The peer review issue became fashionable among the small group identified by Wegman (43 climate scientists) because it appears they were able to control the process by peer reviewing each others work. This gave them ascendancy in climate science even though many of them were specialists in other areas.
The assumption that peer review guarantees the authenticity of a work is foolish. As long as who is doing the peer review is kept secret it cannot be a trusted system. The fact people are afraid to point out problems underlines the competitive and confrontational nature of research today. It also underscores the the smallness of the community involved and the potential for dominance by cliques.
As an aside, Wegman's critique can be found here:
In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.
And to provide some perspective, Diana Crane wrote in her classic "Invisible Colleges" that, for example, workers in the sub-field of "finite groups" (circa the early to mid 1960s) totalled 102 mathematicians, with a much smaller group within the 102 producing most of the papers, and collaborating with others in the group in co-authoring numerous papers. In fact, by the criteria of that classic sociological study, the researcher interactions within climate science come off looking pretty normal.
But, back to Tim Ball:
I think we should all think long and hard about the problems McIntyre, Beck and others had getting published in 'mainstream' climate journals, whether we agree with what they say or not. It is why I commend what Sonja with E & E has done so much. A measure of the value is, sadly, in the criticisms her work and publication receive from those in the small groups.
As another aside, the problems McIntyre has getting published in mainstream climate journals stem largely, as many of his supporters are willing to admit, from his unwillingness to write something up from the miasma of graphs and charts on his blog and actually submit it.
I know the community of specialist areas and during early days in climate were small that if you received a paper for review you usually knew who had written it. The same was true of research applications. It was and is very easy to select those papers that push a certain theme. Of course, you also have what I call 'editor selected peer review censorship'. Once a clique has established dominance they tend to receive more papers for review. Even if an editor is not involved with a group and doesn't know the details of the subject it is logical to send an article to the 'high priests' of the subject. They, of course, then reject heresy.
Hard to say if Tim rejects peer review per se, as fellow Chris De Freitas seems to here but, once again, from a sociological perspective the structure of the climate science research groups seems more typical than atypical, so his arguments should apply generally if they apply here.
A weird sort of intellectual relativism at work in Mr. Ball's thinking, where the application of standards to incoming scientific work amounts to Oppression. Keep fighting The Man, Tim.