Climate Alarmism and The Prat Principle.

I’d like to introduce you to one of the great discoveries of my life, the Prat Principle. Before doing so, I’ll have to ensure we have a common understanding of what exactly a prat is, prior to sharing it with you, together with some related tricks and tips.

Prat is one of the great words in the English language. You occasionally see it spelt with a double T but I feel that’s just gilding the lily. Disappointingly, its use doesn’t appear to have spread much outside the British Isles and Australia, so perhaps this piece might move its usage a little more onto the global stage. It’s such a useful word, it deserves that. Certainly, in other parts of the English-speaking world, there are terms that come close to its exact meaning but none are really accurate synonyms, which I’ve always been surprised at. I’m thinking here of words like Klutz, Drongo, Dork and Galah, which get close but don’t quite ding the bell.

While it’s a term of disparagement, with a rather specific and particular meaning, it’s not classed as a swear word. It’s not just labelling someone as stupid, which it certainly does, but also that they are arrogant and blithely unaware of how pompous and ridiculous they appear to everyone else.

If you consult the Urban Dictionary, you should get an idea of the shades of meaning attached to it; “clueless person of arrogant stupidity”, “Basically someone who’s a major idiot, or is delusional and dumb. Acts against logic and thinks he’s self-righteous”, “Someone who is full of themselves and, almost invariably, stupid as well. With a hint of deluded.”

It’s the complete equal-opportunity insult; black, white, yellow, Jew, gentile, Muslim or Hindu – anyone can be a prat. Though it’s actually a gender neutral term, its usage is mainly directed at men, since they appear to have a greater propensity for acting like one. Intellect is no barrier to being a prat either. As a matter of fact, it’s people who’ve had some education or at least think of themselves as some sort of intellectual, who are most prone to acting like a prat.

It’s most commonly used in the phrase “What a prat”, uttered with feeling by one person to another, when the prat is safely out of hearing distance. Dependent on how big a prat they were, the R is rolled more. The prat of course, is blissfully unaware that everyone else thinks they’re a prat. A milder admonition, is to tell a friend to stop “acting like a prat”, when they’re being foolish in a proud and self-righteous way. Notice they’re not accusing their friend of being a prat, but acting like one; it’s usually enough to shock them out of it. However, condemning someone as a “complete prat”, is a bit like saying they’ve got irreversible brain damage. It’s an incurable and permanent condition.

I think after that lot, we should all be on about the same page, when it comes to our understanding of such a useful word.

Being a good prat spotter saves you lots of time. Seriously.

An ability to detect prats quickly is one of those essential life skills that inexplicably, nobody ever teaches you about in school. Sometimes you can pick them out at a great distance and that’s a real life saver.

Long distance prat spotting is a difficult and subtle art which really can’t be taught in a modest blog piece like this but I’ll try to give you some rough guidelines. It’s a bit like the way astronomers used to discover new planets in our solar system. It wasn’t that they could actually spot the planet itself, but that they could detect the effect it was having on the orbits of the other planets they already knew about. You see a group of people talking and all but one of them is periodically looking over their shoulder for any escape excuse. The one doing all the talking and not looking around desperately for some way out, is of course, the prat.

You see them across a crowded room at a party, where they’ve gradually backed some poor individual right across the room and up against the wall, and having ensured they’re now trapped, are boring them to death with their well-meaning earnestness. Don’t ever catch the eye of their hapless victim, because you might be tempted to mount some sort of humanitarian rescue mission, which will only get you pinned as well.

You’ll become the fresh meat, while the original victim grabs the escape opportunity with both hands to artfully skip away. If your conscience starts to hurt, just keep sending the victim over lots of strong drink. Finding some refuge by drinking yourself into a mild stupor in such circumstances is understood and generally condoned by polite society. Needless to say, you should never risk taking them the drink yourself.

