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Credit where credit is due. George frisks a claim by Christopher Busby, who was formerly the science and technology spokesperson for the Green Party. Busby makes wild allegations about clusters of leukaemia found on the North Wales coast. See
Apart from one paragraph, about the increased burning of fossil fuel resulting from the nuclear shut-downs increasing climate change even our bending author would have been pleased to put his name to this piece.
Well that's a first. I haven't seen an article in the Guardian attacking an anti-nuclear activist before. The Guardian has provided an uncritical platform for several decades for various people who could be described as anti-nuclear activists like John Vidal, Rob Edwards. Katharine Hamnett, Jeremy Leggett, Jonathan Porrit, Caroline Lucas, and probably many more.
Chris Busby is I think Britain's craziest-looking anti-nuclear activist. He is always interviewed wearing a Che Guevara-style beret (or Citizen Smith-style beret for people more familiar with the old British TV comedy show).
I think the correct internet slang expression is 'fisks' rather than 'frisks' to describe a debunking of someone or an article written by them. The expression is named after The Independent's Robert Fisk, who had a knack of writing articles that attracted an often savage debunking by bloggers (Polly Toynbee would be another example of this type of article writer, but fortunately for her, the practice got named after Fisk).
For anybody interested, the definitive fisking of Chris Busby is given in a blog called "Chris Busby Exposed":
This blog consists of pretty much a single post about Chris Busby written in 2008. An update for 2011 has been added to the post following all the media exposure Busby has seen this year in connection with the Japanese nuclear accident.
Oops, what a difference a stray 'r' can make to the meaning of a sentence. But blow me down Monbiot is on a bit of a winning streak at the moment. His latest piece is taking a pop at the injustices of the beloved Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and in particular the way in which it further enriches the already rich.
Whilst it would be easy to dismiss this as the rantings of a deranged class warrior, having seen the unseemly rush to of big landowners to jump on the Feed In Tariff for Solar energy, I think there is more than a grain of truth in what he is saying. There is certainly no denying the corrupting influence of the EU on life in this country.
When Moonbat starts to talk sense, step back and wait.
After climategate he did a lot of grovelling hair shirt stuff but it didn't change his stance on AGW one iota. He was just distancing himself from the taint of corrupt science.
If he is making sense here it is because he sees a risk of this sort of blather harming his core objective. It isn't that he has changed his position but is alert to the dangers of over egging by people theoretically on his side of the fence.
In reply to JMW, I think Monbiot is genuinely pro-nuclear nowadays. In case you missed it, he declared his support for nuclear power as an important means of reducing CO2 emissions after the Japanese nuclear accident following the tsunami in March this year. (Monbiot's pro-nuclear declaration was discussed in the 'Earthquake in Japan' thread earlier this year) Since then he's written about half a dozen pro-nuclear power articles in the Guardian.
As I said in the 'Earthquake in Japan' thread I think Monbiot's days as a Guardian environmental journalist are likely to be numbered. He must be the only openly pro-nuclear environmental journalist in Britain, and possibly in the Western world. According to Monbiot's website, where he has adopted the idea of setting up a registery of interests, he has a contract with the Guardian worth £62K a year running up to Jan 31st 2012. Unless he does an about turn in the next two months, I'd be surprised if that contract was renewed, and I would guess that he would become a Mark Lynas style independent environmental writer after that.
I think Monbiot's agenda with the article attacking Chris Busby is that he's trying to marginalise Busby from the rest of the British Green movement. He's trying to portray Busby as just being some sort of 'loose cannon', but I think Busby is actually regarded as a scientific hotshot in British and European Green circles. Busby is the scientific secretary of some European Green group called the 'European Committee on Radiation Risk'. Also it is not definite that Busby is no longer the British Green party's National Speaker on Science and Technology as Monbiot is claiming. After a quick search I can't find out who the current holder of that title is, suggesting Busby may still have it. Busby is a classic example of what I call a Doomwatch-type scientist (after the Brtish TV show of that name in the early 1970s) and the Green movement has taken its scientific advice from these sort of people for forty years.
For anybody wondering about Monbiot's employment status with the Guardian, it turns out that his contract has been renewed. According to his registry of interests ( http://www.monbiot.com/registry-of-interests/ ), he is getting paid £62,007 to supply columns,blog posts and other material to the Guardian from 1st February 2012 to 31st January 2013.
I thought there was a fairly good chance that one of Britain's top promoters of AGW might have got the boot as a result of his pro-nuclear stance, but I suppose it depends who makes the decisions regarding these contracts, it may not be the environment editor.