A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Hey, George, what's wrong with retirees.....?

Well, I'm back from the real world of 'down on the farm' to the virtuality of blogland. My apologies for my untoward absence, although I hardly expect the champagne corks to be popping in and around Islington at my resuscitation.

But what a day on which to return, when 'The Savonarola' himself, George Monbiot, puts the boot in on yours truly, not to mention on some of his more fiesty journalistic colleagues: 'Beware the fossil fools' (The Guardian, April 27).

Now, I can't be bothered to refute all George's naive stuff. It's just too boring (and, as luck would have it, Melanie Phillips has done the job quite splendidly anyway: 'Do lie down in a darkened room, George' [Diary, April 27]). But, I do admit that one word did rile this old fossil - 'retired', expressed, of course, in a derogatory way. You can just see the hint of a sneer. Yet, it is so symptomatic. As many bloggers and letter writers to The Groaniad have pointed out, the Achilles heel of this otherwise 'right-on' newspaper is always ageism! If you are over 50, you are truly out! This extraordinary blemish has been pointed out by no less than the Readers Editor himself.

Still, sadly for you, George, I am more active now than when I worked full time. What is more, I still edit the leading journal in my field (biogeography - a quintessential subject for any geological perspective on climate change) and I write and speak more than I ever could when snowed under with drifts of administration. And guess what, George? I might now have time enough to pen that book on 'Climates of opinion:the great global warming myth'. You would love it!

But, why should I bother or worry? The moment poor Mr. Blair turns any pale shade of green, guess who attacks him? Of course, the green movement! They have probably the most sympathetic prime minister ever and they still can't stop their puritanical pontificating: 'Green groups dismiss climate change "tokenism"' (The Guardian, April 27): "Environmentalists and green groups have poured scorn on the prime minister's commitment today to a new climate change group backed by big business." (See also: 'Climate issue "critical" to Blair', BBC UK Online News, April 27.)

So, perhaps, I don't need to blog at all; it might be prudent to adopt an Olympian stance and let the green bunnies get it out of their system once and for all. For the more I go round the country, the less I find people convinced by their hysteria and hyperbole. Give them enough rope.....

But hang it all. I have to fill up my long, empty and decrepit retirement with something, haven't I, George?

Philip, zimmerframing for truth. Tea - and, meanwhile, here are some other inciteful blogging comments on George M's diatribe: Laban Tall's Blog.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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