Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In the balance

Joining the David Viner school of climate prediction, we now have John Hammond from the Met Office confidently telling us that, severe winter freezes, "like the one gripping parts of Europe over the last few weeks," will become increasingly rare.

This is, of course, because of our old friend "climate change", the news brought to us by Reuters, which seems have resisted the temptation to put its report in the entertainment section.

Hammond represents the latest attempt of the warmists at damage limitation – evident in the change of tone since the freezing weather hit us. Gone is the daily diet of catastrophic predictions, to be replaced by diverse offerings on the "weather is not climate" theme, combined with increasingly frantic reiterations that "climate change" is continuing.

Thus do we get the man telling us that the winter so far has been one of the coldest for nearly 30 years in Britain – something that even the Met Office has not been able to hide (but no mention that but it has been just as cold throughout most of the northern hemisphere).

But, we are assured, such icy weather was more common in centuries past and should become even rarer going forward. "Winters like this are likely to become less of a feature as we head through the 21st century," says Hammond. "Colder winters become less likely because overall the background warming will reduce the severity of them, certainly for our part of the world."

The Met Office is already writing the scenario for the next winter and winters to come – as it did this winter - expecting Britain's "already relatively mild and damp, on average, winters" to become "increasingly warm and wet as a result of climate change, with the effect particularly pronounced in the latter part of the century."

The latter is a safe enough prediction, given that there will be very few of us around to call the bluff – and even fewer if this type of harsh weather persists. It allows the likes of Hammond to discount this – and perhaps the next – winter, focusing on the far distance rather than the near future.

My guess is that they will hold the line for the moment – just. Another freezing winter though, and public patience will run out, especially if we have any serious power failures and people really begin to suffer. Interestingly, that may be with David Cameron in office, and his religious devotion will be seriously challenged if he insists on pursuing his warmist beliefs.

Everything is in the balance. A mild, wet winter next year will give the warmists breathing space. A freezing winter will finish them, and their creed.

This is an aspect of post-election Britain which is being neglected by many political commentators. As we have observed before, the political ramifications of a prolonged cooling cycle are profound, and stand to have far more impact on national life than even the continuing economic travails – not least because they will exacerbate them.

The sophisticates who prattle endlessly about Westminster coups, and the machinations of the political classes – which are becoming ever more detached from their roots – may believe they are at the centre of things. But the real stuff of politics is whether people are able to keep warm when it is freezing, whether they can afford to eat, and whether they can get to work when global warming lies feet deep on the ground - just supposing they still have jobs.

Whatever David Cameron may have in store for us in the next administration – if indeed he has any idea – his plans may be seriously derailed as he is forced to react to events, the likes of which John Hammond is predicting will not happen. Cameron's response may well define his premiership – and certainly its length – as politics is dragged back into the real world and ceases to become a spectator sport for a narrow claque of political groupies.

Like as not, they will not enjoy the experience. The national mood – if I am any judge – is likely to be pretty unforgiving.