End of The World Harrabin Needs A Pulpit, Not A Job At The BBC

By Paul Homewood


While the BBC’s Justin Rowlatt, brother of Insulate Britain nutter Cordelia, shouts and gesticulates about a coal mine in Cumbria, his sidekick Harrabin needs an End of the World placard, says Charles Moore:



The other day, I was standing in a London street chatting to Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Commission for Racial Equality. We were approached by a man with a beard who cried out that Jesus Christ is coming to save the world. Why did Mr Phillips not announce this, he wanted to know, whenever he appeared on television? I tried to defend Mr Phillips, saying that he was a good Christian, but the bearded gentleman was having none of it. In his view, Jesus’s imminent arrival should be mentioned to the exclusion of all other subjects.

Yesterday, I heard another bearded prophet, Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s environment analyst, on the Today programme. He took a very similar line to our street preacher. Reporting from Cop26 in Glasgow, he complained about “the fishing dispute [with France] that’s rumbling on which is taking away the headlines from this”. By “this”, Harrabin meant Boris Johnson’s claim that the planet is at “one minute to midnight”. (We have heard that phrase so often that it feels to me as if that political clock must have been stopped for about 30 years.) Such “apocalyptic warnings”, Harrabin went on, “are actually borne out by scientists”. Doom is upon us: we might be able to make it “less bad: we can’t make it good any more”. Therefore, declared the voice of the BBC, “We need revolutions right across the board”.

Currently, the BBC’s director-general, Tim Davie, is engaged in a push to make the corporation’s commitment to impartiality real. I think he should start with its environment analyst. In yesterday’s broadcast, none of Harrabin’s assertions was sourced beyond “the scientists say” (he often refers in similar general terms to “experts” and “green groups”). There was not even the faintest attempt to suggest that his claims about the state of the planet were disputable. His call for “revolutions” – getting rid of coal, cars etc – though obviously a matter of policy and therefore of politics too, was unqualified by any sense that in a democracy views on such things may legitimately differ. It was pure preaching, and deliberately frightening preaching too.

Harrabin expresses his views eloquently. He should obviously, in a free country, be free to do so. One would have no objection to him walking around with a placard saying “The end of the world is nigh. Flee from the wrath to come”, but I do question whether he should be allowed to do the broadcasting equivalent at the expense of TV licence payers. Perhaps it would be unkind to sack him, but couldn’t Mr Davie confine him to a weekly slot on Thought for the Day?




November 3, 2021 at 10:33AM

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