The McAleer/McElhinney bandwagon pulled into town on Thursday evening, with an appearance on TodayFM’s The Last Word with Anton Savage. The station had asked me to appear to challenge/counter some of his ‘global-warming-is-all-a-big-conspiracy-to-keep-you-poor-and-raise-taxes’ line of, for want of a better word, logic.
The bait was tempting, and yes, I admit, I took it. When Phelim’s opening line was “I intend to tell the truth”, I was immediately reminded of Richard Nixon gazing into the camera lens to assure the public that “I am not a crook”. It went downhill from there, with nearly 17 minutes of bare-knuckle “debate”. But there’s the rub: McAleer wears his ignorance of climate science like a badge of honour. His debating rhetoric is a slightly refined version of the schoolyard taunt that “you’re smelly”.
Nailing him down an any one specific lie proved elusive, since his entire project is a confection to begin with. He expressed total and I believe entirely genuine surprise that the IPCC is a panel comprising not just scientists, but also policymakers, politicians and planners. But rather than being mortified at his own astonishing lack of basic knowledge about an organisation his entire mockumentary is dedicated to discrediting, instead he goes the “you’re smelly!” route by saying how this ‘proves’ his argument. Jeeze.
Enough said. This exchange brings to the fore the old problem for everyone involved in this area: is it really a good idea at all to actually engage with these snake oil merchants, or are you simply playing into their hands by engaging in a faux ‘debate’ that only serves to confuse the public into believing that ‘the science is still undecided’ on climate change. Just getting that big fat lie out into the public domain represents a triumph of sorts for the likes of McAleer and others of his ilk.
As Fagin sang in Oliver Twist, “I’m reviewing the situation, I think I better think it out again!”