Will “The Usual Suspects” fund Owen Paterson’s new Dummy Tank UK/2020?





a dummy tank

Two and a half years ago I wrote about the Art of Deception, and Operation Fortitude, where inflatable tanks were used to fool the Germans into thinking that D-Day would be an invasion of the Pas de Calais, not Normandy. It is still one of the greatest acts of deception in Military history.

I suggested in that article that some Thinktanks might be as deceiving as the inflatable tank in the photo, because it is impossible to tell who funds them, and therefore who they represent. Recently more previously secret funders of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, have been revealed. This outfit set up specifically to challenge the science behind human-induced climate change, it turns out, is funded by Neil Record and Lord Nigel Vinson (who sounds strangely like Lord Nigel Lawson). These two characters are also funders and Trustees of the neoliberal thinktank the Institute for Economic Affairs, the IEA. The IEA represent Tobacco Industry interests and also campaigns against climate change action, so it’s not surprise that IEA trustees should be helping, in the deep background, support GWPF.  Another major donor to GWPF is billionaire hedge fund owner Michael Hintze, who is a massive Tory party donor – oh and a major donor to the IEA.

Now who do you think would set up a new neoliberal thinktank, to promote Britain leaving the EU, freeing itself from targets for action on climate change? Who would set up “a new research unit to develop a radical conservative vision for a prosperous, sovereign and socially just United Kingdom in 2020.”

Yes! Back from the wilderness! Turning the spotlight on the Tory Backwoods – it’s Opatz, the return!

Owen Paterson is setting up a new Dummy tank, UK/2020, to promote exactly the same things as the IEA, The Taxpayers Alliance, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. Paterson recently said action on climate change “may actually be causing” more damage than climate change – yes he actually said that. It’s straight of the GWPF quote book.

Although he continues to deny any plans to defect to UKIP, he sees them as “natural allies”.

Indeed. UKIP’s combination of climate change denial, deregulation, support for big agriculture, hatred of windfarms and paranoia about the contamination of their “precious bodily fluids” would chime very well with Paterson’s view of the world.

Expect UK/2020 to advocate the NFU position, climate change denial, anti-environmentalism, dredging, deregulation, very small government, fracking, GMOs, mega industrial agriculture, wildlife killing (for fun or profit, or even better – both), biodiversity offsetting, and all the other things Paterson worked to promote during his time as Secretary of State against the Environment. As Arch Grand Masters of the Neoconoids, Paterson will probably be more politically influential heading up this dummy tank, no doubt branded as representing “the ordinary person in the street”, as he was at Defra.

Paterson is reported to have already raised several hundred thousand pounds of funding. From where, we do not know. But I can think of a few names who may well be happy to put a hundred k into a new pot to advocate against action on climate change. Record, Hintze, Vinson….

About Miles King

UK conservation professional, writing about nature, politics, life. All views are my own and not my employers. I don't write on behalf of anybody else.
This entry was posted in anti-environmental rhetoric, Astroturfing, corporate lobbying, deregulation, Neoconoids, neoliberalism, Owen Paterson, Think Tanks, UKIP and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Will “The Usual Suspects” fund Owen Paterson’s new Dummy Tank UK/2020?

  1. Ian Wilson says:

    It seems to me that wind-farms are far more environmentally harmful than fracking. They are obtrusive, noisy, damage peat-land and kill bats and birds, some species disproportionally. Fracking seems pretty benign by comparison.
    Owen Paterson was probably the best minister in the government and his replacement by pitifully out-of-her depth Liz Truss was a disaster for our countryside.

    • Miles King says:

      Thanks for your comment Ian and welcome.

      I think we’ll have to agree to differ on Owen Paterson, though I agree with you that Truss is out of her depth and not really that interested – I don’t think she will have been there long enough to do anything though, let alone be a disaster.

      I think it would be difficult to draw a straight comparison between the overall environmental impact of wind farms vs fracking, other than the main one which is that wind is a renewable energy source which does not contribute to climate change, whereas fracked gas is a fossil fuel, burning which does contribute to climate change. Also one is mitigable, in that you can put wind turbines in places where they will not slice bats or birds (eg in the sea), whereas you can’t get away from the fact that all fracked gas, wherever it comes from, is a fossil fuel.

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