numerate not too difficult to look up the reserves of energy and mineral resources, also land, water and population data – plenty of that about to find out that decision horizons of national governments and even large multi-nationals don’t go beyond a few years – may be decades.

        The general view is that we are consuming two or three planet’s worth for the 7+billion population today – and if everyone on earth got into the consumption patterns of the US or Europe – mankind’s tenure will not last beyond a century or two if not decades – now what is the point of arguing whether we will die tomorrow or the day after?

  • Castro Spendlove

    Of course someone at the Guardian wants you beheaded. One only has to look at the comments section of the on-line newspapers to see that its readership is, by a long stretch, the nastiest of the nasty.

  • Annette

    Amazing how successfully censorious white men get when the shoe is on the other foot.

    Women put up with this kind of vile abuse all the time on the Internet and are told by white dudes to suck it up because it’s all about their free speech.

Close