Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
|The Right Honourable
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
|In Washington, D.C. (January 2010)|
|Born||14 February 1952|
|Political party||UK Independence Party|
|Spouse(s)||Juliet Mary Anne Malherbe Jensen|
|Relations||Rosa Monckton (sister), Timothy, Jonathan and Anthony (brothers)|
|Parents||Major-General Gilbert Monckton (deceased) and Marianna Letitia Bower|
|Alma mater||Churchill College, Cambridge
University College, Cardiff
Christopher Walter Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, SMOM (born 14 February 1952) is a British public speaker and hereditary peer. He is known for his work as a journalist, Conservative political advisor, UKIP political candidate and for his invention of the mathematical puzzle Eternity.
Early on in his public speaking career topics centred on his mathematical puzzle and conservative politics. In recent years his public speaking has garnered attention due to controversial views on climate change, the European Union and social policy.
- 1 Personal life
- 2 Career
- 3 Political views
- 4 Published works
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Monckton is the eldest son of Major-General Gilbert Monckton, 2nd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, SMOM (1915–2006), and Marianna Letitia (nee Bower), former High Sheriff of Kent, SMOM (born 1929). He has three brothers, Timothy, Jonathan and Anthony and a sister, Rosa, wife of journalist Dominic Lawson.
Monckton was educated at Harrow School and Churchill College, Cambridge, where he received his B.A. (Classics, 1974, Cantab., now M.A.), and at University College, Cardiff, where he obtained a diploma in journalism studies. In 1990, he married Juliet Mary Anne Malherbe Jensen. He is a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Broderers, an Officer of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, a Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and a member of the Roman Catholic Mass Media Commission. He is also a qualified Day Skipper with the Royal Yachting Association, and has been a trustee of the Hales Trophy for the Blue Riband of the Atlantic since 1986.
Monckton joined the Yorkshire Post in 1974 at the age of 22, where he worked as a reporter and leader-writer. From 1977 to 1978, he worked at Conservative Central Office as a press officer, becoming the editor of the Roman Catholic newspaper The Universe in 1979, then managing editor of The Sunday Telegraph magazine in 1981. He joined the London Evening Standard newspaper as a leader-writer in 1982. After a hiatus in his career as a journalist Monckton became assistant editor of the newly established, and now defunct, tabloid newspaper Today in 1986. He was a consulting editor for the Evening Standard from 1987 to 1992 and was its chief leader-writer from 1990 to 1992.
Monckton inherited a peerage after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, which provided that "[n]o-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage." Monckton asserts that the Act is flawed and unconstitutional, and has referred to himself as "a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature" in a letter to US Senators, and also as "a member of the Upper House but without the right to sit or vote."
The House of Lords authorities have said Monckton is not and never has been a member and that there is no such thing as a non-voting or honorary member of the House. In July 2011 the House took the "unprecedented step" of publishing online a cease and desist letter to Monckton from the Clerk of the Parliaments, which concluded, "I am publishing this letter on the parliamentary website so that anybody who wishes to check whether you are a Member of the House of Lords can view this official confirmation that you are not."
Monckton stood unsuccessfully in four by-elections for vacant seats created by deaths among the 92 hereditary peers remaining in the Lords after the 1999 reforms. He first stood for a Conservative seat in a March 2007 by-election, and was among 31 of 43 candidates who received no votes. He subsequently stood in the crossbench by-elections of May 2008, July 2009, and June 2010, again receiving no votes. He was highly critical of the way the Lords was reformed, describing the procedure in the March 2007 by-election, with 43 candidates and 47 electors, as "a bizarre constitutional abortion."
Political advisor for Thatcher Conservative Party
In 1979, Monckton met Alfred Sherman, who co-founded the pro-Conservative think tank the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) with Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph in 1974. Sherman asked Monckton to take the minutes at the CPS's study group meetings. Monckton subsequently became the secretary for the centre's economic, forward strategy, health and employment study groups. He wrote a paper on the privatisation of council housing by means of a rent-to-mortgages scheme that brought him to the attention of Downing Street. Ferdinand Mount, the head of the Number 10 Policy Unit and a former CPS director, brought Monckton into the Policy Unit in 1982. He was recruited as a domestic specialist with responsibilities for housing and parliamentary affairs, working alongside Mount and Peter Shipley on projects such as the phasing out of council housing. He left the unit in 1986 to join the Today newspaper.
Monckton has asserted that he served as science adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during his years with the Number 10 Policy Unit, and that "it was I who—on the prime minister's behalf—kept a weather eye on the official science advisers to the government, from the chief scientific adviser downward." John Gummer, who was Environment Minister under Thatcher, however, has claimed Monckton was "a bag carrier in Mrs Thatcher's office. And the idea that he advised her on climate change is laughable." Writing in The Guardian, Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment notes that Thatcher's memoirs, The Downing Street Years, do not mention Monckton and credit George Guise with the role of science advisor.
