CEI exaggerates by a factor of one million

After everyone laughed at their first two ads, CEI have made another one. This purports to compare Gore's CO2 emissions from flying around to give his presentation on global warming with that of an average person.

i-2da53f2ef111cbd89630270a14919ce0-GorevideoWMV-high-4.png This screen capture shows that Gore's CO2 meter is about 683,000,000, while the one for the average person is 177, so apparently Gore's flying around produces 4,000,000 times as much CO2 as the average person does in their regular activities. The average person produces about 170 pounds of CO2 per day. According to the CEI video Gore only makes flights from one side of the USA to the other and never flies to somewhere in the middle of the country or on the same coast. This calculator says that a cross country flight produces 1600 pounds of CO2. It seems that the CEI believe that Gore must take 4,000,000*(170/1600)=400,000 cross-country flights every day of the year.

Taking a cross country flight even every second day would be a pretty brutal schedule, so CEI are out by at least a factor of a million.

So, if Gore doesn't fly around the country to warn people about global warming, no-one hears his message. If he does, CEI says "Don't listen to Gore, he's a hypocrite". Cute.

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I'm kind of curious; is that 1600 pound statistic for the entire plane or just for a single person on the plane? Because, if that is per person, that's slightly ridiculous.

That's per person. Remember that the CO2 produced by burning jet fuel is roughly three times heavier than the fuel because each carbon atom gets an added two oxygen atoms.

"So, if Gore doesn't fly around the country to warn people about global warming, no-one hears his message. If he does, CEI says "Don't listen to Gore, he's a hypocrite". Cute."

You're right. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. How's he supposed to get from place to place to educate people and help others with similar aims? I have an idea! Catapult. It won't produce any CO2 for the CEI to cynically bitch and moan about. Next thing you know, the CEI will bash him for breathing out CO2! HYPOCRITE! The fact that these ads by the CEI have contained outright lies and criticize efforts by those who try to solve problems as hypocritical shouldn't suprise those of us who aren't dupes and think global warming is a liberal-scientist conspiracy to gain more research money.

There's something so gosh-darn cute about global warming skeptics claiming data that's several orders of magnitude off from actual observations.

Although Al Gore probably doesn't fly coach, so depending on how few passengers are on the jet with him, he may only need to take as many as 2,000 flights a day to produce that much CO2.

gee, wonder what wrong way george's numbers would be. AF1, plane for limos, plane for press corpse, etc.

From what I know of executive life they spend as much if not more per person in the air.... and in their limosines and air conditioned bubbles....

By tardigrade (not verified) on 28 May 2006 #permalink

This is a tired old argument seemingly started by that darned liberal media rag The New York Times and propagated by the oil-industry apologists when they have no other legitimate come-backs.

The average person produces about 170 pounds of CO2 per day.

Is that the average person, or the average American?

Next the CEI will propose that all environmentalists who want to fight global warming should reduce CO2 emissions by holding their breath. Then -- ha ha ha! -- when the environmentalists all pass out, the CEI people and their minions will take over the country!

Oh, wait. Damn. Those bastards are already in charge!

one big giant question... are these commercial flights he's taking? if so... wtf? were these airlines not already going there in the first place? did they schedule the flight just for him? does the seat al gore would sit in produce no co2 if he opts at the last minute to drive a hybrid across country instead? and another problem w/ al's hypocrasy is those big sighs we know he's always taking. that's nothing but straight up, penguin killing co2 there, folks. he must be stopped!

Best argument I've seen yet for laws against odometer tampering.

By laurence jewett (not verified) on 28 May 2006 #permalink

For what it's worth, the claim is that Al Gore is flying around in a private jet so his impact numbers should be a few orders of magnitude higher than the value calculated based on standard commercial flights. (you have a less efficient plane and fewer passengers to divide the load by)

So the commercial is still dishonest, but it seems like it's off by a factor of a thousand rather than a million. No?

If you can't challenge the message (without looking like a complete fool, that is), attack the messenger. That's what CEI's ads are ALL about. Nothing more. Nothing less.

CEI is hardly alone in this regard.

According to Think Progress:

"Last week, Sterling Burnett - a senior fellow at the Exxon-backed National Center for Policy Analysis - compared Al Gore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

In this weekend's Washington Post magazine, meteorologist Bill Gray - one of the most prominent climate skeptics - directly compared Al Gore to Adolf Hitler:

"Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews."


