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Ross Clark: Why Did The BBC Ban Nigel Lawson From Debating Climate Change?

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Ross Clark, The Times

Why did the BBC ban Lord Lawson from debating climate change on the ground that he is not a scientist, yet you happily broadcast another non-scientist, Al Gore?

I can guess how John Humphrys would react if George Osborne made an emotional appeal for the Today programme to become “a little less of a critical friend and a bit more of a friend”. To judge how Mr Humphrys reacted yesterday when the chancellor objected to aToday report suggesting that his policies would take us back to the 1930s, the guffawing would go on all morning.

I expect the BBC to grill public figures on their failures. But why does it think its own people deserve only adulation, not scrutiny? The words quoted above were spoken by Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television, on Wednesday in a speech to the press.

Apparently, we’ve all got to stop “diminishing” the BBC or risk losing it. We must ask no more awkward questions, such as why 91 BBC executives are paid more than the prime minister and why Mr Cohen himself receives twice as much. Or why Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the director general, has appointed five of his cronies to senior jobs without the positions being advertised.

Terribly sorry for sounding negative, Danny, and I guess I’ll just have to suffer the consequences that in future years I might not be able to watch a Christmas day repeat of The Royle Family, but since I am funding your organisation through a £145.50-a-year hypothecated tax I would also like to know where you get this endless stream of left-wing comedians who don’t even try to respect the corporation’s duty of impartiality.

I also want to know why you have banned Lord Lawson of Blaby from debating climate change on the ground that he is not a scientist, yet you happily broadcast another non-scientist, Al Gore, attributing Australian forest fires to climate change — something the IPCC does not support. I contacted your complaints department about that in July but have yet to receive a reply.

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