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DOOMWATCH IN THE HANSARD UK GOVERNMENT ARCHIVES


There is some fantastic Doomwatch information that can be found at the UK Government body "Hansard" at www.parliament.uk detailing the House of Commons debates from the early 1970s when Doomwatch was still on air and just after it finished...

On the 22nd December 1971 In a debate in the House of Commons on December 22 last year, Mr. Laurance Reed, who is a man of great skill in these matters, asked the Government whether they would work towards a "Doom-watch" agency. This would be a global agency watching over the state of the environment, monitoring it and surveying it to see whether anybody was breaking any of the "ten commandments" which might be set up. Mr. Griffiths, in reply, poured cold water on that—not scorn, but cold water—and said that he did not think that any such thing was a good idea at all.
  
On the subject of TOXIC MATERIALS (DISPOSAL) on 27 January 1972...

"...At a public meeting in Coventry recently one driver after another got up and explained what had been going on. The Coventry Evening Telegraph of 22nd January under the headline Poison trips 'too hot to handle '—Drivers tell why they owned up". ran a story which read: A lorry driver stood up in a Coventry hall and announced: 'Eight weeks ago I pumped 3,000 gallons of cyanide from a tanker on to Wolston Tip". He declined to be named—but another driver, 28-year-old Mr. David Carter, who lives in Coventry, and is among several men whose statements led to the poisons-dumping row, decided to reveal his identity. The drivers gave their 'evidence' to a packed 'Doomwatch' meeting at the Herbert Art Gallery lecture theatre last night....  

On the 20th April 1972 a debate entitled "THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT: STOCKHOLM CONFERENCE" a serious attitude to Doomwatch is taken.

"Now, in the formal proposal before the Conference, we have something called an "Earth-watch Agency" which is really to be precisely the same thing. It is to be an agency to check continually on the state of the environment, to draw conclusions from it and to assist the United Nations in laying down priorities as to what problem should be tackled first. I hope that Mr. Griffith's negative attitude towards "Doomwatch" does not mean that the Government are going to adopt a negative attitude to "Earth-watch", because they are much the same thing."...

..."The other point that I wish to make, and I make it as one who has been both officially and unofficially concerned with environmental problems for at least the past 25 years. is that we should not allow ourselves to he driven by extravagant and frequently fallacious statements into getting our priorities wrong. The environment and pollution, population growth, the depletion of the earth's non-renewable resources (oil and minerals) are issues which are now worrying more and more people. But their concern is being fanned by many sweeping statements emanating from presumed authorities that doom is nigh. We must be careful lest the "Doomwatcher" approach does not stimulate a reaction of total boredom and disillusion. We must be careful that, in Robert James's words, we do not allow the extremists to debase the coinage of alarmism through the violence of their speeches and the exaggeration of their images."....

"I hope that our Government's participation at Stockholm (and I am confident of this, having listened with great respect to the noble Earl the Leader of the House) will go beyond the recapitalation of our own quite impressive record—and here I endorse the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman—of correcting the abuses which we inherited from the Industrial Revolution and which to some extent we continue in the present century. We have useful lessons to teach others and I hope that we shall go further and take the initiative in promoting an international system, a genuine system, and the machinery for such a system. I have no doubt that out of Stockholm we shall get confirmation of and an extension of the treaties on oil spillage and on the dumping of toxic wastes and so on; but I hope that our expertise from Britain will also be available and that it will be backed by what means it needs for a world monitoring system and for a really concentrated effort to provide the scientific answers which Lord Zuckerman will agree with me are necessary in the area of the environmental problem and of which we are profoundly ignorant. We cannot really have the enforcement of necessary measures of control until we know much more about the behaviour of pollutants and the pathways of their distribution. We have talked about "Doomwatch" and "Earth-watch". Something of that kind—something of the nature of "Earth-watch" is necessary if we are going to master this problem. We have to find out and provide, I hope with a great deal of support from this country, the scientific means which are necessary if we are going to protect future generations from the consequences of our lack of foresight"...

A bill dated 5th June 1972, entitled "THAMES BARRIER AND FLOOD PREVENTION BILL" has a Mr. David James(Dorset, North) who goes as far to suggest that...

"If one were a film writer, one could write a good script on the subject". to which Mr Peter Mills replies "The House will know that there is an increasing danger of the Thames overflowing its banks and flooding substantial parts of inner London. We have had some serious warnings from my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, North, who talked about "Doomwatch". After what he said, I think that he may well be asked to write a script for it. The cost of such a disaster as the Thames overflowing in terms of loss of life, damage to property, and disruption to the everyday life of the capital would be incalculable."...

It's amusing to note that on the 31st July 1972 that the Doomwatch episode "Flood" is transmitted!

A classic one from BARONESS GAITSKELL that echoes the unshown Doomwatch episode "Sex and Violence" on the 29th November 1972 in the infamous "PORNOGRAPHY: THE LONGFORD REPORT"

..."We have come a long way in the last fifty years. The Family Planning Association and the Health Education Council have not had it easy with their propaganda. The fear of being accused of condoning loose sexual morals has been a brake on progress in this respect. I cannot take the doom-watch warning throughout the report too seriously. I do not believe that society to-day is on the decline and fall, more than it has been in the past, and especially on the decline and fall because of a more open and 1300 honest approach to sex relations. There is of course the commercial aspect of pornography, which is absolutely horrible. But how do we isolate and curb this in a materialistic age and in a market economy? No one has given me the answer this afternoon; and I am not very convinced about the legal curbs. After all, what about the chocolate-coated pornography of the James Bond books? People seem to have completely forgotten about them."...

Ok, a slight cheat these ones but on 29 November 1972 there is a debate on LORRIES (SIZE)...


"...The truth is that, like the man in the B.B.C. "Doomwatch" programme on noise, the individual today feels that he is a peripheral nuisance whose voice is unimportant and will rapidly be drowned in the thunder of diesel lorries and high-powered jet engines..."
"...My second preliminary point is that I am not moving the Motion as some crazy Doomwatch character wholly indifferent to all questions of economic growth and efficiency..."

and GREATER LONDON (GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT) on 15 December 1972...

"...The popularity of central London is one of the causes of pressure. The people who move into my constituency are forcing others out. I deprecate the fashion for doomwatch talk which does the people of London no service—as if everything in London was getting worse—as if the whole complex machine in London was liable to clog at any moment...."

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