There can often be certain visual markers, plainly visible from afar. They’re mainly connected with a dysfunctional dress sense. They tend to wear an extra or curious item of clothing which makes them look silly but you just know, they absolutely think it somehow makes them chic, exotic or at least different. It’s that bad hat or overly loud tie or the wrong livid colour of hair dye or blasts from the past, like wearing bell-bottom trousers. It’s the sartorial manifestation of that same blind spot of self-reflection, inherent in being a prat.

There is a more subtle visual tell-tale sign but you have to be pretty sharp to spot it; it’s a mannerism of holding their chin up a little higher than is normal. It’s body language denoting their sure and certain knowledge that they’re more noble and therefore more caring about us poor children of a lesser God. It tends to be more pronounced in photographs.

It’s perhaps my imagination, but I swear to God, a lot of them don’t appear to blink much.

On the audio front, their voice will usually be a tad higher than any other in the conversation. Should you inadvisedly query any of the knowledge they’re patiently feeding you, it’ll rise even further because of something called escalation, which I’ll explain about later, and your days of finishing a sentence without being either interrupted or simply talked over, are over. Short of feigning an attack of the vapours or a coronary, you’re pretty much buggered at that point. You’ll know this for sure, when a steady stream of drinks starts arriving from your so-called friends.

It’s well worth working on your long distance prat spotting skills though, because they’ll prevent you having to use your close up and personal spotting techniques, which are usually too late to be of any use. By that time, you’re already in trouble. It becomes an escapology problem rather than a prat spotting one.

If you do get buttonholed by one, then you have to fall back on your own particular coping mechanisms. There’s a lot to be said for listening to your natural fight or flight response, the latter being invariably the right course. There are many ways you can do this and over the years, I’ve become rather good at it, though I say it myself. I’ve had a lot of practice, since I look eminently normal, rational and reasonable, which for some reason that has always eluded me, means I am a magnet to a variety of prats, determined to convince me of the merits of various dubious propositions.

I’ll share with you a selection of my favourite escape techniques, which through necessity I’ve had to develop. Please feel free to share any good ones of your own as a comment.

Pretend you’ve just been hailed by someone out of their line of sight and quickly make your escape. The only preparation it needs is to physically rotate the conversation, by gradually shuffling left or right, until their back is to the door you plan to escape out of. Timing is critical on this one; wait until you see someone just exiting the room by that door, shout “Okay, okay I’m coming” loud but not too loud, a slight exasperated “some-people” roll of the eyes, make a hurried apology and head in the direction of the same door at a brisk catch-up walk. If you get it exactly right, the prat turns just in time to see you hurrying after your assumed friend’s back.

You can also get an important business call on your mobile, which with a hurried apology, you’ve absolutely got to take in private. Your phone, of course, is on silent ring, irrespective of whether it actually is or not. It may not even be switched on.

The venerable toilet excuse is always available but it somehow comes with the downside that out of common politeness, you feel slightly duty bound to return to wherever you were before your pit stop. This forces you to hide yourself in the toilet for at least ten or fifteen minutes with people banging on the door, in the hope that you’ve given them enough time to get bored with waiting for you and move off to persecute someone else, before you eventually reappear.

The one time when escape is virtually impossible, is in business meetings. If there’s a comfort to be found in the situation, it’s the shared misery with your fellow sufferers trapped in the room. The hell of it is, you so often have to sit and listen to them, just to get to the people who will be saying something useful. I tend to wait until they use a longish word, which is usually a short wait, and start working on its anagrams. Doodling can help.

Prats always have a cause and it’s always a very fashionable one. Once in a while, the cause is quite obscure but it’ll always be stylish. Within a few minutes of first meeting them, they’ll have moved the conversation around to it, just to impress on you how very special a person it is you’re meeting. That crowbar gear change in the direction of the conversation, usually sets off the alarm bell but by then you know it’s too damn late. It’s time to start work on an exit strategy.

