I'm listening to Leighton Smith at the moment, and he's not annoying me. His words, which have riled me oh so much for oh so long, are like water off the proverbial. It doesn't matter how many times he says "Now, you're wrong, and I'll tell you why you're wrong after this commercial break", today it's not going to break me. It's my last day at work.
I wasn't quite so reserved when I heard him interviewing Bjorn Lomborg the other day. For as long as I care to remember, the Leightonator has been a greenhouse denier. No, there's no such thing as global warming, if there is then it's a natural thing, part of a cycle, and there's no evidence that anything we do (or don't do) has any effect on it.
So along comes Lomborg, his wet-dream interview, his environmental soul mate. He starts the interview audibly bursting with excitement. "So, tell me, is there any such thing as climate change?" "Yes, there is", says Lomborg, presumably to his dismay. Over the course of the next ten minutes we learn, as Russell noted, that Lomborg believes in climate change, that it's our fault, and we can do something about it, albeit not very much and at a great cost. And did our eminent broadcaster learn anything? Apparently not, within a few minutes of the interview's conclusion, Leighton forgot everything he'd heard, and sounded very smug and I-told-you-so.
I interviewed Lomborg myself on Thursday. He seemed very reasonable, although perhaps naïve as to the exact nature of the pact he'd entered. When you're being flown across the world to speak at the behest of the Business Roundtable, you've got to ask yourself whether they're really interested in providing clean water to the third world, or just getting out of whatever levy they're currently facing. I asked him whether, as the poster boy for big business, he was used to this sort of misrepresentation of his message.
"It does worry me, I think there's a lot of people on both sides of the issue who misuse my argument. I'm sure some of the business people are likely to say 'hey sure, cool, we shouldn't do Kyoto, let's buy another car. But most people do want to do good for the planet. And the problem of course is, Greenpeace is not likely to invite me out here, I'd be happy if they did, but I've got to basically take the invitation when I get it."
"But they only provide the microphone, I actually say, and I say to everyone, the same message, namely that we need to get our priorities straight. It's not about cutting down on the environment, it's about using the money in the best way. If we're willing to spend $150b in helping the third world, let's spend it on clean drinking water and not Kyoto. But Bush and other people are likely to hear just the first part of that message, oh don't do Kyoto, and perhaps neglect the other one, and it's their democratic right."
So there you go. Draw your own conclusions, make up your own mind. Exercise your democratic right. I'd just be a bit concerned at the banners hanging over my head as I walked up to the lectern.
But anyway. Change of jobs, effective today. No more Leighton. And he's one of the better ones (don't get me started on Pacific's Janet Wilson). I'm off to work full-time at the place I enjoy being most each week, Radio 95bFM. I'm off to go and make a difference, do some good, rark things up, anything but listen to Leighton Smith ever again:
"Now, I'll tell you why marijuana is destroying this country in a couple of minutes, but right now it's time to talk to Roger, from the Fine Wine Delivery Company…"