THE news of Lord Lawson’s death last night filled me with deep sadness. He was one of the most distinguished politicians of an era with which, with his death, we lose the final connection. This makes his passing one of true historical note – the last of the principled Conservatives, a remarkable politician driven by an intelligence and commitment to the truth that continued beyond his time in office into this century and his enormously significant and courageous challenge to modern climate ideology.
Without him, arguably, there would have been no public questioning of the new religion masked as science. His determination to set up the Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2009 was an appeal to reason, contrary to the naysayers of the London School of Economics and the rest of the establishment left.
Lord Lawson was a threat to the establishment. He broke ranks and his appeal to scientists, engineers and economists brought a formidable array of brains and manpower into the group he set up under the direction of Dr Benny Peiser. I was honoured to be invited to be a Trustee a few years ago.
The extent of the threat that Lawson personally was to the extraordinarily influential billionaire-funded climate movement that since the 1990s has captured most governments, institutions and corporations (including the Bank of England, and notably Ofcom) can be measured by the avidity of his public demonising and the pillorying of him as a ‘climate denier’. Not only was he banned from the BBC (bringing back memories of Lord Reith’s lengthy ban on Churchill) but so was anyone else with the temerity to question the new orthodoxy. The science was settled, the BBC decided in 2018.
Lord Lawson withstood constant abuse from the BBC that we began reporting in 2014. It culminated in Ofcom’s first impartiality ruling against the BBC. Why? Because the BBC hadn’t come down hard enough on Lord Lawson’s questioning of the received, unscientific wisdom. The BBC’s vilification of him goes back years, as David Keighley reported here, and on this site here and here and here again in 2018.
He was, as David pointed out, at the fulcrum of the BBC’s biased approach. They wanted Lawson’s head on a platter. By damning the BBC for even giving airtime to Lord Lawson, Ofcom delivered it to them.
It is a mark of this extraordinary man that he walked tall and never let the Maoist treatment of him deter him from his mission to bring real science back to the debate. It was not a way to court popularity with the establishment, the reverse in fact. In his latter years his deeply morally grounded position set him apart.
He was a man prepared to defy the groupthink regardless of the cost to him. His so-called Conservative successors should look at his career and hang their heads in shame. His is the legacy to be proud of: he never forgot the value of freedom of speech and independence of thought and he showed us as individuals what we must be prepared to do to defend it.
There will, I hope, be many more admiring words written about him. He will deserve them all.