The subject of this book is climate change scepticism. Although the words 'climate change' are guaranteed to cause one's eyes to glaze over regardless of the context in which they appear, the title caught my eye because I have previously alluded, as does the title of this book, perhaps unconsciously, to the political rhetoric of the late Roberto d' Aubuisson, so I thought I'd give it a go.
For what my opinion's worth, and it is only my opinion, James Delingpole, its author, sometimes seems to labour under what certainly as far as I am concerned is the misconception that his readers might be as dazzled by his prose style as he appears to be himself. In a book which is packed with information and quotations, always a sign that a lot of hard graft and honest good work have gone into the preparation of a book, there is still rather too much of the author. No disrespect, but it's a view - you might disagree with it, you might not, but one can still say it. One's own view of the whole climate change thang is that any phenomenon both advocated and opposed so bitterly has got to be a load of nonsense, and in this regard I am at one with Mr. Delingpole. He makes his case well, the first violins of his argument remaining clearly audible through the crashing cymbals of his prose style. If he was trying to be entertaining, then sometimes he does certainly succeed, though not perhaps in the way he might have been intending - one almost laughed out loud when one saw that he was actually quoting Matt Ridley's thoroughly squalid and meretricious book 'The Rational Optimist'. That was hilarious.
Yet no matter what one might say about how the book is written, Mr. Delingpole must be commended both for his intellectual honesty and for his refusal to shy away from matters his discussion of which could easily lead to him being labelled a conspiracy theorist. It's gratifying to know that I'm not the only person I've ever come across who seems to have heard of the Georgia Guidestones, for example, nor that I am not alone in taking their message seriously. He also has a good go at Sir David Attenborough, an act which always qualifies as a good day's work in my book, and Chris Packham, changing my opinion of him from being a self-confessed misanthrope of a particularly nasty stripe (see his appearance on 'Room 101', BBC Television) to being a serial one. Mr. Delingpole also digs up a fascinating quote from the Duke of Edinburgh on his vision for the future of humanity - "In the event that I am reincarnated (blogger's note - this is contrary to the doctrines of the church of which his missus is the head), I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation". While this quote, to be found on Page 183 of Mr. Delingpole's book, was not referenced in its index, a rare lapse in his standards, having to go and find it has made quoting it all the sweeter.
Although it's not the easiest of reads - and a very technical subject is never going to be an easy read, no matter how hard the author tries - it's by no means a waste of time either. If you're interested in some good old-fashioned right-wing froth on climate change scepticism it is infinitely more accessible than Nigel Lawson's 'An Appeal to Reason', a work which manages the difficult feat of being both clearly written and opaque, and which is only really memorable for making me wonder in just what fertile soil lie the roots of what seem to me to be his rather outre views on kitchen hygiene. Delingpole 1, Lawson 0.