Posted by: Barry Bickmore | June 22, 2012

The Monckton Files: Back in the Attic

Back in the attic, Uncle Fester.  You were ok when the party was “not drowning in talent,” but we’re going to have to bench you now that the A-team of anti-windmill cranks has arrived.

My last post, a few weeks ago, was about Lord Christopher Monckton’s new role as hero to the Birther nuts here in the U.S.A.  I asked,

Just how far does this guy have to go before his ardent admirers start looking at their watches and pretending to have an urgent appointment to keep?

Well, the climate contrarians haven’t gotten the memo, yet, but some of Monckton’s other associates are shuffling His Lordship back in the attic, and padlocking the door.  (Charlotte Brontë would have been proud.)  

For the past few years Monckton has been associated with the UK Independence Party (UKIP), a fringe party in Great Britain that 1) hates the European Union, and 2) hates windmills.  At one point he was their Deputy Leader, and later he was head of their policy unit.  But Leo Hickman, writing for The Guardian, notes that the UKIP spokesman is now trying to put some distance between Monckton and the party.

As has become the norm at such international gatherings in recent years, the eccentric climate sceptic Lord Monckton has flown in to Rio to perform his party piece about how environmentalists are trying to establish a “world socialist government”, and such like. What is less clear these days is whether his colleagues at the UK Independence Party (Ukip) approve of such interventions.

Under Lord Pearson, the previous Ukip leader, Monckton was the party’s deputy leader and was also variously the head of the party’s policy unit, as well as its
spokesman on energy and the environment. But ever since fellow eccentric climate sceptic Roger Helmer defected from the Conservatives to Ukip earlier this year, he has assumed the latter role. So what, if any, role does Monckton now have at Ukip?

Gawain Towler, Ukip’s press spokesman, has confirmed to me this morning that Monckton “no longer has any formal role” with Ukip. Towler described Monckton as an “outlier” who is now “semi-detached” from the party, partly because he’s “barely in the country these days”. (Before arriving in Rio, Monckton had been touring the US Tea Party circuit casting doubt on the origins of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.)

I asked if there had been a falling out between Monckton and the current Ukip leader, Nigel Farage. Towler said not, but said that Monckton – whom he described as a “17th century pamphleteer” – was sometimes the source of “frustration” and was “very much Lord Pearson’s man – they own contiguous shooting estates in Scotland”. Towler added that Monckton had been active in the party at a time when it was “not drowning in talent”, but the recent surge in popularity for the party had seen a fresh influx of personnel. Monckton was a
“loose cannon”, said Towler, but Helmer is a “tied-down cannon, pointed in the same direction”.

Interestingly, Towler said Ukip was now considering which seats to target at the next election (or by-election). In an attempt to replicate Caroline Lucas’s successful tactic in 2010 when she targeted Brighton Pavillion in her quest to become the first Green MP, Ukip will focus its resources and attention on constituencies where there is sizeable opposition to wind farms and where there are “Greg Barker-type MPs”. Towler said that Ukip was now communicating with all anti-wind farm groups and offering them “help and assistance”.

“A 17th century pamphleteer.”  Ouch.  But if you doubt the accuracy of the analogy, compare Monckton’s latest Birther nutbaggery with The Popish Plot by Titus Oates.

Back in the attic, Uncle Fester.  You were ok when the party was “not drowning in talent,” but we’re going to have to bench you now that the A-team of anti-windmill cranks has arrived.

Which brings me back to the original question.  That is, what will Monckton have to do before the likes of Anthony Watts and Dick Lindzen no longer take him seriously?


  1. I’ve long battled Roger Helmer MEP. Given his denial of global warming, his stance on wind revolves totally round the economic. To him, the fact that a wind turbine generating electricity means that fossil fuel is not being burnt elsewhere is an irrelevance. His is a crusade against wind power:

    Oh, and he was a speaker at the last few Heartland conferences, and is a vehement supporter of those posters:

  2. I will admit that Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Roger Helmer is capable of appearing much more sensible than Lord Monckton but, he is still a scientifically-illiterate and ideologically-prejudiced fool when it comes to climate change… In 2009, he made a speech to the European Parliament on 4 February 2009, in which he quoted [journalist] Christopher Booker as having said that… “global warming alarmism is the greatest collective flight from reality in human history”; and described EU proposals as “…planning to spend unimaginable sums of money on mitigation measures which will simply not work [that will] deny us the funds we need to address real environmental problems.” In addition, Helmer has even accused the Church of England of having “abandoned religious faith entirely and taken up the new religion of climate change alarmism instead”.

    For more on the synchronicity between right-wing antipathy towards Europe in the UK and climate change denial, see:

  3. […] […]

  4. More lies by Monckie…..

    “By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley in Rio de Janeiro

    “BUT what about the ickle birdies?” wailed the ancient, off-blonde representative of the planet’s indigenous peoples in the shapeless, grimy, crumpled eco-sackcloth shift that is de rigueur this season among the female of the species here at the shapeless, grimy, crumpled Rio conference center.

    “Don’t you care? Because of global warming the ickle wormies that the ickle birdies eat won’t hatch out at the right time for the ickle birdies to eat them and the ickle birdies will all die! Don’t you even care about all the millions of humans that are running away from all those droughts and floods and things? It’s all our fault!””

    Guess what…. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS AN ICKLE BIRD OR AN ICKLE WORM! I can’t believe the denialists keep listening to this fraud.

    Keep the heat on him Dr. B

    • Hi Z,

      Rest assured that I’m on the case. Because it’s my civic duty, I can justify mocking a guy who is probably certifiable, and how often does a guy like me get to be so mean, and yet feel good about it afterward? “I’m not mocking him for being off his box,” I tell myself. “I’m really making fun of the people who think he’s some fearsome intellectual.” I’m probably rationalizing myself straight to hell, but my “Christopher Monckton” Google Alert is more addictive than crack, and I can’t help myself.

  5. Cooperating with anti-wind farm groups sounds like a great strategy for old farts. I didn’t know they had to get together on farms to blow their trumpets though.

    Any UKIP member that talks to the Guardian is a seriously loose cannon though.

  6. I love the new blog name, Barry. Did you see my most recent posts about Monckton? I am afraid I have now reached the end of the line with him. He has warn my down simply by the volume of the garbage he spews out when you ask him a simple question. He is simply incapable of being polite or reasonable. However, as Ben Goldacre has famously remarked, you cannot reason people out of positions they did not reason themselves into in the first place.

  7. […] last year a spokesman from the UK Independence Party (for which Monckton had been a top official) publicly bad-mouthed His Lordship, calling him “a loose cannon” and a “17th century pamphleteer”.  Now […]

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