Iain Dale on the Perils of Saying Something Nice

Iain Dale wrote last week about the adverse comments he received when twittering some appreciative comments about a political opponent.

The worrying bit about this is not in making politics divisive and generally unpleasant. It is that we are not open to learning from experience and one another. Instead we have to be right and can never admit to having got things wrong.

Two important areas where this applies.

1. The Economy. Labour cannot admit that the financial regulations were ineffective during the boom years, nor that the recessions were abolished, merely postponed by the central banks. Gordon Brown is responsible for setting up a tripartite structure that was fundamentally flawed. He was also responsible for creating structural deficits through “only borrowing to invest”. To admit that he was wrong, would mean be blamed for recking the public finances for the next generation.  The consequence is that the bankers carry the full blame. Anyone who does agree is siding with this greedy and unscrupulous minority.

2. Climate Change. Anyone who did not agree with the scientific consensus was considered delusional, a political extremist, or in the pay of the oil companies. Now that the science has been shown to be suspect and biased, there is no possibility of a climb down without loss of face.

This country will be poorer for a generation because those in power have built a false image of infallibility. Further, if the climate change exaggerations are not forgotten, the impact will be much longer than that. The Conservatives should learn from this.

Finally, I hope that Iain Dale should keep on appreciating the good things in the Conservative party opponents, criticizing the conservatives who he thinks as wrong, as well as recognizing (and apologizing) his own errors. The general political debate is richer for it.

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.