Futerra – The Propagandists of Climate Change Totalitarianism?


Ian Dale takes issue with the way taxpayer money is being used to indoctrinate people about climate change
The PR agency Futerra have produced a leaflet which allegedly make “It’s the use of totalitarian indoctrination techniques designed to manipulate public opinion.”

Having a quick look at their website, I am not sure from what perspective Futerra are coming from.

From the comments Dale makes they seem like a bunch of frustrated Marxists. The deniers are suffering from false consiousness. Hence the comments about there being no ‘rational man’ and using social learning. Then again, they could be frustrated telly-evangelists from the comments about “Link climate change mitigation to positive desires aspirations” and again use of social learning (or collective worship).

This can be more clearly seen from other documents on their website.

Be part of the revolution.” (http://www.futerra.co.uk/revolution/)

But this document provides the best clues. – http://www.futerra.co.uk/downloads/Sellthesizzle.pdf

“For years we’ve tried to ‘sell’ climate change, but a lot of people aren’t buying. Despite a strange recent resurgence in denial, the science is unequivocal.” “For all of us desperately promoting action, finding ingenious ways to communicate climate change or just banging our heads against the hard brick wall of climate denial – we need to find the sizzle.”

Translated as – the truth is self-evident to those of us who are in the know, we just have to explain it better.

The religious analogy is then clearly stated.

“Climate change sounds like hell, so where is heaven?

Climate change itself isn’t the sizzle, it’s the sausage. That’s where our second metaphor comes in. The most common message on climate change is that we’re all going to hell.” And “Hell doesn’t sell”


“Heaven sizzles

But there is one message that almost every audience responds to. A narrative that changes hearts, minds and even behaviours. An approach needed now more than ever before. And it’s the opposite of climate hell. We must build a visual and compelling vision of low carbon heaven.”

Or maybe neither is right. Maybe it is just a sideline of the Prime Minister’s. After all Futerra state For nearly nine years we’ve helped you save the world.” We know that such a statement can only refer to Gordon Brown. (http://www.futerra.co.uk/home) The New Labour theme also chimes with the ‘message is right, just the communication that is wrong.’

Maybe it is time for some of their clients to take another look at their Eco PR agency. Beneath its thin green veil lie fanatical, intolerant and pseudo-religious views.

If we are truely concerned with the planet, maybe we should weigh up the evidence, take on board genuine complaints and listen. In the realm of science it means a bit of humility and recognizing when we get things wrong.

Will Labour be kicked out by voters in the marginals?

Mike Smithson  of politicalbetting.com has posted the results of IPSOS-MORI analysis, which shows the swing to the Tories is greater in the LAB-CON marginals than in the country as a whole.

Unlike Smithson, I do not find this surprising. It is not due to an anti-Labour bias (though I confess, indeed proclaim this), but due to a simple analysis. There is considerable resentment of the current Labour government, that may surpass in the polls that of the Tories in the late nineties. That is, where they are able people will vote to get the government out. In a Tory or Lib Dem seat this will not matter. In a solid Labour seat, there is a de-motivating factor. But in a Labour marginal seat – and that can include seats with greater than 10% majorities, voting against the Labour candidate may help remove the government.

This is why I do not believe it when pundits say the Tories getting 40% of the vote against 30% for Labour will result in a hung parliament. We may not get a reverse of 2005, where Labour were on 35%, just 2% ahead of the Tories and still with a working majority. But the resentment factor is now mostly directed at Labour, and they will get punished accordingly, with the Tories being the principle beneficiaries.

Stephanomics shows anti-Tory Bias

Stephanie Flanders, on her BBC blog Stephanomics, can often provide thoughtful comments on the UK economy. Yesterday’s blog, “Cameron’s Nixon Moment” is anything but.

“Nixon famously denied he was a crook. At the weekend David Cameron denied he was a recovery-wrecker, confronting directly the argument that faster deficit reduction would jeopardise growth.”

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the arguments that SF later presents. There is a double meaning.

  1. The superficial one. Nixon’s claim that he was not a crook worked against him. So will Cameron’s denial that he is not a recovery-wrecker.
  2. Guilt by association. Nixon lied about Watergate. He was a crook and only a Presidential pardon allowed him to escape prosecution. The Tories, in trying to cut the deficit will wreck the economic recovery. They are not campaigning to do what is better for the country

There is no distinction made between the political realities (don’t frighten the voters) and the economic realities of doing what is best for the country. This is a tightrope all political parties are walking. With an election looming, the leaning is towards the political side. Any impartial analysis should recognize this. An impartial economic analysis should recognize the real risks that the economy is facing.

The economic reality is this

  1. We have a total deficit of over 12% of GDP. The majority of this is structural. On the Government’s optimistic growth forecast, the deficit will be reduced by a boom, but the structural deficit will be largely untouched. (At the top of the economic cycle, the actual deficit will be less than the structural)
  2. Most of the growth since 2001 has come from two sectors on the output side – the State and the financial services sector. Neither will contribute much to the recovery. In the expenditure side, much of the boom was debt financed – both consumer spending and Government spending.
  3. The flexibility of the UK economy has diminished in the past decade due to increased regulation. The growth will be slow from other sectors.
  4. Due to the high levels of debt, the recovery is at the mercy of interest rates. A modest rise could reverse the recent house price rises, and could add to the cost of servicing the National Debt.
  5. If the deficit is not tackled we could pass a tipping point. Every higher national debt will lead to higher interest rates, which will increase the debt, leading to higher interest rates. The only way out will be to have the IMF impose a solution. That will cause short-term intense expenditure cuts and tax rises. There may then be a long period of reduced growth the pay off the debt.