Sunday, 10 June 2012


Just days after Griff Rhys Jones spewed out his fatuous and uninformed "thoughts" about wind power (and nuclear energy) in the BBC's Radio Times magazine and on Question Time, another TV presenter has put the case for wind.

Kate Humble, formerly a presenter on the BBC's Springwatch, was appearing at the Hay Literature Festival this past week. During the course of the discussion, Kate Humble remarked that "People don't like wind farms, but the fact is that we need to have alternative sources of energy and wind farms are one of them."

Okay, so the first part of her statement was untrue.  There's no real evidence that "People don't like wind farms", apart, that is, from the tiny minority of deluded anti-green, anti-renewables, anti-wind fanatics.  But she's right about the need for "alternative sources of energy" and onshore wind being the cheapest, quickest and one of the most effective and efficient of these (it also receives a pittance in "subsidies", compared with conventional sources like fossil fuels and nuclear).

Brilliantly, Kate Humble made it clear that the countryside doesn't exist solely for the rich and the flaccid middle class oafs who think that our rural landscape is "unspoilt".  She hit out at the conversion of barns into "executive homes" for the kind of selfish cretin who doesn't like windfarms where they might be able to see them and the creation of "mega farms".  She acknowledged that there "needs to be development and it needs to be sustainable."

In stark contrast to Griff Rhys Jones, Ms Humble insisted that "we cannot just live in a chocolate box countryside.  It has to support itself, it has to work and it has to have relevance in today's world.  It cannot be pickled."

Griff Rhys Jones earned plaudits from the miserable minority of anti-wind fascists with his belief that the countryside should be pickled.  The difference between him and Kate Humble being that he, Griff, occasionally walks, drives or rides through the countryside, and so his idea is only of a place to be looked at.  Kate Humble, meanwhile, lives and works in the country - she left Springwatch to concentrate on her farm in Monmouthshire and making science documentaries (yes: science - the thing that the right-wing climate change denying loons of Nimbydom hate).  She studies the countryside and presents programmes about the countryside - not as a thing to be looked at now and then but as a place where things have to work.

Naturally, by showing that she knows what she's on about, Ms Humble has been attacked by the sort of Telegraph-reading maniac who thinks that they're still living in the 19th Century.  The sort who refers to the "Green Climate Police", as if more or less every scientist in the world isn't worrying themselves sick at the consequences of our ignorance and insanity.  The sort who insists, in the face of all the evidence, that windfarms "don't work".  Morons, basically.

Remember the statistics.  Put 100 people together in a room.  Just three of them will be out-and-out raving anti-wind loonies.  Seven will be mildly disapproving of windfarms.  Four will admit that they just don't know.  The rest - 88 out of the 100 - will be okay with windfarms, either totally in favour or not really bothered.

(It is the latter bunch at whom the nasty nimby direct their filthy lies about windfarms, hoping to turn equanimity into enmity by misleading these people with absolute gibberish and sickeningly silly scare-stories.  But still, it's only the 3% of Britons who are fanatically opposed to cheap, clean, green electricity generation who are behind these outbreaks of insanity, plus maybe one or two of those who just don't want anything happening nearby.)

The simple fact is, Kate Humble is right.  Like her onetime co-presenter Bill Oddie, who supports windfarms (nimbies lie, as always, about the threat to birds; a real bird expert like Oddie knows that there is no such threat, except from the ravages of climate change), she can see things as they are and understands what is both necessary and desirable for us all.

Griff Rhys Jones can only see things as he would want them to be.  Which is not how they are.  And not how the vast majority of Britons want them to be.

Well done, Kate, for speaking up properly for the countryside, and its needs, and the people who live and work in it (not those plastic souls who build "executive homes" and attack anything that's real in the country, but those who genuinely care for our land and the environment).  We need more knowledgeable people like you to speak out against the ignorance and the prejudices of the Griff Rhys Jones lobby.

And we're sorry for the ineffably stupid comments made on the Telegraph website by those who don't like what you have to say.  But then, they're only a tiny minority of Griffalos.  The real people of Britain are right behind you.


  1. Do you think there's an element of the conspiracy theorist to the anti-wind movement? There seems to be a narrative that wind turbines are supported by "massive subsidies". I often suspect people saying this have no idea how the ROC system works or what it's for, and would think phrases like "Learning factor" and technology life-cycle are gibberish weasel words.

    But do you think there are people who aren't fussed by their views and seriously believe that wind power is a scam to take money out of their pockets? Perhaps as a result of the disinformation from the likes of the Renewable Energy Foundation and other NIMBY front groups.

  2. Hi Rankersbo,

    There is undoubtedly a "conspiracy theorist" tendency in the anti-wind movement. The issue of "subsidies" is very much a part of this - whether or not it is appropriate to describe ROCs as a "subsidy" (I believe it's a hugely misleading term), it is clearly the case that the conventional forms of electricity generation receive massive subsidies on a scale that wind could only dream of. In a previous post, we pointed out the extent to which the claims flung at wind by the anti-wind, anti-green, anti-climate science lobby do not actually apply to wind, but they do apply to nuclear. It's as if the politically-motivated anti-wind fringe insists of accusing the wind power industry of everything that the nuclear industry is guilty of!

    Some people, grossly misled by anti-wind propagandists, probably do believe that wind power is a "scam" designed solely to make money for developers. You only have to read the comments which follow on from any online article about wind power to see that. The problem seems to be that some people simply refuse to accept the evidence for climate change and refuse to acknowledge that we have any responsibility or obligation to do something about it. Wind turbines have become a sort of international symbol for renewables and the clean-tech, low carbon future - and such denialists hate them because of that. So the conspiracy theories flow, sustained by lobbyists for the nuclear and fossil fuel industries and certain extreme right-wing commentators. Local nimby groups just lap up all the idiotic myths peddled by such lobbyists and extremists - and, as is the nature of conspiracy theories, the facts are ignored in favour of the fables.