UKIP’s latest acquisition

Is Lord Monckton an asset or a liability?

By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website, 10th December 2009

Lucky old UKIP. With great fanfare in Copenhagen, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley – the man who believes that action on climate change is a conspiracy to create a communist world government – announced this morning that he was joining the UK Independence Party. He has made this momentous move, he tells us, because he has “become fed up with the hive mentality of British political discourse”. British political discourse will doubtless miss him sorely, but does UKIP know what it is taking on?

I know that this party has become the last refuge of a marvellous collection of cranks and fabulists. In fact this seems to be its main role: care in the community for political eccentrics. But when even Rod Liddle, who is no friend of environmentalists, describes Monckton in his Spectator blog as a “swivel-eyed maniac”(1), you can’t help fearing that UKIP might be out of its depth.

Liddle linked to a speech Monckton delivered in October to something called the Minnesota Free Market Institute(2). In the speech, Monckton maintains that:

• He has read the treaty that will be signed at Copenhagen next week. That’s quite a feat of clairvoyance.

• The treaty says that “a world government is going to be created”.

• Greenpeace is “about to impose a communist world government on the world” and President Obama, who sympathises with that aim, will sign up to it.

These are not the first of Viscount Monckton’s interesting statements. He has claimed, in a letter to two US senators, that he is a member of the House of Lords(3). He did once put himself forward for election among his peers. His score? Nul points.

He maintains that he is a Nobel peace laureate(4), on the grounds that he is an “IPCC reviewer” (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the peace prize with Al Gore in 2007). On the same grounds, everyone who sent an unsolicited letter to the IPCC could claim a share in the prize. But in Monckton’s case, he got a gold pin made for himself to prove it.

He contends that he won the Falklands war for Britain by persuading the British government to use biological warfare(5).

Now, on the CV attached to his announcement of his UKIP candidacy, he claims to be “responsible for invention and development of a broad-spectrum cure for infectious diseases. Patents have now been filed. Patients have been cured of various infectious diseases, including Graves’ disease, multiple sclerosis, influenza, food poisoning, and HIV.”

He spoils it all a little by boasting during one interview about telling “stories that aren’t actually true”.(6)

But why let a trifling matter like that cast a shadow over UKIP’s brilliant coup? In one new member they have landed a Nobel laureate, member of the House of Lords, saviour of the British armed forces and inventor of the universal cure. They should be feeling very pleased with themselves. Or very scared.