Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Express' reliable sources

The Daily Express doesn't believe in climate change. This front page from last week made that clear. The quote marks around fraud show it is a quote from someone else but the phrasing makes it clear the, ahem, 'world's greatest newspaper' is of the same mind.

That was emphasised again on Tuesday 8 December when their Environment Editor's feeble article about Copenhagen was given the headline A load of hot air!

That's their exclamation mark, not mine.

And the sub-head was 'Climate change talks are £130m waste of time'.

£130m? Guess where that figure came from.

Yes, the TaxPayers' Alliance. Who else? It's not entirely clear what use this figure is, or even if it is very accurate. For example, all their calculations assume every one of the 15,000 delegates stays for the whole eleven days.

Also, they have allocated around £54 million to the salaries of delegates (the wages they are being paid from their job, over the eleven days of the conference) based on a median wage of £72,713. With enviable accuracy, they say:

While many delegates will be paid less than £72,713, many political, civil service and business leaders will be paid much more.

Glad that's clear then.

The Express has a graphic of figures 'relevant' to Copenhagen: 15,000 delegates, 5,000 journalists, 140 private jets, 1,200 limos and so on. It includes five figures from the TPA's report as if they are fact.

And also - just to show how serious the paper is about the subject - the really crucial number in the climate change debate:

1,400 prostitutes offering free sex to conference pass holders.

But the £130m is what the Express leads with, although they don't attribute the figure to the TPA, or even - shock! - quote them in the article.

That's even more miraculous given the third paragraph:

Critics claim the conference of 192 countries, costing £130million, is a “waste of time”.

As the article rumbles on, you wonder: who are these critics? Who are these climate change experts branding Copenhagen a:

summit of hot air.

Not the TPA but...the Association of British Drivers.

Yes, that world-renowned authority on climate change.

Their website looks similar to the cheap, cobbled-together mess of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, who also only get coverage because tabloid journalists are too lazy to do anything but go to the usual quote-whores.

It's not immediately clear how many members the Association of British Drivers has, but they have less than 400 followers on Twitter and less than 370 fans on Facebook. They're that influential. They believe environment policies are based on:

politics and hysteria

and say:

Find out how emotive scaremongering about pollution and man-made 'global warming' are being used to intimidate you out of your car.

So when a journalist phones them up to ask them about Copenhagen, they aren't looking for a rational and informed reaction. They want them to say something along the lines of:

'the summit of hot is a huge waste of time and effort which is likely to severely damage the economic recovery of Europe'.

Which the Express then turns into the basis for a whole article: headline by the Association of British Drivers, sub-head by the TPA.



  1. I've just posted a comment on the TPA website story about the fact that a decent management accountant wouldn't include salaries in their total as these would be paid whether they were at the conference or not.

  2. There's a guy named Sean Corker who runs the ABD operation in the Manchester area. He was heavily involved in the Vote No (sponsored and funded by Peel Holdings) Campaign when there was debate over bringing in a congestion charge in return for massive public transport investment last year. He spent his days trotting out all sorts of crap (ie. lies, bullshit and misinformation) about who'd have to pay, how much they'd have to pay, etc, to the local media.

    So its no surprise to see this lot in the same article as the TPA. Perfect bedfellows when it comes to tactics.



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