Is it just me, or does anyone else think these attacks are even more over-the-top than usual?

These people seem to have completely lost their marbles.

By laurence jewett (not verified) on 28 May 2006 #permalink

Everybody but Soggy gets an F in my economics class. Soggy gets a B. You apparently don't understand *marginal cost* or *opportunity cost.* (I'm supposed to be off today. Sheesh.)

Consider the Boeing 767-400ER.
(site: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/767family/pf/pf_facts.html ,
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/767family/pf/pf_400prod.html ) This aircraft can take off weighing (gross) no more than 450,000 pounds, and in its most crowded specification, it can carry 375 passengers. Add the flight crew, and let's call it an even 400 human beings. Let's assume that your average American + average baggage weight is 200 pounds; that suggests about 80,000 pounds of passengers, i.e. about 20% of the total load. (The aircraft's tare weight is about 370,000 pounds.)

Now, suppose the 1600 pounds of CO2 per passenger statistic is calculated at 80% capacity. If so, there are 64,000 pounds of passengers (80% of 80,000) and a gross weight of 64,000 + 370,000 = 434,000 pounds, so passengers are now only 15% of the total load, accounting for only about 240 pounds of CO2 per person.

As Soggy points out, this may well overstate the cost of having Al Gore catch the plane at the last minute (even though Gore's a big guy), because really what's relevant is the marginal cost of carrying him. If a 434,000 pound load generates 1600*320 = 512,000 pounds of CO2, that's approximately 5/6 of a pound of CO2 per pound of gross aircraft weight. Adding Gore's 250 pounds (counting all his audiovisual stuff) thus raises CO2 output by about 211 pounds.

This is probably understated a bit, because the marginal cost in the 80% capacity range will almost certainly be rising (i.e. the 320th passenger generates a little more CO2 than her twin, the 319th passenger, and Gore, the 321st, generates a little more than the 320th, and so on), so Gore's contribution will be greater than the average. Also, of course, the whole thing is a back-of the envelope calculation that is probably off by quite a bit. But to crawl back to the 1600 pounds of CO2 number, I have to be off by a factor of 8.

Now, let's talk about opportunity cost. If Gore doesn't fly, he has to drive (forget Amtrak). Driving also burns hydrocarbons and emits CO, which turns to CO2 when it contacts the atmosphere. I don't know how much he'd generate on a cross-country trip, but whatever it is, if he flies he isn't generating that CO2. That factor should be set against his total CO2.

I suspect that he'll come out ahead.

There's another good reason to suspect he'll come out ahead. Here it is, straight from Boeing: "It takes about 60 gallons (227 l) of fuel per passenger to get from New York to London on board a 767-400ER. The same volume of gasoline would propel an economy car about half of that distance," so Gore would use about twice as much fuel if he drove cross-country (NY-London is about the same distance as NY-LA). But that's if he drove alone. If Tipper came along, the gallons per passenger-mile would be halved, except that Tipper's weight would reduce the gas mileage of the automobile. . . .

"So the commercial is still dishonest, but it seems like it's off by a factor of a thousand rather than a million. No?"

Actually, the difference in impact ()pe person) between a private jet and a commercial jet is 1 order of magnitude or less (It can even be roughly equal in some cases if the private jet is carrying its full passenger load).

For example, for a commercial jet like the 737, the jet fuel consumption per person for a cross country flight is about 30 gallons.

For a private jet (eg, the Learjet 31A, which holds up to 7 passengers) the fuel consumed on a flight across the continental US is about 300 gallons.

Even attributing all of this fuel consumed to one person (Gore) would mean Gore's CO2 impact is 10x what it would be if he were traveling on commercial flights.

By laurence jewett (not verified) on 28 May 2006 #permalink

I recall reading that when Gore began travelling to give presentations, he committed to making all his travel carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets out of his own pocket.

I know for sure that all the touring to promote the movie is carbon neutral (no link, but it was an interview with producer Lawrence Bender).

Of course, the CEI ads don't bother mentioning that inconvenient fact (if they even thought to check), since that would render the whole argument worthless.

