NOTE: More on the climate-sceptical, GM-adoring LM group, lead by Frank Furedi. At the pages these 2 items are taken from you'll find multiple links to sources and further information.
PR Watch's Spin of the Day, April 27 2007
[Topics: environment / global warming / international / public relations / right wing / science
Source: LobbyWatch, April 11 2007
In an interview with LobbyWatch, British journalist George Monbiot reviews the network of the key players from Living Marxism.
One of its offshoots is Spiked Online, which has hosted numerous debates sponsored by the PR firm Hill & Knowlton and more recently Clarke Mulder Purdie.
Key individuals are also involved in other groups such as the Science Media Centre (SMC), the Institute of Ideas and Sense About Science.
What they have in common, Monbiot argues, is masking their pro-corporate libertarianism with rhetorical support for science.
In a submission to the Board of the SMC, Andy Rowell from SpinWatch notes that, despite climate change sceptics attacking the science behind global warming analyses, SMC has been comparatively silent. "Of the 120 odd press releases the SMC has issued ... only about four have been on climate," he wrote.
Watching briefs - bits and snips to keep you abreast of the Furediites
*Keeping abreast of dodgy conferences
Keeping abreast of the Furediites is given a whole new meaning by a conference on parenting at the University of Kent, Frank Furedi's base and key recruiting ground. Furedi's not only speaking at the event but is also one of its three 'coordinators' - the other two being ardent fans of Furry Frank - Ellie Lee and Jennie Bristow: the former a director of the Institute of Ideas and the latter a commissioning editor for Spiked.
The conference appears to have grown out of some research on infant feeding by Furedi and Lee that explored the 'pressure' put on new mothers to breastfeed. It's only by working right down to the bottom of the small print for the conference, though, that you'll discover it's being sponsored by the infant feeding industry.
The antipathy towards breastfeeding is all part of the Furediites' attempt to break the basic bond with human life and nurturing. This, in turn, is necessitated by their extreme anti-nature, anti-humanist position.
*Another cog in the works
The Furediite love of colonising science communication bodies has now taken in even engineers. According to the website for Engaging Cogs, it is funded by EPSRC (the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) as a forum to explore how society thinks about engineering, and it's hosted by the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. But not only does the website have a decidedly Spiked-ish look to it but Engaging Cogs is based, like Spiked, in LM's old offices at Farringdon Road. And keen Furediite, Timandra Harkness is part of the team. Needless to say, Timandra has no background in engineering.
*The Great LM Network Swindle
Channel 4's recent broadcast of Martin Durkin's The Great Global Warming Swindle has not only stirred up a mass of controversy but has lead to some considerable focus on Durkin's decidedly dodgy previous as a director, including his links to the LM network.
Spiked, the successor to LM, published an admiring 'interview' with Durkin in which it claimed 'the film poked some very big holes in the global warming consensus', demanded more of the same and denounced the 'anti-LM conspiracy-mongering' (see below) that connected them to Durkin.
The Science Media Centre, whose director Fiona Fox is an ardent Furediite, maintained a deafening silence on the issue, which is a mite curious when you consider SMC's supposed remit of encouraging the proper reporting of scientific issues.
But Sense About Science, whose director and her deputy are also staunch Furediites, went one better and issued a misleading press release that implied there was support for Durkin's concerns from leading British climate scientists - something that on investigation turned out not to be true.
Sense About Science's unconcern about distortions of climate change science by Durkin and his LM network friends should, of course, be measured against their extreme concern about celebrities endorsing things like aromatherapy and homeopathy.
*'Anti-LM conspiracy mongering'
There's some classic sleight of hand in Brendan O'Neill's recent complaint about all the 'anti-LM conspiracy-mongering' linking Martin Durkin to the LM network.
O'Neill writes, 'a few people who contributed articles to LM appeared as talking heads on Against Nature. That's all. Not as exciting as the crazed and wide-eyed web conspiracy theories make it sound, I know. Sorry.' (Apocolypse my arse)
But what O'Neill fails to mention is that Durkin's deputy for Against Nature was Eve Kaye, who was not only a key figure in RCP/LM - like her sister (Pandora Kaye) - but the wife of James Heartfield, a key RCP ideologue and the co-author of its manifesto. Something that might just explain why, 'Line by line, point by point, Against Nature followed the agenda laid down by LM.' (George Monbiot, The Revolution has been televised)
*Attacking the political
Long-time Furediite Thomas Deichmann, writing in Spiked, challenges Greenpeace's charitable status in Germany, arguing that they act 'politically'. This erstwhile revolutionary also accuses them of illegality and uses his Spiked piece to reckon up every instance of trespass on farmland or 'guerilla' labelling of products in supermarkets that Greenpeace has carried out during its environmental campaigns in Germany. (Just how 'charitable' is Greenpeace?)
Deichmann's previous writings for the LM network suggest he's considerably less particular about certain other crimes - like torture, rape and murder. Deichmann even put in an appearance as the final defence witness at the trial in the Hague of Dusko Tadic, who went on to be convicted of crimes against humanity, including 'killings, beatings and forced transfers' of civilians, as well as a particularly horrific sexual mutilation.
*More Furediites at HFEA!
Seems there's yet another Furediite embedded in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body which, amongst other things, licenses and monitors all human embryo research conducted in the UK.
Ann Furedi used to work at HFEA (before she went back to direct the abortion lobby group BPAS), Juliet Tizzard is working there (see next item) and so too, it seems, is Ann's big chum Vishnee Sauntoo, when she's not back at BPAS with Ann.
Imagine the row if it emerged that a whole series of people from, say, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child were floating effortlessly in and out of HFEA. There'd be an outcry. Yet there seems to be a regular revolving door between HFEA and controversial lobby groups like BPAS and Progress
*Pro-cloning lobbyist helping to regulate cloning!
Hard on the heels of renewed controversy about how LMers are colonising the infrastructure of public communication used by the science and medical establishment, comes news that Juliet Tizzard has become the Policy Manager of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
Prior to joining HFEA, Tizzard was director of the lobby group, Progress Educational Trust, which 'believes that reproductive and genetic technologies have much to offer' and argues against their regulation. As Tizzard put it, 'our organisation exists to make sure that access to new technologies is not restricted by parliament or by doctors'. PROGRESS, which is even equivocal about human reproductive cloning, enjoys a close relationship with AstraZeneca.
Prior to joining PROGRESS, Tizzard appeared in the Channel 4 TV series Against Nature, which represented environmentalists as Nazis responsible for death and deprivation in the Third World, and argued germline gene therapy and human cloning would liberate humanity from nature.
Subsequent investigations revealed that certain of the programme makers and several key contributors to the series, including Tizzard, had been closely involved with LM. As well as contributing articles to LM, Tizzard has also contributed to the LM network's later fronts: Spiked, and the Institute of Ideas.
The news that an ideologically-driven pro-cloning lobbyist is working for a Government body 'regulating' cloning came shortly before the news that HFEA has granted a licence to the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, which cloned Dolly the Sheep, to create stem cells from embryos via cloning.