British Truck Driver Sues to Ban Al Gore’s Film from Schools

September 20th, 2007 10:06 AM

There's a marvelous law in Great Britain prohibiting the "promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school" that is about to be tested by a lorry driver trying to prevent Al Gore's schlockumentary "An Inconvenient Truth" from being forced on English children.

Why hasn't someone in America done the same thing?

While you ponder, it was reported in Thursday's Telegraph (emphasis added throughout, h/t Marc Morano):

"I care about the environment as much as the next man," says [Stewart Dimmock, 45, a lorry driver and school governor from Kent]. "However, I am determined to prevent my children from being subjected to political spin in the classroom."

Sounds like Dimmock should be writing for NewsBusters. But I digress:

You might think there ought to be a law against this - and there is. Section 406(1)(b) of the Education Act 1996 says that local education authorities, school governing bodies and head teachers "shall forbid... the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school".

And if political issues are brought to the attention of pupils while they are at a maintained school, the authority, the governors and the head are required by the next section of the Act to take "such steps as are reasonably practicable to secure that... they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views".

Sounds reasonable, wouldn't you agree? As such, maybe schools should either be banned from presenting the film, or required to also show "The Great Global Warming Swindle" to offer balance.

But there's more:

Mr Dimmock's lawyers are trying to prevent the film being shown in schools. At this stage, they are asking for permission to challenge the Schools Secretary's decision to distribute it. This was refused in July after a written application. But if permission is granted at an oral hearing next Thursday, the judge is expected to consider the merits of Mr Dimmock's application for judicial review straight away.


According to his solicitor, Mr Dimmock accepts that the planet is getting hotter; he is not trying to prevent climate change being taught in schools. What he does not accept is that sending out a 93-minute film made by the former vice-president of the United States is the right way to do it.

"Gore has gone on record as saying he believes it is appropriate to over-represent the facts to get his message across," says [John Day, Mr Dimmock's solicitor]. "One of the very clear inferences from the Gore film is that areas such as Bangladesh will be under water by the end of the century. He is talking about sea levels rising by 20 feet."

But this is not backed up by the IPCC, the solicitor says. Their view is that sea levels will rise by 1.3 feet over the next 100 years. A rise of 20ft would require rising temperatures to continue for millennia.

"This film is a very powerful piece of work, says Mr Day. "There is a real risk that children are going to gulp on this and just digest it and accept it."

Much like American media members, most Democrats, and virtually all Hollywoodans. But I again digress, and sincerely hate it when that happens:

Michael Sparkes, also from the law firm Malletts, adds that Mr Gore's central premise - that carbon dioxide emissions are causing the recently observed global warming - is taken by the film as proved.

"There is no discussion of the fact that the climate is changing naturally all the time, whether warming or cooling," he said.

He questions the examples given in the film, suggesting that there are often local causes for shrinking lakes and melting glaciers.

Mr Dimmock's lawyers will therefore argue that distributing this film to schools is either unlawful under section 406 of the 1996 Act or unlawful because it does not offer the balance required by section 407.

Gotta love them Brits, especially the piece's conclusion:

Whether the written guidance is enough to balance the impact of Mr Gore's undoubtedly political views will no doubt be at the heart of next week's hearing. But is the debate over the science of climate change "well and truly over"? Not a chance.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if American journalists were willing to admit there isn't a chance the debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over?

A man can dream, can't he?

Give 'em hell, Stewy!