Wouldn't the planes be flying around anyway with or without Gore?

plum wrote -- "I recall reading that when Gore began travelling to give presentations, he committed to making all his travel carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets out of his own pocket."

Media Matters has an excellent rebuttal to Gregg Easterbrook's silly review of An Inconvenient Truth. Re Gore purchasing carbon offsets, the article states --

"From a profile in the May 2006 issue of Wired:

The Gores and all the employees of Generation lead a "carbon-neutral" lifestyle, reducing their energy consumption when possible and purchasing so-called offsets available on newly emerging carbon markets. Gore says he and Tipper regularly calculate their home and business energy use -- including the carbon cost of his prodigious global travel. Then he purchases offsets equal to the amount of carbon emissions they generate. Last year, for example, Gore and Tipper atoned for their estimated 1 million miles in global air travel by giving money to an Indian solar electric company and a Bulgarian hydroelectric project."

The complete Media Matters piece can be found at -

Regarding Al Gore's flights: At the Town Hall, NYC, presentation on 5/25 he said that he flies commercial. "I have to take my shoes off like everyone else." He also said that he and Tipper have hybrid cars and use long-life, low energy light bulbs at home. The man was totally at ease, funny, knew his stuff and I had a wonderful evening. Kudos also to John Hockenberry for moderating and Dr. James Hansen, the NASA climatologist who was also on the panel. His book is also carbon neutral through the purchase of offsetting credits. Gore also suggested a revenue neutral carbon tax which would be offset by social security withholding credits for lower income people.

Let's do a little further calculating, shall we?

Let's estimate how much greater Gore's impact would REALLY be than that of the avergae American if he flew across the country every day of the year.

To keep it simple, let's assume Gore's energy use is similar to the average American in all other respects besides flying/driving. (To those who would argue with this, I would only point out that the CEI ad focused only on Gore's flight habits). We will also compare Gore only to those who drive, for the same reason -- and we will also assume that NO other Americans fly (clearly erroneous, but it will make the answer a conservative estimate).

Assume for argument that Gore takes a private jet (alone) across the country every day of the year. That would mean he himself uses about 300 gallons of jet fuel per day X 365days = 110,000 gallons jet fuel per year.

Now, average vehicle miles traveled per household in US is a little over 20,000 per year. Divide this by about 2 for mean number of drivers per household to get about 10,000 miles driven per driver. Divide this by about 22 for average miles per gallon to get 454 gallons used per year per driver.

The pounds of carbon dioxide produced per gallon of ordinary gasoline burned (20) is roughly the same as that produced per gallon of jet fuel burned (21), but even if we figure this in, we come up with the following comparison for Gore vs average US driver:

CO2 emitted by Gore galavanting around the country: (110,000(21)= 2,310,000 pounds CO2 per year.

CO2 emitted by average Joe Driver in US: (454)(20) = 9080 pounds CO2

So Gore emits 2,310,000/9080 = 254 times as much as the average Joe Driver (who in turn emits more than the average non-driver)

In other words, if CEI's "People CO2 meter" says 177, "Gore's CO2 meter" should say 44,958 (instead of 683,000,000).

I'd say CEI needs to have their "Gore-meter" (Gorometer?) calibrated. It seems to be running a little rich (but only by a factor of about 15,200)

By laurence jewett (not verified) on 28 May 2006 #permalink

"Regarding Al Gore's flights: At the Town Hall, NYC, presentation on 5/25 he said that he flies commercial."

If this is true, the "Gorometer" reads roughly 1/10th the number I gave above (since Gore would consume about 1/10th the fuel on a commerical flight that he would consume on a private flight across the country):

The new numbers;

Gorometer: 4,496 Peopleometer: 177

So, if he flies across country every day of the year, Gore emits 25.4 times the amount of CO2 that the average American driver emits.

...which means CEI's calibration is even worse -- off by a factor of 152,000

By laurence jewett (not verified) on 28 May 2006 #permalink

But more importantly than this folderol is the fact that (Clinton)/Gore didn't get us our $1.5B taxdownpaid-for ELECTRIC CARS by 1995, when by now it might have done some good; along with say, CONTESTING THE 2000 BUSH SELECTION!

By Vic Anderson (not verified) on 28 May 2006 #permalink

But what are the figures for an unladen African swallow?