They tend to suffer from what psychologists call escalating behaviour patterns. They can somehow sense there’s something wrong in the reception that greets their monologues. What the ordinary sane person would interpret as blank stares of badly concealed incredulity and stunned silence, they somehow see as a failure on your part to understand the vital importance of what they’re telling you. To help you out, they repeat, simplify and exaggerate every point and the delivery becomes more and more dramatic, which stuns their audience into silence even more, so they exaggerate even further. By the time you meet them for the first time, they’ve long ago reached the Nth exaggeration. It can be quite a bracing experience.

Climate alarmists, especially the prominent ones, are prime examples of being a prat. Because they’re on a mission to save the entire planet, it’s pursued with an almost religious zealotry, which in conjunction with escalation, forces them to say increasingly ludicrous things, to get us to recognise how important that mission is and how noble they’re being.

It’s probably not a view shared by many people on the climate realist side, but I consider such people to be real assets in our struggle. The number of ordinary people they can totally alienate with their wild claims is extraordinary, not to mention the rather guilty pleasure I take in watching their own supporter’s sharp intake of breath, every time one of them gets anywhere near a public podium. You can nearly read their thoughts – “Oh God, what are they going to say now.” I think of them as liabilities best left in place, to wreak the damage, which both their egos and personalities will inevitably compel them to do.

I thought at this point, I’d throw in a few world-class quotes by such people, simply by way of illustration, but it’s such a target-rich environment, it’s very difficult to pick out the choicest ones. From Al Gore’s “..because the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees…”, to James Lovelock’s “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic, where the climate remains tolerable”, to James Hansen’s “The Oceans will begin to boil…”, to Gordon Brown’s “We have fewer than fifty days to save our planet”, to Dr David Viner in 2000 “within a few years winter snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is”, and back to good old Al in 2008 “The entire north polar ice cap will be gone in 5 years” – they are all splendid examples but you’re cordially invited to share your personal favourites as comments.

Think of it as an opportunity to deploy that unique weapon which we possess and they don’t, a real sense of humour. I’m looking for the best of the best, Mirimar, the top gun of quotes made by climate prats. Bring me the crème de la crème of “your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” of quotes, here to be saved for history and the enjoyment of future generations, as yet unborn. Bring them to me, bring them to me and I will give the poor wretches a loving home and care and tend for them dutifully. They will be my gift to posterity.

You can spend a lot of time listening to a prat, and when you think it over in retrospect, whatever it was they were saying, it always turns out to be not just drivel but wrong. It’s one of the few things about human behaviour I can say always about; it’s always useless drivel and it’s always wrong. The big payback is that having developed your skills in prat spotting, you can then concentrate on escape and evasion, away to much more interesting people. That’s the prat principle really – they never say anything significant, they’re always wrong and you can ignore them completely.

So there you have it, the Prat Principle. It’s saved me years of wasting precious listening time.


Related articles by Pointman:

Climate Prat of the Year award 2013

Climate Prat of the Year award 2012. 

Some thoughts on fanatics and how to fight them.

Click for a list of other articles.

55 Responses to “Climate Alarmism and The Prat Principle.”
  1. uninformedLuddite says: <- George Carlin on saving the world (sometimes you need a laugh)


  2. uninformedLuddite says:

    This one is just for pointman


  3. Truthseeker says:

    “Children are not going to know what rain is”

    – Tim Flannery – Climate Commisar for Australia.


  4. Pointman says:

    The perfect example of a “complete prat”, he even does the chin thing.



    • Blackswan says:


      Good old Ed ticks all the boxes doesn’t he? Not only do we have the ‘chin thing’, he tops it off with The Finger.

      For me, The Finger clinches my prat suspicions of anybody – a jabbing rigid digit used to punctuate the discourse of a Patronising Risible Arrogant Turgid buffoon. At that point I agree with Petrossa – all bets are off and social niceties dispensed with – I just turn and walk away.

      You can’t have a reasonable conversation with an unreasonable person – especially when they talk over you and try to drown you out with volume and bombast.


