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Come off it, Sir Howard

The spires of Durham Cathedral. Getty

When I spoke at Durham University last week I was told that, “a matter of yards” from the venue, several hundred people were crammed into a debate about whether I should be allowed to speak at all, says Rod Liddle in The Spectator. “I had, for a moment, a wonderful daydream about an entire university given over to studying Myself”: three-year courses on the subject of Rod Liddle, with emeritus professors “pontificating affectionately on His early works”. While there I met scores of “articulate and witty” students, “some of whom agreed with me about stuff, some who didn’t”, but all of whom agreed “that maybe listening to all sides of an argument was quite a good idea”. It rather restored my faith in humanity.

My euphoria was “slightly dampened” the following day, when Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the NatWest Group, sanctimoniously insisted on Radio 4 that his bank no longer financed oil companies, for its purpose was now to “promote climate transition”. “No, Howie, that is not NatWest’s purpose.” NatWest’s purpose is to look after money and lend it to people – “don’t gull the public by insisting that your job is actually to save the bloody world”. Unless Davies “is an off-grid hermit with several heat pumps and a car powered by distilled unicorn tears”, then he relies on fossil fuels like the rest of us, and his utterances are no more than “grandstanding greenwashy sententiousness”.