You innumerate treehugger just don't get it.

what's Al Gore's GHG emissiosn after allowing for the credists - zero!

So if you want to work out what proportion of a normal person's emissions, Gore is responisble fo, you have to divide the one figute by the other.

How many times does zero go into 170?

Infinity, that's how many!

Al Gore is producing infinity times as much CO2 as other people!

He is personally responsible for the entire greenhosue effect!

Also, if he hadn't run such a bad campaign in 2000, George Bush wouldn't have been elected.

Therefroe Gore is also responsible for all Bush's mistakes too!

(actually I've known American Greens who come quite close to arguing that last bit in all seriousness.)

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 28 May 2006 #permalink

A simple rebuttal would be to add up the private jets (and of course Air Force 1) Bush & Cheney used, and that their Repub cohorts favor. Let's not forget that they were allowed free & full use of the Enron jet for campaigning as well. http://www.opensecrets.org/alerts/v6/enron_other.asp

If Gore is using commercial flights, that's pretty darn brave & much more efficient than a slew of private aircraft a la the Repub hypocrites. How much CO2 does Myron Ebell and the other CEI/Cato Inst types use to fly around and spew misinformation? ;-)

Oh yeah, speaking of Repubs using private jets -- let's remember that Ashcroft was the first US Attorney Gen'l to stop using commercial jets and go to private planes. He did this in late July '01, as reported in a seemingly innocuous story (below). I wonder what he knew then about not flying commercially summer of '01? Things that make ya go hmmm?


The CO2 spewing forth from all the right wing pundits is equal to a 747 being flown from here to infinity!

I own enough wildland I'm leaving alone that my carbon meter runs backwards, but I can't find an online calculator that includes credits for building topsoil and leaving old trees alone. Anyone know of one?

This approach inspired decades ago, by combining these adages:

Mark Twain: 'Buy land, they've quit making it'

Thoreau: 'A man's wealth is measured by what he can afford to leave alone'

Anonymous: 'If you like the goddamm f'ing trees so much why don't you just f'ing go out and buy some of your f'ing own to protect?'

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 29 May 2006 #permalink

If you are going to measure the Bush/Cheney CO2 impact, you must include the amount of CO2 generated by the war in Iraq...

I can't begin to add it up, but it's got to be enormous.

I am guessing that most of you didn't see "Thank you for smoking"? The whole point is not to prove your side but to disprove the other side. If people start questioning what Gore is doing, then they don't even look at the other sides climate argument. The climate crazies who think that everything is ok, have never staged a very realistic argument to say that the climate is ok. The only thing they do is what King Bush does, they find a red herring. Bush's main argument for not signing the Kyoto agreement was the loss of jobs that would result. American's don't like to hear those words.

Now they claim that Gore can't be working to save the environment if he is also working against it? Honestly, what could Gore stand to gain from fighting for a change to help save the environment? Could he make billions off of clean air? Are there companies out there just waiting to have access to large amounts of clean water (quite the contrary on this one)? If you got electric from windpower instead of nuclear power plants would you you have more cancer? All the people making the profits right now are the one's who want the environmentally concerned to go away and shut up. The problem is that most American's don't seem to understand this.

The whole point is moot, at least as far as hypocrisy goes. The Gores "atone" for their jet travel, as well as all their other carbon emissions, they say, by buying carbon offsets directly. Which is far, far more than most people do, and I seriously doubt Bush or any prominent Republicans do so.


The Gores and all the employees of Generation lead a "carbon-neutral" lifestyle, reducing their energy

consumption when possible and purchasing so-called offsets available on newly emerging carbon markets. Gore says

he and Tipper regularly calculate their home and business energy use - including the carbon cost of his prodigious

global travel. Then he purchases offsets equal to the amount of carbon emissions they generate. Last year, for

example, Gore and Tipper atoned for their estimated 1 million miles in global air travel by giving money to an

Indian solar electric company and a Bulgarian hydroelectric project.