    • Erny72 says:

      Roger me gently with a chainsaw; Ed’s not just a prat, he’s a complete twat.


    • Little Mul says:

      I particularly like the point where Ed Begley Jr. trashes the expertise of a Princeton professor of physics because a physicist doesn’t have a PhD degree in climate science.


  5. scottc0317 says:

    You’ve described me pretty well (except for the global alarmism part). I have work to do.


  6. Pointman says:

    Always sad when a pretty songbird leaves the stage.




  7. Deadman says:

    I should have thought that an obvious synonym for prat, since it has the same meaning originally and figuratively, would be arse.
    Though the word, as you say, lacks broad appeal, its derivative “pratfall” has some usage.
    Another related word, “pratchant”, now sadly obsolete (though it could be resurrected), meant “swaggering arrogantly”.


    • Brian H says:

      How about “prattle”?
      noun –
      1. Silly, childish talk; babble.

      Not quite the full monte, but related.


  8. amcoz says:

    Here in Oz the most prominent prat is Flim-flam Flannery, our very own climate control commissar, who reckons that western Sydney is going to get so hot that everyone’s brains are going to fry, and cause social unrest like we’ve never seen before. I may ‘egg-sad-due-rate’, of course, but that’s the clear drift of his absurd report that he and his joint commissars released last week.


  9. alexjc38 says:

    “Because they’re on a mission to save the entire planet, it’s pursued with an almost religious zealotry, which in conjunction with escalation, forces them to say increasingly ludicrous things, to get us to recognise how important that mission is and how noble they’re being.”

    Pointman, here’s an example of this, to add to your excellent Ed Begley Jnr video – and also note the trap being set for Caroline Lucas in this short but telling sequence:

    When asked “Is flying to Spain the same as knifing someone in the street?” the obvious response for someone wanting to come across as sensible would have been to say something like “Now you’re just being ridiculous”. But listen to what happens…

    There was another video on YouTube which I remember provided a similar object lesson – it was a heated debate on Sky TV between Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute and Fraser Nelson of the Spectator in December 2009, just after the original Climategate revelations. Unfortunately it got deleted last year and I haven’t seen a copy of it anywhere. The poster was someone going by the handle of Sw1ssb0b – if he or anyone reading this knows of any backup copies on the net, I would recommend it as another example of instructive viewing.


  10. Edward. says:

    I nominate, as prat of the year, his graph going off the scale, the last man who you’d like to be stuck with at a party – a pedant, a bloke with a personality bypass and no social skills – it’s gotta be and for the tenth year running………………………that Hokey stick pro – Michael E. Mann.


  11. hro001 says:

    Pointman, what a delightful essay … gave me lots of smiles and chuckles! I rarely use the word – and when I do, I spell it with two t’s (but perhaps that’s because I’m Canadian, eh!) – because I tend to think of such individuals as “obstreporous twits” and/or “obnoxious twits” :[no disrepect intended to those who tweet] 🙂

    As for the “body language” … To my mind, no one can beat Obama for nose-and-chin in the air posturing! Definitely a twit (or a prat[t] if you prefer)!

    Thanks for a great read 🙂


    • Brian H says:

      Second the Obama nomination; the pure quill. An ex-colleague from Illinois said that his primary skill set was “emulating the mannerisms of an intellectual”, but that his results were always found wanting, if not outright missing in action.

      Pointman: I twitched on reading your Urban Dictionary quote: “Acts against logic and thinks he’s self-righteous” Since “self-righteous” means “Excessively or hypocritically pious”, I doubt many would think of themselves that way!!


  12. meltemian says:

    My personal favourite Al Gore quote is:-
    “It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment, it’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it”


  13. Pointman says:

    Definitely one for the collection by Claudia Sprinz of Greenpeace Austria.

    Senseless surfing in the internet is destroying the environment …



  14. Pointman says:

    Another contender – Hank Johnson.