Spokesperson and candidate for UK Independence Party
Monckton joined the anti-European UK Independence Party (UKIP) in 2009 and became its chief spokesperson on climate change. At the 2010 general election he was nominated as the UKIP candidate for the Scottish constituency of Perth and North Perthshire; although a hereditary peer, he was entitled to stand for election for the House of Commons as he is not a member of the House of Lords. He subsequently withdrew in accordance with UKIP's policy of not opposing other Eurosceptic parliamentary candidates. In June 2010, UKIP announced he had been appointed its deputy leader, to serve alongside David Campbell Bannerman under party leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who owns an estate in Scotland adjoining Monckton's. He was succeeded in the role of deputy leader by Paul Nuttall in November 2010.
In 2011 he stood as lead party-list candidate for UKIP in the Scottish Parliament constituency of Mid Scotland and Fife but did not gain election, with the UKIP list coming seventh after scoring 1.1% of the region's vote. Monckton also headed UKIP's policy unit for a while but according to the party's spokesman he had relinquished any formal role by June 2012, moving into a "semi-detached" relationship with UKIP. By January 2013 he had become UKIP's president in Scotland but was sacked by UKIP leader Nigel Farage in November 2013 following factional infighting.
- In 1999, Monckton created and published the Eternity puzzle, a geometric puzzle that involved tiling a dodecagon with 209 irregularly shaped polygons called "polydrafters". A £1 million prize was won after 18 months by two Cambridge mathematicians. By that time, 500,000 puzzles had been sold. Monckton launched the Eternity II puzzle in 2007, but, after the four-year prize period, no winner came forward to claim the $2 million prize.
Monckton is on record as accepting that there is a greenhouse effect, and that CO2 contributes to it. However, he has said "there is a startling absence of correlation between the CO2-concentration trend and the temperature trend, necessarily implying that—at least in the short term—there is little or no causative link between the two", but that, on a different timescale, there is "a close correlation between CO2 concentration and temperature: but it was temperature that changed first". In a 2006 article he questioned the appropriateness of using a near-zero discount rate in the Stern Review, which, he wrote, had underestimated the costs of mitigation and overstated its benefits. He said that mitigation was "expensively futile without the consent of the Third World's fast-growing nations".
After a presentation by Monckton at Bethel University (Minnesota), Professor John P. Abraham of University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) produced a rebuttal to Monckton's claims. Abraham investigated the origins of many of the claims by contacting the authors of those papers Monckton had cited and concluded that "he had misrepresented the science". Monckton "initiated the process of having Abraham hauled up before whatever academic panel his Bible College can muster, to answer disciplinary charges of wilful academic dishonesty amounting to gross professional misconduct unbecoming a member of his profession", and asked that Abraham's talk be removed from the University servers, and a donation of $10,000 and $100,000 be made respectively by Abraham and the University to the "United States Association of the Order of Malta for its charitable work in Haiti".
The university responded that "The University of St Thomas respects your right to disagree with Professor Abraham, just as the University respects Professor Abraham's right to disagree with you. What we object to are your personal attacks against Father Dease, and Professor Abraham, your inflammatory language, and your decision to disparage Professor Abraham Father Dease and The University of St Thomas", and it refused all of Monckton's demands.
Since 2008 he has toured Britain, Ireland, the US, China, Canada, India, Colombia, South Africa, and Australia delivering talks to groups related to the subject. In 2008-09 he was invited on four occasions before Congress to speak on the behalf of Republican representatives. He followed this up with his January 2010 and July 2011 tours of Australia, as well as tours of China and India in December 2011. Between 2009 and 2010 the film maker Rupert Murray followed Monckton on his climate change tour. The film was later broadcast on 31 January 2011 on BBC Four titled Meet the Sceptics. Prior to its broadcast its depiction of Monckton was described by fellow sceptic James Delingpole as "another hatchet job".
In 2008 Monckton appeared in another BBC production, Earth: The Climate Wars. Monckton went to the High Court to gain an injunction against the Meet the Sceptics broadcast, complaining of breach of contract and requesting a ruling that his three minute or 500 word rebuttal should be added to the programme. He did not obtain the injunction, the judge ruled that Monckton's interpretation of clarity in the contract was incorrect, and the "balance of justice" favoured refusal of the injunction.
In July and August 2011 Monckton toured Australia and New Zealand, becoming the first climate change sceptic to be allowed to address the weekly nationally-televised meeting of the Press Club in Canberra. The format was that of a debate against Richard Denniss, the director of the Australia Institute. Roy Morgan Research conducted a continuous opinion tracking survey during the hour-long debate and declared Monckton the winner, saying he had converted 9% of Australians to the view that climate fears had been exaggerated.
On 6 December 2012 Monckton took Burma's seat at the COP18 Climate Change Conference in Doha without permission and made a short speech attacking the idea of man-made climate change. He was escorted from the building and given a lifetime ban from attending UN climate talks. Monckton said that there had been no global warming over the last sixteen years, and thus the science should be reviewed.