So, how do these carbon offsets work? If I use (for example) 100lbs of carbon how does buying these offsets negate the carbon I used? Does somebody else use less carbon than they would have if I had not bought it, or are they simply cashing in on for doing something they would have done anyway? Or, are they using more carbon than they would have without them, because they wouldn't be using the carbon at all (albeit more efficiently) without the lure of selling carbon offsets? Are there any studies showing that people selling carbon offsets decrease carbon consumption by the amount sold? Don't get me wrong, it's great that Al Gore is out there pushing this issue (although it would have been nice if he had done it during the Clinton Administration). I just don't know enough about the carbon offset market to decide whether it's actually a good idea, or just a way for people to consume more without guilt.

As for CEI, they're not in the science business; they're in the energy business. They call themselves a think tank, but it's really an industry group. When they put out data, it's not to give information but to provide AGW skeptics with talking points to score points during cable news shout-fests. They're effective because it's difficult to have a debate with somebody who's willing to literally say anything. It's simply impossible to prepare.

As for calling Al Gore a hypocrite, it's a common tactic. You show an activist isn't as pure has he/she could be, then you call him/her a hypocrite. If you can't find anything, you just call them an extremist, which if Al Gore made Ed Begley Jr. look like Dick Cheney is what they would be calling him. Sometimes do both by calling them extremists, then they debunk their own argument and say "see look, they're not only extremists they're hypocrites". Get used to it; we're going to be hearing a lot of this.

By Ken Goldstein (not verified) on 31 May 2006 #permalink

To Ken G., unfortunately, I am much too poor to buy carbon offsets myself, so I don't really know how they work or how effective they are, whether they promote profligate carbon use or whatever. A source I trust, RealClimate, just recently analyzed them and gives them a thumbs-up with reservations. ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/buying-a-stairway… )

My only point in posting the Wired article, is that people who toss out "Al Gore flies around in a polluting jet" as some sort of disproof that global warming exists -- and these people are legion, as this article and others on ThinkProgress show -- such people are the real hypocrites, for scraping the bottom of the barrel for such a bogus, ad-hominem attack without even bothering to research whether there's merit to it. You can, of course, argue that carbon credits are ineffective. But people who say "Al Gore flies around in a polluting jet" without noting that, yes, Al Gore _knows_ his jet pollutes and tries to offset it -- that shows how vacuuous is the "skepticism" to global warming.

That was my only point, but to address a couple of your points: For the record, I think Al Gore was a terrible environmentalist while in office (see http://brickburner.blogs.com/my_weblog/2006/05/al_gore_the_env.html ). I remember Al Gore in 2000, refusing to address anything Ralph Nader said until suddenly in late October, he started walking around saying "I'll stack my environmental record against his [Nader's] any time" -- conveniently, AFTER Ralph had been barred from participating in the Presidential debates...

But that's not to say Al wasn't honestly concerned about environmental issues, just that he was too chickensh·t to act on them while in office. I'm sure he did all he could "when politically feasible". On the other hand, I have no idea _when_ exactly, he and his businesses started buying carbon credits; nevertheless, the interview does say that he attempts to reduce his carbon footprint "when possible", implying that the Gores (as well as many other people who buy carbon credits) don't increase their carbon usage just because their consciences are balmed. Unfortunately for the prospects of life on Earth, the ecosystem doesn't care about fuzzy stuff like "when politically feasible" and "when possible", so even _that_ much environmental activism (putting the Gores far ahead of most Americans) might not be enough to avert a catastrophe.

Seems like someone truly interested in avoiding global catastrophe would teleconference and buy the carbon emissions credits anyway.

Heck, he'll probably reach more people with this movie than he has with all of his travels to date. He could have made it at home in Tennessee, shipped it out worldwide and purchased up carbon emissions credits.

If we truly are headed to global catastrophe, I'm not sure a carbon emission neutral lifestyle is all I expect from the person making the claim.

Without getting too worried about calculations, the main point is this:

CEI release ads saying that CO2 does not harm atmosphere whatsoever.

CEI release ad showing how much CO2 Al Gore potentially emitted in the making of his film.

These two ads conflict and are illogical next to one another. If the CEI doesn't think CO2 is a problem then why point out to everyone how much Al Gore is emitting. Surely no one could fall for this??

