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.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Be really naughty this Bank Holiday, or "I just love my patio heater".....

First, for my non-UK readers, I must explain that we are enduring one of our ill-timed extended Bank Holiday weekends (you know what I mean: mixed weather, no trains, roads clogged, and everyone in the middle of exams, etc.).

Inevitably this brings out the puritan Greens in hordes. Today, they appear to be inveighing against the joys of patio heaters, a topic on which it is all too easy to be 'Even-More-Cromwellian-Than-Thou'. The Director of FoE is reported as saying: "It is hard to imagine a device that inflicts more gratuitous damage on the environment." [Not, pray, if they keep souls lounging at home and out of cars and planes, My Lord Protector!]

I adore our family patio heater. We have already enjoyed al fresco fun on a number of occasions when the lack of any signs of 'global warming' would otherwise have driven us indoors. [By the way, this year is clearly 'cool'. We have not yet had to turn on our bedroom fan once: is this a record? Nearly worth a letter to The Times, I deem - first cuckoo, first fan, first central heating, and so on .... Still, we may have to do so the day after tommorow.]

In truth, I've had enough of puritanical pontifications. So, may I ask you to indulge yourself in a thoroughly 'naughty', and totally un-metro PC, holiday weekend by annoying all the Green puritans, as follows? Thanks:

(1) go out and buy a lovely, large, stainless steel patio heater (here are some classic garden patio heaters and table top heaters); then,
(2) sitting outdoors beneath your new pride-and-joy (when not raining, of course), sip a resolutely non-organic bottle of fine wine ['organic' wine is a total waste of taste and tin]; then,
(3) having finished that novel you've had hanging around for weeks, lazily pen a brief letter to Lord Whitty of Camberwell, our doughty Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Farming, Food and Sustainable [Yuk!] Energy, in support of James 'Gaia' Lovelock's recent call for an immediate return to nuclear power. [James, along with patio heaters, is inevitably deep in broadsheet Green manure this weekend because of his audacity to have an independent mind - "More in sorrow than in anger", they weep - you can just watch the sea-level rising with all the crocodile tears being shed]; then,
(4) if the letter writing is going well, pen another to Sainsburys, Tesco, etc., demanding immediate shelf space for newly-EU-approved GM products. Remember you want consumer choice to buy these (no Cromwellian dictators, thank you); finally,
(5) [It is a Bank Holiday after all!] When the heavens open, pop off to your local flea-pit to howl with laughter (emulating The Times' critic) at The Day after Tomorrow (DAfT), remembering to vote on EnviroSpin's very own 'Howlometer' [opposite] when you return to the warmth of home ..... and your patio heater.

Philip: Motto: Veterascere vexare. Coffee on the patio?

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

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