Discussions of the ABC’s proposed screening of the ‘Great Climate Change Swindle’ documentary have so far neglected a remarkable aspect of the whole affair – the role played by deranged former revolutionaries.
That is, the lineage of the people behind ‘Swindle’ goes back organisationally and ideologically to a Trotskyist group once called the Revolutionary Communist Party and now associated with the academic Frank Furedi, the online magazine Spiked and a thinktank known as the Institute for Ideas.
It is, of course, not uncommon for tired radicals to discover they can exponentially increase their incomes by reversing the polarities of their core beliefs. Even so, the evolution of the RCPers is quite spectacular, since, while the content of their politics altered beyond recognition, their form remained more-or-less the same.
Even in its socialist days, the RCP took particular delight in courting controversy and baiting liberals. In the early nineties, the organisation lurched in an ultra libertarian direction, declaring that anything – anything at all – that limited the ability of humans to transform the world was part of the politically-correct agenda of the nanny-state. Its magazine Living Marxism (funkily rebadged as LM) duly defended fox-hunting and cigarette smoking and other oddball causes, as the ties mooring it to any kind of leftwing project strained and then snapped.
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Today, its cadre of undoubtedly talented journalists and academics lend their polemical talents to promoting GM foods and attacking environmentalists and backing other causes dear to the hearts of the big-spending business groups who attend their forums and functions.
One might put the RCP’s long ideological march alongside the weird gyrations of Lyndon LaRouche, another former Trotskyist whose political cult also enthusiastically promotes the ‘Swindle’ doco but goes one better by identifying Prince Philip as the secret, drug-pushing mastermind behind Aboriginal land rights.
But there’s another interesting comparison closer to home. After all, Keith Windschuttle, one of the ABC’s new board members, began his career as a fire-breathing revolutionary given to epater le bourgeois provocations of his own. In 1967, for instance, as editor of the student paoer Honi Soit, Windy stuck it to the Man by publishing the chemical formula for LSD. He was, ASIO noted at the time, a ‘violent revolutionary’ and ‘well versed in active revolutionary tactics.’
So did the parallels between Windschuttle’s career and those behind ‘Swindle’ play any role in convincing the ABC to show a program almost universally regarded as scientifically worthless?
Who knows? Still, if Auntie’s looking for documentary subjects, here’s an idea: what about a show highlighting the peculiar process of reverse metamorphosis that, in George Galloway’s splendid phrase, allows so many former butterflies of the Left to transform successfully into grubs?