Dominic (UK)

To Hank Roberts:
I hate to break it to you, Hank- but owning your trees and not touching them does zero for your net CO2 for the year. It acts as a CO2 buffer, but does not offset your emissions at all. All that Carbon gets stored as wood; as that wood dies and decays, the bugs and bacteria release every bit of it back into the ether. What goes in each year in new life comes out again as dead wood, literally. The only way for your mini-forest to act as a CO2 reducer is if you (gasp!) cut it down and use that carbon productively somehow instead of letting it decay; and plant new life to grow there in its stead. But I like it, anyway. At least not cutting it down isnt making things worse!

Back of the envelope calcs are ballpark 6-8 acres of growing trees- no dead wood, no dead limbs, always ONLY growing trees- per person to offset the 24tons/yr emissions. So if you round robin plant/harvest your timber, and keep it pruned at all times, and keep ALL dead materials out and used somehow, AND have more than 8 acres... THEN you're running your meter backwards.


Your back-of-the-envelope figures omit the carbon sequestered in the soil.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 21 Dec 2006 #permalink

The debate here about Gore is so inflamed you must all have verbal diarrhea. What does it matter if Gore pees gasoline and farts carbon dioxide, he's done more to publicize global warming problems than all of you combined. All I see here is a static process of excoriation and repudiation and then the excoriation of the repudiation and so on (together with smart-ass comments about trees). Don't you think it is time for action? Gore didn't get a Nobel Prize for a one-man, strong-man reversal of global warning; no, the Swedes are much smarter than that. He was given Alfred Nobel's award to expand the publicity that he had started.

Action is what we need from all of you or you might just find that YOU are the problem and he has the answer. There is a little story about Winston Churchill that illustrates what fools you might be exposed to be:

Churchill (Gore) was on his way back to parliament from his traditional Englishman's liquid pub lunch and he was accosted by a rather rotund, imperious and shrill female member of the Commons (You) who shouted at him in her cockney brogue (to try and embarrass him publicly): "Why, Mr. Churchill you are drunk, very, very drunk!" Churchill turned around very slowly, smiling, and in his very correct and lovely aristocratic voice he said with quiet passion: "Madam, you are ugly, very, very ugly. The difference is that tomorrow I will be sober."

Action is what we need from all Americans; indeed you could, apparently, make it one of your suggestions to the two hopeless candidates for President. Issues like global warming become clouded by the business lobby such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute who maintains that they are a, "non-partisan research and advocacy institute", (from their website) but, as you know, they were funded until last year by Texaco who withdrew their funding when their liaison with CEI was exposed by Greenpeace.

On February 16, 2005, the Kyoto Accords to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, worldwide, went into effect in 140 countries (now 182 countries including China and India with their huge populations). But America was (and is) not one of them:
From the BBC News on that date: "Some 141 countries, accounting for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the treaty, which pledges to cut these emissions by 5.2% by 2012. But the world's top polluter - the US - has not signed up to the treaty."
The Bush brain brought bright blue (should be "green" but that's not alliterative) bile to bear!

Perhaps it is time to take action and to protest the U.S. position. Even if the U.S. government does not want to regulated, doesn't think that the objectives of the Kyoto Accords are possible to meet, and that they are not cost-effective, the U.S. involvement would be an encouragement for world opinion against them to change, positively, and for developing countries to see that their environmental involvement is not going to be a lonely effort with few direct rewards but a serious enough process for the top polluter in the world to join them, too.

Mr. Gramm said that America is "a country of whiners." While his rhetoric is nonsense; that he is out of touch with the people of America, and that he is a lousy economist, perhaps his thought could be qualified, thus: "America is a country of environmental whiners." Our action could be to act, to act, to act and to help ourselves and show the world that we are in the environmental improvement race and we intend to win it. Get off Gore's back; whichever way you look at him he's way ahead. Just get on with it!

Another little Churchill story with the same players illustrates the need to stop complaining and to get on with it or look like an idiot: Mr. Churchill (active citizens) who was showing off a new, very smart (he thought) mustache, was in parliament, and across the floor his nemesis, was the female member who was notorious for her laziness and lack of involvement. She stood up, and pointing a finger at him she shouted (you have to see the British parliament to believe what goes on during sessions in the commons!) "I don't like your mustache, and I don't like you politics." Mr Churchill answered to screams of back-bench laughter; "Don't worry madam, you are unlikely to come into contact with either of them."

Will you be laughed at by the rest of the world, or will you be involved in this crucial issue?