Brendan Montague's blog

The Landed Gentry ‘Jackals’ Claiming Billions in Farm Subsidies

Read time: 4 mins

Wealthy aristocrats and farmers in Britain have landed £3.6 BILLION from hugely controversial European subsidies funded by taxpayers, according to new figures snuck out after the general election.

The revelations today will be hugely embarrassing for many of the super-rich farming benefits claimants - including those who have publicly attacked the scheme.

Lord Ridley, the famous science writer and Tory peer, is a free market zealot who has for decades lambasted the state-backed subsidy of farmers. He claimed £333,860.23 directly and through businesses and family trusts in the last year alone. 

How American Tea Partiers, Big Oil, and the Kochs Used Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth as Target Practice

Read time: 4 mins

DeSmog UK’s epic history series continues with a look at how Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth became target practice for Koch think tanks and the Tea Party caucus in the Republican Party.

There appeared to be a new international bipartisanship on the issue of climate change when, during his 2006 campaign, Conservative leader David Cameron emphatically called on the public to watch American Democrat Al Gore's climate change documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

But the highly-influential tribune for climate policy would soon receive heavy criticism from Big Oil, Koch think tanks and American Tea Partiers.

Climate Denier Lord Lawson 'Has No Influence' Says Head of UK Committee on Climate Change

Read time: 3 mins

Lord Lawson has no influence, fails to listen, and is touchy and rude – according to the Conservative peer leading Britain’s independent Committee on Climate Change.

But Lord Deben does not believe George Osborne, the chancellor, has fallen under the influence of Lord Lawson on the issue of climate change. He also described the failure of environmentalists to present a convincing case to government.

The thing we have to accept about this government is that there is not a place for woolly good-heartedness,” he said.

Steve Hilton Masterminded Cameron's Climate Crusade - But Was it Just Greenwash?

Read time: 5 mins

The International Policy Network was one of the UK’s most prominent climate-denying think tanks but in 2011 it closed its doors as science triumphed over ideology. The DeSmog UK history series continues.

The International Policy Network (IPN) was an offspring of Antony Fisher’s free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), and its board was composed of Fisher’s two children, Linda Whetstone and Michael Fisher.

But Whetstone’s son-in-law, Steve Hilton, would by happenstance turn out to be the architect of the IEA's greatest woes. In 2011, the think tank closed its doors, apparently due to an internal battle where science finally overwhelmed both ideology and the lure of dirty oil funding. 

How One UK Climate Denial Think Tank's Links to ExxonMobil Led to its Downfall

Read time: 5 mins

This DeSmog UK epic history post examines the demise of one UK free market climate-denying think tank after its funding was linked to ExxonMobil.

Chief executive Rex Tillerson’s decision, made in the ExxonMobil boardroom in Texas, to turn off the flood of funding to free market think tanks resulted in an immediate crisis for Julian Morris and his colleagues at the climate sceptic International Policy Network (IPN) near the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

The oil company had donated $95,000 to the libertarian IPN in 2006, but further funding was in serious jeopardy. According to accounts filed by the charity, “the trustees of IPN UK concluded that the institute’s objective would presently be best achieved primarily through the provision of support to IPN UK’s sister organisation and others, rather than acting directly.”

That Time When George W Bush Delivered a Nasty Shock to the Oil Industry

Read time: 6 mins

In this DeSmog UK epic history series post, we remember the moment when George W. Bush declared: “America is addicted to oil.”

President George W. Bush delivered a nasty shock to his oil industry sponsors when, on 31 January 2006, he delivered his State of the Union Address – watched by millions – and declared: “America is addicted to oil.”

This was a precipitous alarm raised at the beginning of what would be a truly miserable year for ExxonMobil in terms of its climate change public relations campaign.

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