Monckton asked to be invited by Victoria University of Wellington to present his views on climate change, but Professor Jonathan Boston declined, thinking that he "would be doing the public and the university a disservice by in any way supporting an event involving Lord Monckton". Two other professors at Victoria University called Monckton's views "harmful with no scientific basis". Monckton made a formal complaint with the university about the three professors, which in April 2013 the university confirmed receipt of, but a spokesperson refused to comment further. The three professors involved reportedly met the complaint "with hilarity".
Social and economic policy
Eddy Shah: Today and the Newspaper Revolution describes him as "a fervent, forthright and opinionated Roman Catholic Tory" who has been closely associated with the "New Right" faction of the Conservative Party. As one of Margaret Thatcher's policy advisors, he has been credited with being "the brains behind the Thatcherite policy of giving council tenants (public housing) the right to buy their homes." Monckton was a sponsor of the Conservative Family Campaign in the 1990s.
In 1997, Monckton criticised works at the Fotofeis (the Scottish International Festival of Photography) and Sensation as "feeble-minded, cheap, pitiable, exploitative sensationalism perpetrated by the talent-free and perpetuated by over-funded, useless, muddle-headed, middle-aged, pot-bellied, brewer's-droopy quangoes which a courageous Government would forthwith cease to subsidise with your money and mine."
Monckton has been associated with the Referendum Party, advising its founder, Sir James Goldsmith. In 2003 he helped a Scottish Tory breakaway group, the Scottish Peoples Alliance. In 2009 he joined the UK Independence Party; he was deputy leader in 2011 and became head of policy. He subsequently became the party's leader in Scotland but was sacked by UKIP leader Nigel Farage in November 2013 following factional infighting.
Views on AIDS
In a 1987 article for The American Spectator, "AIDS: A British View", Monckton argued "there is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month ... all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently." This would involve isolating between 1.5 and 3 million people in the United States ("not altogether impossible") and another 30,000 people in the UK ("not insuperably difficult"). The article concluded, however, that current Western sensibilities would not allow this standard protocol for containing a new, fatal and incurable infection to be applied: therefore, he said, many would needlessly die. Andrew Ferguson, then assistant managing editor of The American Spectator, denounced it in the letters column of the same issue. Monckton appeared on the BBC's Panorama programme in February 1987 to discuss his views and present the results of an opinion poll that found public support for his position.
Monckton has since stated "the article was written at the very outset of the AIDS epidemic, and with 33 million people around the world now infected, the possibility of [quarantine] is laughable. It couldn't work." He also said that this standard protocol could have worked at the time; that senior HIV investigators had called for it; and that many of the lives that have been lost could have been saved.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Christopher Monckton|
Monckton is a director of Resurrexi Pharmaceutical and is claimed to be "responsible for invention and development of a broad-spectrum cure for infectious diseases." In the BBC documentary, "Meet the Sceptics" (2011), he claimed he had cured himself of Graves' disease, an auto-immune disease thought to have been triggered either by a one-time virus or bacterial infection, adding he was researching a "broad-spectrum cure" for infectious diseases. UKIP's CV for Monckton claims that his methods have produced cures for multiple sclerosis, influenza, and herpes, as well as reducing the viral load of an HIV patient, but on Australian radio, Monckton refrained from claiming any cures.
Monckton has been an advocate of Euroscepticism for many years; as he put it in a 2007 interview, he would "leave the European Union, close down 90 per cent of government services and shift power away from the atheistic, humanistic government and into the hands of families and individuals." In 1994, he sued the Conservative government of John Major for agreeing to contribute to the costs of the Protocol on Social Policy agreed in the 1993 Maastricht Treaty, although the UK had an opt-out from the protocol. The case was heard in the Scottish Court of Session in May 1994. His petition for judicial review was dismissed by the court for want of relevancy.
Barack Obama citizenship
Monckton has questioned whether Barack Obama's birth certificate is authentic at public venues: in 2010, when speaking in front of a crowd in Washington, DC, he said, "America! Land of opportunity! You can be born in Kenya and end up as president of the United States!" He expressed similar views at the International Conference on Climate Change two years later.
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- Christopher Monckton (23 September 1997). "'It is feeble-minded, exploitative sensationalism perpetrated by the talent-free'". The Scotsman.
- Vaughan, Adam (11 December 2009). "In denial: Lord Monckton's climate change rant at activists". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 March 2010.
- Hutcheon, Paul (1 December 2013). "Ukip 'wiped out' north of the Border after its Scots leader is sacked". The Herald. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
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- Science and Public Policy Institute – Monckton Papers[dead link]
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Christopher Monckton|
- Apocalypse Cancelled (PDF)
- Greenhouse warming? What greenhouse warming? by Christopher Monckton
- Gore Gored (PDF) Monckton's response to Gore
- Monckton saves the day!, The Observer, 6 May 2007
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
|Party political offices|
David Campbell Bannerman
|Deputy Leader of the UK Independence Party