  15. Lesley says:

    Loved the essay, Pointman – and it’s so true! Just watched the Ed Begley interview and, halfway through found myself saying ‘He’s a prat, isn’t he?’ *Grin*


  16. Jack Wilder says:

    The best-laid schemes o’ prats an’ fools
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!

    Christopher Booker on AGW, the Euro and Government funded child theft:

    Boris Johnson on the Euro:

    We are lions led by donkeys. Really and truly. Lions defanged and declawed by the pet projects of vain donkeys with their eyes on today’s money and the adulation of an anonymous and unknowable posterity.

    Time to leave the Echo Chamber, it’s getting hot and crowded in here.


    • Jack Wilder says:

      I should have included the last verse too, as it’s very applicable to those feathering their nest with tax-paid schemes:

      Still thou are blest, compared wi’ me!
      The present only toucheth thee:
      But och! I backward cast my eye,
      On prospects drear!
      An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
      I guess an’ fear!


  17. Jack Wilder says:

    Got a post stuck in the moderation queue p.


  18. eyesonly says:

    Pointman, you can file this as humor or obnoxiously serious/effective with regards to prats. Sort of like an old college prank but is interesting and fun especially when someone else is aware of what’s up. It works like this. Begin preparation prior to meeting with a prat by consuming (take you pick) boiled eggs, fried onions, beans, etc. creating intestinal gas. Follow the prat around to engage in their obnoxious conversation and quietly contribute at opportune times. Your facial expressions and eyes rolling will help the trapped escape as well as make the prat often chose to move away from the conversation themselves. Try your best not to smile at the effectiveness of your contribution to the conversation. Having someone else privy to your endeavors makes it so much fun when discussed at a later time. Works best in crowded and standing environments. This is a very effective way to exchange in conversation with a prat who nose it all and contribute when they won’t let you communicate in any other way.


    • Pointman says:

      Hiya Eyes and welcome to the blog. That’s a seriously pro-active anti-prat technique! Next time I want some payback on some prat I couldn’t escape from, it’ll be in the toolbag …



      • Brian H says:

        Requires advance knowledge and planning; not much use in ambush situations. Though maybe heavy garlic and hard-boiled eggs to get the sulphur-lovin’ death-breath bacteria at the back of the tongue cranked up would work fast enough …


  19. One of my favourites is Peter Tatchell trying to get on the CAGW bandwagon by claiming that “fossil fuels” are depleting the earth’s oxygen levels by dangerous levels. Hahaha.

    “The pace of oxygen loss is likely to have speeded up massively in the last three decades, with the industrialisation of China, India, South Korea and other countries, and as a consequence of the massive worldwide increase in the burning of fossil fuels”

    Absolute speculation and scare mongering from someone who doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Of course, he got a column in the Guardian to publish this bilge


    • Jack Wilder says:

      Ah yes, the Peter Tatchell who headed a march of dewy eyed hopeful 12,13 and 14 year old boys in an attempt to lower the homosexual age of consent to 14.

      Oh sorry,

      That should read:
      Ah yes, the Peter Tatchell who headed a march of dewy eyed hopeful middle aged men with images innocent yet nubile 14 year old boys dancing through their brains in an attempt to lower the homosexual age of consent to 14.

      Bugger. Sorry about that mistake there.

      Ignore the disclaimer at the top of his essays page, read the essays instead:

      “I am sitting in the kitchen of a friend’s house talking with Lee. Wearing a white T-shirt and combat trousers, his sophisticated gay image makes him look older than 14. He comes across as bright, articulate, sure of himself, and mature beyond his years. It’s hard to imagine anyone getting away with taking advantage of him…This is a live issue for Lee because he prefers relationships with older guys. “I don’t get on with people my own age”, says Lee. “They’re too immature. I like men in their 20s or early 30s. They are more experienced and serious. With them, you can get into a closer relationship than with a teenager”.

      The age of consent laws don’t make it easy for Lee to have a stable gay relationship.”

      What a prat. He’s made his lust a moral campaign. Let’s hope he continues to support AGW even more fervantly than he has in the past.


