As if it wasn’t bad enough for the BBC to have been fingered as a Fox News lookalike earlier in the year for providing endless platforms for climate change deniers , they’re now caught up in another unholy ‘bias row’ – accused this time as a not-so-secret mouthpiece for the nuclear industry.

And it’s my old friend Roger Harrabin who’s dunked them in it this time.

Frankly, Roger can be so cynical about practically everything under the sun that I find it hard to believe that he would deliberately malign Friends of the Earth – by suggesting that they have somehow softened their position on nuclear power – purely to hand a propaganda coup to the nuclear industry.

That doesn’t sound at all like Roger to me.

But his report on FoE’s ‘repositioning’ on nuclear power was indeed seriously inaccurate, and apparently based on gossip from one of those pro-nuclear greens who love to stir up trouble. And it’s been highly problematic for Friends of the Earth since then.

Knowing the kind of machinations that go on in this murky world, I’m sort-of sympathetic to Friends of the Earth. But, to be honest, they brought some of this on themselves when they decided to do a ‘full review’ of their nuclear policy last year, on the somewhat spurious grounds that this would somehow bolster their scientific credibility.

Indeed, one or two people in FoE have described the earlier position on nuclear power as somehow being a bit ‘intuitive’ – a charge that I take serious exception to as a former Director of Friends of the Earth, given that our position was at least as scientifically robust in the 1970s and 1980s as anything that Friends of the Earth might be putting forward today.

At the time, Tom Burke and I were both very critical of Friends of the Earth when it announced its Review last year, knowing that such a move would give those nuclear spin-meisters endless, heaven-sent opportunities to make out that they’d gone soft – by wilfully misinterpreting what remains today as a suitably robust anti-nuclear position.

I don’t honestly think that Roger fits into that category, although Neil Crumpton has written a splendid piece linking Roger’s commentary with a much broader critique with the BBC’s pro-nuclear bias.

Unsurprisingly, Roger’s not having any of that however, me thinks he protests too much! Friends of the Earth definitely deserve both an apology from him personally and the right of reply.