Monckton’s fantasy world

William Connolley provides an example of Christopher Monckton telling a fib. I have another example. In Monckton’s letter to Senators Snowe and Rockefeller, he writes:

Finally, you may wonder why it is that a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature, wholly unconnected with and unpaid by the corporation that is the victim of your lamentable letter, should take the unusual step of calling upon you as members of the Upper House of the United States legislature either to withdraw what you have written or resign your sinecures.

But Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is not a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature. You can check the list yourself.

If you are wondering why Lord Monckton is not a member of the House of Lords, it’s because he is a hereditary peer and since 1999 only 92 hereditary peers (elected from all hereditary peers) get to be members. Monckton’s father, the second Viscount Monckton of Brenchley stood for election on the muzzles-for-moggies platform:

Action against cruelty to animals, particularly fishing with rods. All cats to be muzzled outside to stop the agonising torture of mice and small birds.

But, alas, he was not elected.

The current Lord Monckton stood for election this year but unfortunately did not get any votes.


  1. #1 pough
    September 24, 2007

    If Monckton didn’t exist, comedians would have to invent him.

  2. #2 MikeB
    September 24, 2007

    And apparently stupidity (like his title) is hereditry.

  3. #3 Ian Gould
    September 25, 2007

    Well, sure, the hide-bound elitist intellectually lazy so-called political scientists claims there’s a consensus about the membership of the British Upper House but why should a daring and iconoclastic mind like Lord Monckton’s be bound by anything so trivial.

    I’m sure he conducted an independent audit of the voting by polling himself and his father and concluded that he actually received 100% of the vote.

  4. #4 Porlock Junior
    September 25, 2007

    Two members of the U.S. Senate should resign their sinecures!

    Perhaps he doesn’t know what the word means? Hardly surprising, I guess, from one who lives in the sheltered world of the House of Lords.

    But it turns out he isn’t a member; just a shining example of the reason (the heritability of utter stupidity) for the ejection of him and a bunch of his peers from the Peers.

  5. #5 Harald Korneliussen
    September 25, 2007

    As recently as this year, a serious economist (as serious as they come, anyway) proposed that the explanation for the industrial revolution was the genetic superiority of the British ruling classes, a result of natural selection for intelligence, virtue and responsibility over hundreds of years.

    Gentlemen, I present to you Exhibit A, the viscount of Brenchley.

  6. #6 guthrie
    September 25, 2007

    Harald, do you have a source for that? Its such a stupid thing to say, flying in the face of history and biology, that I wouldn’t be surprised that is what he said, but a cite would be good to have, for future reference.

  7. #7 Harald Korneliussen
    September 25, 2007

    guthrie: The book is “A farewell to alms”, and the economist in question is one Gregory Clark.

  8. #8 guthrie
    September 25, 2007

    Ahhh, yes, I misunderstood what you said- I thought you meant Monckton himself had said that, it would after all fit in with some of what we know of him (i.e. clueless).
    The scary thing is that many people do take Monckton seriously.

  9. #9 mndean
    September 25, 2007

    I’m not surprised an economist said it. Sorry Ian, but there are a lot of nutters in your profession, and it seems the bigger microphone they have, the more unhinged they are.

  10. #10 MikeB
    September 25, 2007

    Harald – sorry to bring this up, but you’ve made the same point as Lubos, which is never good…

    Unfortunately, Monckton gets taken seriously due the fatal attraction that much of the UK press has for anyone with a title – if they have one, they must be important, or interesting. Of course Monckton has an added advantage in his personal connections to the Telegraph (the general world view of which positively welcomes Monckton’s views), as well as a very thick skin.
    Frankly, he is an embarrassement. But what’s also interesting is the way in which he seeks to paint himself as part of the grand tradition of the British aristocracy. Yet a quick look as Wiki shows that the title was only granted in 1957, his grandfather having been a well connected lawyer and then politician. On the other hand, the first Viscount did at least seem to have some brains!

  11. #11 Scott
    September 25, 2007

    I once had the pleasure of trout fishing with an ex-Royal Marine. Good luck taking away his flyrod Lord Mockton!

  12. #12 Brain Hertz
    September 26, 2007

    The scary thing is that many people do take Monckton seriously.

    …including Margaret Thatcher, to whom he was a policy advisor. IIRC, he styled himself as a “science policy advisor”. He was, of course, amply qualified for such a role due to his degrees in classics and journalism.

  13. #13 guthrie
    September 26, 2007

    The tricky thing about the first Viscout Brenchley is that he obviously went to all the right schools, i.e. harrow, then Balliol college, oxford. This indicates that the overwhelming odds are that his family was upper class anyway, but it is unclear as to what previous titles or lands they may have had. It may be that they had made money in the industrial evolution, and were cashing in on this, but then that would rather take the shine off any claims about the great british aristocracy.

  14. #14 MikeB
    September 26, 2007

    For all Mockton’s talk of advising Thatcher, its difficult to see which of his (often slightly barking) ideas she actually took up (council house sell-offs seems to have been claimed by a whole host of people). Of course it could be argued that she listened to a whole of other idiots instead…

  15. #15 Hank Roberts
    December 8, 2007

    His claim is he’s responsible for Britan using biological warfare in the Falklands:

    “Monckton won the Falklands conflict from his armchair after suggesting, he claims, to the Prime Minister that the best way to undermine the Argies was to have the SAS introduce a mild bacillus into the water supply in Port Stanley. ‘I can tell you from experience there is nothing more demoralising than having the trots in a trench!’ He believes, laughing a little wildly, she took him up on this idea and the rest is history.”

    The interviewer, regrettably, did not go on to ask what trench he was in at the time he had this formative experience.

  16. #16 Ian Gould
    December 8, 2007

    So, he’s a war criminal as well as a nutter

  17. #17 guthrie
    December 9, 2007

    I’m sure that the infantry who fought a foe that outnumbered them 3 to one, who were well dug in with all sorts of heavy weaponry, would like to hear that Monckton won it from his armchair.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.