James Delingpole looks at the huge fuss caused by hippy ratbags once again manipulating and falsifying science to suit their own agenda, no matter the cost.
“‘Victory for bees’ as European Union bans neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for destroying bee population” read a front page headline in theIndependent last year.
It was the culmination of an intense burst of campaigning by left-wing pressure groups Avaaz, Change.org, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, BugLife and the Environmental Justice Foundation which erupted from nowhere last year.
One minute, no one had heard of “neonicotinoids”. The next, it suddenly seemed as though everyone knew for certain that this pesticide was responsible for the “colony collapse” devastating the world’s bee populations and that therefore it should be banned by the EU as a matter of urgency.
Among those who lent their weight to the campaign were the fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett, the National Treasure Stephen Fry and dozens of activists charmingly and amusingly dressed in bee costumes. The impression given was that this issue was an absolute no brainer on which the jury of the wise, decent and informed had long since delivered their verdict: anyone who spoke up in favour of these evil chemicals was clearly nothing more than a science-denying bee-hating bastard in the pay of Big Pharma.
So why, almost instantly, did I smell a rat? Well apart from the obvious clue – any campaign involving Vivienne Westwood is, by definition, stupid, silly and wrong – there was also the matter of the unseemly haste with which these campaign groups were trying to force the legislation through. And the fact that the bully-mob tactics being used here were so redolent of the ones I’d seen elsewhere used by environmentalists to justify their scientifically dubious campaigns against everything from the forestry industry to the harmless trace gas carbon dioxide.
Green on the outside, red on the inside: that’s what these Watermelon campaigns are really about. So, with the help of investigative journalist Richard North, I began looking into the true story behind the ban.
What we found was appalling if not altogether surprising. The ban – heavily opposed by Britain’s then-Environment Secretary Owen Paterson – had rather less to do with proven necessity than it did with political horse-trading.
Indeed, the scientific evidence for justifying the ban seemed flimsy to the point of non-existence.
How then, could all these celebrities and campaign groups and environmental activists and EU apparatchiks and progressive media outlets (from the Guardian and the BBC to Huff Po) have been persuaded otherwise? On what kind of science were they basing their claims?
Well, now thanks to a happy internet leak we have our answer. It turns out that the “evidence” was cooked up at the suggestion of a cabal of activist scientists working for a supposedly neutral and independent environmental organisation called the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).