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Piers Corbyn interview

I noticed an interesting interview with Piers Corbyn in the Guardian from a couple of months ago. Corbyn is probably Britain's top long-range weather forecaster (for what that's worth), and is the brother of Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of the UK's Labour party.


It turns out that Piers Corbyn switched to his current weather forecasting career about thirty years ago after providing advice to the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) about whether 1984/85 would be a good time to hold their national coal-mining strike. Corbyn forecast that the 1984/85 winter would be colder than usual, and was pleased enough with how his predictions worked out to think that his forecasting technique was viable.

He also explains something that slightly puzzled me, why somebody like him with a strong interest in the weather didn't end up working in the Met Office. Corbyn reckoned that he was too left wing to be able to pass the security clearance as the Met Office was run by the Ministry of Defence.

His views on Margaret Thatcher's promotion of global warming in the 1980s are similar to a lot of British AGW sceptics - he thought that it was really a ploy to get rid of the troublesome coal-mining industry and to assist in de-industrialising the UK, moving the UK from manufacturing to the more service-based economy preferred by Mrs T.

Corbyn also expresses the view that the British Left stopped thinking in 1989. That fits in with a theory I've had since the 1970s. I came to the conclusion in the 1970s that there were two types of British lefty. One type, that would probably nowadays be classified as 'Old Labour', did a slight bit of thinking and were concerned about the proletariat. The second type emerged from the 1970s youth faction of the Liberal party, the "Young Liberals", led by Peter Hain (who later on became a Labour MP and government minister) and this lot did no thinking at all and had no interest in the proletariat. The Young Liberals basically campaigned for various progressive causes like protesting against South Africa (which seemed to mainly involve disrupting cricket and rugby tours by South African teams), and they also took up the environmentalist cause that was adopted by the Liberal party itself at the end of the decade. Political correctness seemed to start up with these Young Liberals as well. By the 1990s the brainless version of left-wingery pioneered by the Young Liberals seemed to me to have become predominant within the British Left. You could say that the only country in the world today where the lefties still do any thinking is China, the rest of the world's lefties have succumbed to the brainless version.