Lop off his bollocks!

I’m just in the middle of William Dalrymple’s fantastically entertaining Return of A King about the First Afghan War. You can see why George Macdonald Fraser chose the same material for his first Flashman novel. It’s the gift that goes on giving, the story with everything: epic Imperial hubris; spectacular incompetence; pomp brought low; magnificent heroes; hideously cruel villains; torture; torment; betrayals; massacres; wailing mothers; butchered children; testicles lopped off and sewn into mouths by ululating Afghan harpies….

There’s a weird quirk in the British character whereby we seem to revel even more in our spectacular cock-ups than we do in our triumphs: Isandlwana; the Titanic; the First Day of the Somme; Scott in the Antarctic; the Retreat from Kabul. Perhaps this self-flagellatory instinct is why I’m trying to finish the book as quickly as possible. I just want to get to the bit where our 4,700 troops and – worse – their 12,000-plus wives, children and camp followers perish so hideously on the snowy retreat, harried it every turn by bloodthirsty Afghans.

This isn’t because I’m an evil, sado-masochistic bastard. Well, not just. It’s because I think there is, built into most of us, a natural sense of justice. We want to see idiocy punished, arrogance brought low, wrongs righted, foolishness chastised. Historical events that accord with this instinct are somehow much more satisfying than those which don’t.

Obviously the result of the First Afghan War wasn’t perfect. If it had been written by, say, Steven Spielberg the cute little kiddies would somehow have contrived to escape down to the very last cripple and mewling infant, while the pillock of a Governor General primarily responsible for the debacle – Lord Auckland – would have ended up with his head on a spike at the gates of Kabul.

Neither of those things happened, unfortunately. But at least some of the guilty got their comeuppance. William Macnaghten, for example, the civil servant whose poor advice was in good part responsible for launching Lord Auckland on his madcap scheme had the decency to come to a very sticky end. Most pleasingly and poetically, his head blown off at point blank by the son of the ruler Dost Mohammed he had sought to squander thousands of British lives deposing. If only natural justice always worked out that way.

But it doesn’t, does it? Hardly ever, in fact. What happens far more often in the real world is that idiots get away with it pretty much scot free while some other poor, blameless bastard ends up paying the price. I’m thinking here not just of all the campaigns we’ve ever fought in Afghanistan, but of life and the world generally. David Viner, for example.

David who? Well he’s the man responsible for the most-read-ever story from the archives of the Independent newspaper: the one written in March 2000 and headlined Snowfalls Are Now Just A Thing Of The Past. ()

Viner – Dr Viner, indeed – was the expert cited in the article to justify the headline.

According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

Naturally, every time it snows – again – the story is wheeled out by nasty, mean climate sceptics like me in order to have a laugh at the expense of Dr Viner and the CRU. Poor chap. Doesn’t he deserve a break?

Well, you might think that until you realise what he has been doing since. After leaving the University of Easy Access he got a job as “climate change specialist” at the government quango Natural England; then he was appointed “global director” at The British Council, advising on its climate change programme. Now he has just walked into a cushy job at the £1 billion global consultancy Mott MacDonald as “principal advisor for Climate Change.”

In other words, far from being in any way embarrassed and humiliated by that 2000 quote (which, at the very least, called his professional judgement seriously into question), Dr Viner has gone from to strength to strength. Such are the joys of the public sector: there are almost never any punishments for being wrong; someone else – the taxpayer usually – is always going to pick up the tab.

If I’d been Dr David Viner, I could never have lived with myself after that snow prediction. How could you possibly go on accepting public money for your supposed climate expertise when, clearly, that expertise depended on a flawed model? Surely, if you had a shred of decency, you’d move on to a different career: not out of science altogether, necessarily, but at least into a branch which had more integrity than the “climate change” racket.

The real world doesn’t work like that, unfortunately. Not in the public sector. Even less so in the beyond-dodgy field of climate “science.”

But it should. I’m not saying that Dr David Viner should have had his testicles lopped off and sewn into his mouth by ululating taxpayers as punishment for his massively expensive, totally misleading junk-science prognostications at the CRU. No, wait. That’s exactly what I’m saying. It would have concentrated not just his mind but those of the many thousands like him who are bleeding us all dry on the great Global Warming gravy train.

Lop off his bollocks, I say.

Lop ‘em off now!

