The Bee, the Government and Big Business

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BBC TV Weather Forecasts

I hate all weather forecasts on radio and television. Instead of giving us the simple facts (or, rather, inaccurate predictions), the forecasters try to turn the forecast into a narrative and, since they are uniformly dull people, and although I am a patient man, they are unable to keep my attention for even a couple of minutes.

The BBC's television forecasts, however, bring a new level of tedium and inaccuracy to the proceedings. Instead of the old idea of a map of the UK adorned with magnetic cloud, rain and sun symbols, they present us with a detailed map over which they roam, hovering over parts of the country that one has never visited and (in the case of Salford) never wish to visit. While you want to see what is supposed to be happening in your part of the country or some place you intend to visit, the map is displaying the Humber Estuary or the Cairngorms.

There is another, more insidious, aspect to these weather maps. You will, perhaps, see that a shower is going to fall on Bath at 2 p.m. or a thunder storm will strike Leigh-on-Sea at 7. Thus the Met Office is creating a spurious impression of precision. If one were taking a maths exam (even, I assume, at the dismal GCSE level) and one were working to two decimal places and then presented the results to 4 decimal places, one would be penalised. This is a sort of fraud or imbecility, I'm not sure which.

Next time you hear a meteorologist pontificate about climate change (as they often do), ask yourself if he or she is even numerate.

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The Lemon Groves of Richmond upon Thames

They used to call it Global Warming until some of us pointed out it was getting bloody cold. So now they call it Climate Change and every time there is a change in the weather (and British weather is always unpredictable) they point to it as proof of their hypotheses.

I prefer to be more cautious in my judgement and, since we could certainly benefit from some warmer and dryer weather at the moment, let us hope that there is some truth in the predictions of Climate Change. Perhaps the picture above is evidence of it: a ripe and fragrant lemon from my garden in Richmond upon Thames. My sister gave me the tree a few years ago and it has been enjoying the English climate ever since (rather more than I have, I suspect). Not for one minute has it been kept inside or protected from the elements.

I live in hope of seeing lemon groves planted on the slopes of Richmond Hill, gaily adorned by flocks of ring-necked parakeets (which, although they are a common sight in Richmond, have at present few lemon trees on which to perch).

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