University of Buckingham
The University of Buckingham is the UK’s first private university. Founded in 1973, the university was closely linked to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the UK education secretary at the time. After retiring from politics, Thatcher was lthe university's chancellor from 1992 until 1998.
The University’s development was highly influenced by the libertarian London-based think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
Several of the IEA’s current members hold positions at the university, including IEA trustee and academic advisory council chair Martin Ricketts and IEA life vice president Lord Nigel Vinson. Ricketts is the university's Professor of Economic Organisation and Dean of the School of Humanities and Vinson helped create the university's Vinson Centre for the Study of Liberal Economics. IEA editorial and research fellow Len Shackleton is also a professor of economics at the university.
Stance on Climate Change
The university has a history of associating with climate science deniers, notably those linked to the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) founded by Lord Nigel Lawson.
GWPF director Benny Peiser occasionally lectures at the university. The university has also awarded honorary degrees to Lawson as well as Conservative member of the House of Lords Matt Ridley who is also a Times columnist, coal mine owner and member of the GWPF. Former university vice-chancellor Terence Kealey also sits on the GWPF’s academic advisory council.
Lord Vinson, tied to both the IEA and the University of Buckingham, was named as one the GWPF’s core funders in 2014.
Students from the University of Buckingham spoke at event in the Houses of Parliament organised by former environment secretary Owen Paterson's UK2020 think tank. Paterson has long been a purveyor of climate disinformation, and UK2020 is a resident of a climate disinformation hub run out of 55 Tufton Street.
Lord Nigel Lawson, founder of the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, spoke at an event celebrating the University’s 40th anniversary.
“But now we have a new problem in the university sector, which is not the problem of government control – though that always needs to be watched – but the problem of the suppression of free speech,” he told the audience. “The problem comes from political correctness to some extent, which is the great blight of this age. A view is either politically correct or not, and if it is not, then it should not be heard.”
Former University of Buckingham vice-chancellor Terence Kealey joined the GWPF as chair of a so-called international temperature data review project. The project aimed to investigate the reliability of current temperature data.
When launching the inquiry, Kealy said: “Many people have found the extent of adjustments to the data surprising. While we believe that the 20th century warming is real, we are concerned by claims that the actual trend is different from – or less certain than – has been suggested.”
The University of Buckingham appointed Dr John Constable, a known anti-windfarm campaigner, to set up a new energy institute at the university. However, the status of the institute is currently unknown and it’s unclear whether it is actually in operation.
Constable is well-known for a 2013 report in which he argued that adopting renewable energy would see the population “begin to step back towards the condition of ‘laborious poverty’ [that is] characteristic of the pre-coal era”. The report was dismissed by government as “a manifesto for locking the British economy into excessive reliance on imported gas.” In February 2016 Constable joined the GWPF as an energy editor and policy advisor.
Professor Tim Congdon stepped down as a candidate for the climate science denying UK Independence Party (UKIP) after being accused of “hypocrisy” for benefiting financially from having wind turbines on his land.
Mont Pelerin Society: A number of University of Buckingham professors are or have been members of the shadowy Mont Pelerin Society. Many of the members of the free-market campaign group have received money from infamous climate science denial supporters, the Koch brothers. Professors Roger Fox, Tim Congdon and former vice-chancellor of the university Terence Kealey were listed as members on a document uncovered by DeSmogBlog. Kealey has also authored numerous essays for US think tank the Cato Institute, which has a long history of speading climate disinformation.
Photo: Public Domain