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  • http://www.frontlip.eu John Donkin

    I’ve got a sharpened spoon in the shed, just the job for de-testiclising state-fattened global warmists – and maybe once he’s been neutered he could go and join the other eunuchs outside the offices of the Guardian demonstrating against the right of free speech for women – but I digress…

    Problem is, my fingers are so bloody cold at the moment, and the snow is piled so high, I can’t unlock the shed door to get it.

    There are plenty of Afghans on my estate though. Maybe one of the women would volunteer, just to keep their hand in, so to speak.

  • http://jazz606.wordpress.com/ jazz606

    I’ve got an old pair of lopping shears, a bit rusty and past their prime for branches and the like but ideal for what you have in mind.

    • DougS

      Jazz: When I first started to read your comment my reaction was Noooo – until you mentioned the ‘rusty’ bit, then I thought: yesssss!

  • http://www.repealtheact.org.uk Philip Foster

    Yup!
    Pour encourager les autres

  • LJH

    I think Bliar needs a oneway ticket to Afghanistan for some feed back from the locals and I’m sure Bruin would benefit from reeducation in North Korea. Cameron should pose again with some very hungry huskies. Clegg? Millipede? The world is full of opportunities…

  • vervet

    My wife’s pretty nifty with a needle & thread …..

  • http://www.ecowho.com/ ecoGuy

    Public service used to be about doing the best for the public – hence ‘public service’.

    Nowadays, a significant percentage of it is occupied by those whose ineptness in their function goes unpunished due to the ineptness of those who employ them.

    It matters not who originally pays for all this organisational stupidity, as its all done at arms length through multiple bodies of government; it seems the power that comes with the money is taken completely away at the ballot box.

    If you want to know why this has come about, its simple, you are part of a system that only wants to hear from you once every few years or so and your opinion is often distilled down to a simple binary choice often between a rock and a hard place – which is only one choice away from having no choice at all… If you want to change this, you need to influence others in large numbers and provide them with a real choice.. Be heard & talk out.

  • http://gravatar.com/coconutdog coconutdog

    I’d be sewing them onto his chin.

  • john s

    I totally disagree. In fact, we ought to send him a thank you gift of some sort. I started out as a skeptic because i remembered all the BS predictions from my childhood regarding the climate, resource supplies, population , etc. The poor record of these various prophets lead me to distrust the newest ones. Millions of folks read this idiots statement and they will remember it and see for themselves that it was way off. Healthy, widespread skepticism will be the result.

  • Simon Roberts

    This always happens when Governments start spending taxpayer’s money on fashionable causes. Quangos and sections of Government Departments come into existence whose job it is to perpetuate the idea that led to their creation.

    The Department of Education champions state education, the Department of health champions the NHS, the DWP champions the welfare state etc etc. When people’s jobs depend on these ideas, they remain long after practical experience has shown everyone else that the basic premise is flawed.

    It’s exactly the same with Global Warming (I’m writing this as I’m snow-bound in Kent). Large numbers of people depend on this idea for their jobs and they’ll convince themselves of its validity despite all evidence to the contrary. Consequently, many government-funded jobs (both directly funded and indirectly funded in the private sector) are available for people like this Viner fellow.

    Of course, in the real world, if you want to solve a problem you allocate funds to address an issue and place parameters to define success or failure, enabling you to decide whether to continue funding after a predetermined time period.

    This is what we all do – you get a quote from the mechanic to fix your car and when the work is done your business is concluded. You don’t agree to an open-ended commitment on the basis that a problem will always exist. Well, you don’t do that if it’s your money that you are spending.

    However, Politicians aren’t spending their own money and they aren’t interested in activities coming to a conclusion (which will happen after their tenure). Instead they make these open-ended commitments in order to gain short-term favour and leave the rest of us to foot the bill in years to come.

    What’s needed is a common-sense approach to Government Spending. That won’t come voluntarily, but it will be thrust upon the government when the current system inevitably collapses. Arithmetic will catch up with them. Money Week do a nice explanation here (and I don’t think that Money Week would be described as alarmists): http://www.moneyweek.com/endofbritain

    • http://jazz606.wordpress.com/ jazz606

      “…….What’s needed is a common-sense approach to Government Spending. That won’t come voluntarily,…….”

      ….Won’t come voluntarily !!? You’re not kidding we’ll have to go through Armageddon before the idiots in charge wake up to reality.

  • Jack

    Fair go. He only mentioned the future lack of snowy Christmases, Januaries and Februaries. He said nothing about snowy Marches and Aprils.