    • Brian H says:

      Gah. Multiplying the CO2 in the atmosphere by about 10 would pull perhaps 1/50 of the oxygen supply out. Never mind math, arithmetic is well beyond that prat!


  20. brennan says:

    Very amusing Pointman. I love using the word prat, like you said, it’s sort of the Swiss Army Knife of generic insults to wankers. When they go a step further, the best word to use is ‘twat’.


  21. Pointman says:

    Text of Václav Klaus Heartland Institute Conference Speech

    “We have to accept that they have succeeded in establishing the religion of environmentalism as the official religion of Western society, as the religion which asks for a radical transformation of the whole Western civilization. We – at least some of us – have to play with them in the arena chosen by them.”

    A very astute political speech.



  22. Jack says:

    Tim Flannery seems to be an Olympic standard PRAT. He said even if it does rain, the earth will be too hot to absorb the water.


  23. Pointman says:

    This is a true world-class climate prat. I present Prof. Myles Allen. He even has a prat spelling to his name, possibly hinting at a genetic explanation of his pratishness …

    The hands on the hip thing has been added to my long range prat spotting toolbox. A discussion of it can be found at his eminance’s place



  24. Jessie says:

    Great article, thanks Pointman, and the commentators + links.
    Your what I’m going to say will upset a few people was an outstanding article also.

    These days young people use the term ‘douche bag’ , possibly a little stronger than ‘prat’?


  25. Paul Whyte says:

    While there are an excellent array of wonderous, amusing, extreme and wrong predictions, there are also a number of more serious, dark quotations that the perpetrators should be held to account for.
    Richard Glover;
    Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.

    Jill Singer;
    I’m prepared to keep an open mind and propose another stunt for climate sceptics – put your strong views to the test by exposing yourselves to high concentrations of either carbon dioxide or some other colourless, odourless gas – say, carbon monoxide.

    You wouldn’t see or smell anything. Nor would your anti-science nonsense be heard of again. How very refreshing.

    ** Then there is the video of exploding children.

    These calls to violence should also be noted and the sheer evilness continually pointed out.

    As a side point, when Christopher Moncton appeared in front of a Swastika it was a major scandle, yet proposing to tattoo and gas “deniers” is apparently all a “bit of a laugh really”


  26. thingodonta says:

    I’ve got a good quote.

    When the person responsible for the Himalayan glaciers ‘will all be gone by 2035′ statement was asked afterwards by a journalist, why he left it in the IPCC report, even after being told explicitly by expert reviewers during the compilation of the report that is was wrong, he replied along the lines:

    “We left it in… because we thought it was important to highlight its’ importance in the region…” .

    In other words, don’t worry about whether something is correct, just worry about whether its politically important ‘in the region’.

    When you confront warmists over this, they say the paper responsible for the person’s statement is not reliable, but the words are the words of the person responsible for the IPCC report, and not the words of the paper. What a joke.

    You can find the words and the article yourself by googling the internet.


  27. James Bull says:

    First time commenting here, found your post very funny and illuminating I have a friend who years ago when I was pontificating about something turned to me and said “Your a prat Jim Bull” and it stopped me in my tracks and has made me laugh many times since.
    One of my previous bosses was defiantly one he could talk at such length that my mind would tune out for long periods only to tune in and find he still wasn’t making any sense. A colleague once asked a question with a yes or no answer and had to stop him waffling on three times before he got the answer he needed!

    James Bull


  28. 1957chev says:

    Reblogged this on "Mothers Against Wind Turbines™" Phoenix Rising… and commented:
    I love Pointman’s way of thinking….and blogging! He is NO prat!!!


  29. David Crea says:

    Sandra Steingraber, rabid Ithaca, NY anti-industry, anti-carbon zealot, circa 2012, giving a ‘put the fear in them about fracing’ speech: “Eventually we’re going to get enough studies done to prove that ALL CHEMICALS CAUSE CANCER!”


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