Sitting on the dais at the Guardian panel, it seemed to me that the most remarkable moment came when the audience laughed out loud at Trevor Davies about Muir Russell. Usually, you can’t hear this sort of thing from an audience, but you could hear it loud and clear at 1:29:12. The Guardian laundered this episode in their account, but it sure seemed like Davies totally lost the audience at this point.
In my talk, I reported Muir Russell’s failure to attend either of the evidence-taking interviews with Phil Jones following the unveiling of the Muir Russell panel (on Feb 11, 2010), a point previously reported at CA here, as follows:
Muir Russell was due to report in spring 2010, but as of the start of April, nobody at CRU had been interviewed on anything to do with the Hockey Stick or IPCC. In fact, Muir Russell does not appear to have even met with Jones or Briffa after the unveiling of the Muir Russell panel in February. Muir Russell didn’t even bother attending the one and only interview with Jones and Briffa on the Hockey Stick and IPCC on April 9. Nor did two other panellists.
Thus, Muir Russell’s non-attendance at the Jones’ interviews was an issue that I’d prominently raised at CA immediately prior to the Guardian debate and you’d think that Trevor Davies, representing the university and the inquiries, would have at least taken a look at Climate Audit given that I was attending and anticipated this issue being raised.
However, the issue, when raised by Sunday Times reporter Jonathan Leake, caused Davies to implode. Here’s an approximate transcript leading up to the Davies’ incident. It started with a question from Jonathan Leake of the Sunday Times, who, oddly enough, Monbiot recognized only as a “gentleman from the front”. Leake (approximate transcript):
Steve, in your presentation, you seemed to say that Phil Jones wasn’t interviewed by Muir Russell at all in person. He was interviewed by some other members of the panel. If that is true, who did? And it seems astonishing that the chairman of the inquiry did not interview .. if that is true, perhaps Trevor Davies can tell us who did… it seems remarkable.
Leading to the following exchange:
McIntyre – I’m going from the minutes of the report. In December, Muir Russell arrived; they had 8 meetings that day, one of which was between Muir Russell and Phil Jones, accompanied by Trevor Davies, at which I presume that no evidence was taken. In January, there was an exploratory meeting. The panel announced on Feb 11, there were two meetings with Phil Jones after that – one on March 4, as I recall, between Norton and Clarke covering CRUTEM series. And other one on April 9 with Boulton and Clarke again, covering the Hockey Stick issues and IPCC. Muir Russell didn’t attend either of the two meetings with Phil Jones after the unveiling of the panel, and which were the only two meetings at which any evidence was taken… Yes, it bewilders me that a responsible chairman of an inquiry did not attend the only material interviews with the people involved in the whole affair. Muir Russell did however have extensive meetings with administrative staff
Monbiot: Trevor, does that chime…
Davies- My memory for these details is not as good as Steve’s. He has confirmed that Muir Russell did indeed interview Phil Jones and in my list, he interviewed Phil Jones. And this info is in the back of Muir Russell report.
McIntyre – Not after the panel was announced and not where any evidence was taken.
Monbiot (speaking to Davies) – can you contradict that?
Long pause –
McIntyre – he can’t contradict that.
Monbiot – just a minute Steve
Davies – Steve will have to remind me when the panel was actually announced…
Uproarious laughter and applause.
McIntyre – Feb 11, Trevor
Davies – yes…
Davies – Steve appears to be…
McIntyre – it’s on page 92 or so…
Davies: there were interviews between Muir Russell, the chairman, and Phil Jones. Later on those interviews were done by the specialists.
Monbiot – when did those interviews take place between Muir Russell and Phil Jones?
Davies – the last one that I can see is on January 27.
Another not-so-good moment for the defenders of the Team that can’t shoot straight.
After the panel, the Guardian held a very pleasant reception at a nearby bar. I walked over with Davies, observing that it couldn’t have been much fun for him the last number of months. He took some offence at the Climate Audit had described him as “ever-present” [in the UEA's post-Climategate dealing with the public]. I laughed (I think) cheerfully at this criticism, observing that, in his shoes, I’d have tried to be “ever-present” as well and thus this was hardly a criticism.
I thought about this point when I got home. “Ever-present” is not a word that I use a lot. In fact, I’d only used the adjective once in connection with Trevor Davies.
This, ironically, is the very post in which I itemized Muir Russell’s non-attendance at the Jones’ interview in meticulous detail. Davies presumably had to have read the post in order to object to being described as “ever-present”, but apparently hadn’t notice of the post’s actual content – Muir Russell’s non-attendance.
At the reception, Davies challenged me in front of a reporter to withdraw some supposedly inaccurate statements at Climate Audit about the Oxburgh inquiry terms of reference. The reporter seemed to want me to make the changes on the spot at the reception. I said that I would look at the matter when I got home and that I would be more than willing to correct any inaccuracies. They sent me a copy of a statement that they released after Roger Harrabin’s story on the matter, but, thus far, have not responded to two requests to identify what, if anything, at CA requires correction. More on this on another occasion.