I eventually got a response to my previous letter to Paul Flynn, an MP who I discover sits for the Labour Party and spends much of his time badmouthing Labour colleagues like Stephen Doughty (whom he accused, either ironically or hypocritically, of using ‘wild and divisive language’ in a Twitter storm yesterday!), so I suppose I should not be surprised that I come in for some stick as well, based on invented ‘quotations’.
I say ‘response’ to my letter but there was no response to my arguments. It is frustrating when instead of engaging me on the issues which I raised in my response to his attack on me in the Commons last year, based on fictional quotes which (of course) he fails to justify, he simply repeats the false claim that I am a ‘PR’ man. This from someone who is very careful to take his ‘advice’ from people like David Lowry who have a black and white view of the nuclear issue and find it emotionally or psychologically impossible to recognise that atomic energy has its good points (in the way that I have always accepted it has its drawbacks). Flynn says I am ‘derogative’ about renewables – well, yes, I am critical at times but always based on published science and always open to changing my mind if a better argument comes along.
I have drafted a letter in response but frankly I am not going to bother sending it.
“Thank you for your letter of the 9th inst. I am not sure what you mean by saying I have ‘done a PR job for nuclear’ or describing me as a ‘PR person for nuclear’. If you imply that I am simply mouthing someone else’s opinions and passing them off as my own then you are wrong – I only say things that I believe to be true, based on my reading of the evidence. If on the other hand your objection is that I have come to some different conclusions from you as a result of that reading then you are right of course. (Whether this means that the media should be forced to inform the audience whether a particular person holds views which are approved of or disapproved of by Paul Flynn MP is less clear.) I provided you with examples of my having said things during Fukushima that with the benefit of hindsight look alarmist yet you make no reference whatsoever to these. You say I am ‘derogatory’ and ‘alarmist’ about renewables. But again, my analysis leads me to believe that to an extent we have all been taken in by clever messaging from the rich landowners and multinational capitalists who are enjoying the subsidies and have downplayed the importance of variability in output. This analysis is based solely on published evidence and my own reasoning. I may be wrong – indeed, as a scientist I like being proved wrong anyway but on renewables I would very much love to be wrong as I am scared by climate change – but are you seriously saying that the very fact that someone is skeptical about some of the claims makes one unfit to express an opinion and is proof of a lack of good faith?
“I of course have respect for those who have well-reasoned views with which I happen to disagree. I note however that you steadfastly refuse to engage with me on the issues, instead preferring to repeat your personal attacks. In my experience that reveals someone who is either so morally and intellectually arrogant as to dismiss out of hand the idea that other opinions can be honestly and informedly held, or someone who is so unsure of their own position that they are unwilling to submit it to scrutiny. You will know better than me to which of these groups you belong. However, you also point blank refuse to point me towards the source of your invention that I ‘praised the explosions of hydrogen [at Fukushima] as something of benefit’. Indeed you seem to hold that from your exalted and privileged position you can simply make up things that I have never said and ridicule me for them and it is then my responsibility to find these non-existent quotes to refute them. Can you at least give me the date and time when I said these things? Well of course you can’t, you know as well as I do they are invented. The planet deserves better than frivolous name-calling based on such fictions.