It’s possible that Bill Ralston believes that his columns in The Listener are amusing. Perhaps he also thinks they’re challenging. It’s plausible that his editor agrees on both counts, or the columns might no longer appear – as is true of so many fine Listener columnists of recent memory. How sad then that Ralston so miserably fails, so often, on both counts. This week (full text available next week), he rails against “scares”, and after chastising Time magazine for herpes, Aids, Y2K and bird flu panics, launches into climate change.
At the risk of being labelled a “climate change denier”, a phrase that deliberately feasts on the resonance of the last word, implying one is the kind of disgraceful person that would also deny the Holocaust, I wonder if we are being fed another massive overreaction to a natural phenomenon.
OK, I’ll bite. If you deny the reality of a problem, then you are a denier. No Holocaust reference implied or intended. A statement of fact – it’s what the word means. And if you’re still wondering about the reality of the problem, you are simply displaying your ignorance. There are few spectacles so unedifying (or unamusing) as an ill-informed would-be curmudgeon interviewing his typewriter on a such a well-documented issue. Ralston even manages apparently approving references to Rodney Hide’s astonishing display of ignorance last week.
Twaddle, Bill. Complete twaddle.