Bernard Ingham

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Bernard Ingham

Sir Bernard Ingham is a journalist who worked as press secretary for Margaret Thatcher. He joined the Civil Service in 1967, working for the Department of Energy from 1974. He went on to spend eleven years as Thatcher's Chief Press Secretary. From 1989-90 Ingham was also Head of the Government Information Service. [1]

Links to the nuclear industry

On his retirement from politics in 1991, BNFL 'asked him to make his advice available as a consultant'. The company did not disclose how much it paid him. [2]

Ingham was also a director of Hill and Knowlton, one of the largest public relations companies in Britain, from September 1991 to June 2002. The firm has very close links with the Government and worked for Nuclear Electric during the 1990s. In PR Week in the early 1990s, Ingham was quoted as saying 'for 25 years I have earned a crust trying to preserve nuclear power". [3]

Ingham was for many years until October 2008 a director and secretary of the pro-nuclear lobbying group Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE). [4] Its business address was the Westminster headquarters of the British Nuclear Energy Society, a body set up to promote nuclear power and linked to all the main figures in the nuclear industry, from BNFL to British Energy, the company which runs most of the country's nuclear power stations. [5] [6]

Like many pro-nuclear campaigners, Ingham is virulently anti-wind power. He has been vice-president of the anti-wind farm campaign Country Guardian since summer 1993. His stance on nuclear versus wind power is clear: in 1993 he wrote a column in the Hebden Bridge Times entitled 'Nuclear power is greener than windfarms'. [7]

He is also a global warming skeptic. At a major meeting of anti-windfarm campaigners, on June 19, 2004 at Saddleworth Moor in Lancashire, he declared: 'I am a skeptic about global warming', 'wind will never compete with nuclear' and 'windpower is for the brainwashed or the braindead". He added that wind 'is not an answer to global warming' and 'nuclear is benign on two counts: pollution and land-use'. [8]

He also argues that energy conservation is no solution, because people are only motivated to save money on bills, rather than saving energy itself. He argues that all people do when they save money is simply buy more electrical goods which use more energy. 'Having been responsible for the [Save It] policy, I wouldn't rely on energy conservation to get me through'. 'My solution to this problem is a mix of energy supply: coal, nuclear, oil and gas' - he also says that most oil comes from unstable regimes and nuclear is the safest form of energy production. [8]

Ingham also repeats the often anti-environmental argument that puts forward the theory that groups 'want to return to a pre-industrial society'. [8]

On the Today programme on November 29, 2005, Ingham claimed that nuclear power is "the cheapest option" and "the cleanest of all methods of electricity generation", and dismissed windpower as "unreliable, intermittent, and therefore basically mucky". He also claimed that "nuclear doesn't want subsidies". [9]

What Ingham says about the green movement

  • Zac Goldsmith: "a wet-behind-the-ears 'Green' with more brass than sense or ethics"[10]
  • "...the eco-junket called the Earth Summit in Johannesburg... the real purpose of the Earth Summit is to transfer your hard-earned cash to others who mostly have governments with even less of a clue how to conduct their affairs than we do. Otherwise, they wouldn't be in the appalling mess they are."[10]
  • "...the liars and cheats who infest the environmental movement..." [10]
  • "The political parties are stuffed with anti-nuke CND peaceniks, environmental nutters whose concern for the environment falls far short of their determination to kill capitalism and idealists who would impose their idea of the good life on the rest of us." [11]

External resources

For more information, see the relevant SourceWatch page Bernard Ingham


  1. Biography on website of Celebrity Speakers Associates (CSA), 28 October 2003.
  2. Tom Wilkie, "Labour angered over Ingham consultancy", The Independent, unavailable online, 30 December 1991.
  3. PR Week, 16 September 1993. (add html link if available)
  4. Director Summary: Bernard Ingham, undated, accessed 7 November 2012
  5. 'About SONE' on Supporters Of Nuclear Energy website, dated 26 April 2004.
  6. Chris Grimshaw, "It's official: no dark Machiavellian conspiracy for new nuclear power", Corporate Watch newsletter, issue 21, December 2004.
  7. Crispin Aubrey, "Beauty and the bog brush", The Guardian, unavailable online, 5 November 1993.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Comments made by Bernard Ingham at 'Your countryside, your choice - The Impact of Land-based Wind Energy Schemes on the British Countryside', a one-day conference organized by the Saddleworth Moors Action Group, June 19, 2004, further details at website.
  9. Audio archive of the Today programme, BBC Radio 4, 29 November 2005. Audio clip featuring Ingham speaking on behalf of nuclear power at 2m45s, and transcript.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Nuclear's presentational problem, speech to the World Nuclear Association annual symposium, 2002.
  11. Text of speech due to have been delivered at the Energy Industries Lunch, 12 December 2005. The lunch was cancelled.