According to a recent report in the Guardian, 60% of people believe at least one conspiracy theory about how the country is run. This phenomenon is said to be linked to a deep mistrust of authority. One certainly doesn’t have to look far to find some very nasty and dangerous conspiracy theorists, who have joined the mainstream. This article discusses some of the players involved.
Recently Momentum protested David Icke’s new show in Watford. Icke is a former BBC sports journalist who is now a full-blown crank and conspiracy theorist. He claims that the world is run by a Jewish cabal. Icke has, virtually single-handedly, revived the 19C anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as well as the mediaeval blood-libel against the Jews. He is a Holocaust denier.
Marlon Solomon has analysed Icke’s nasty output in “Is David Icke Britain’s Leading Antisemite?” (November 10, 2017), as well as in “Forget The Lizards: David Icke Is Dangerous And We Should Take Him Seriously” (January 4, 2017) where he said:
Icke’s politics today are combination of most of the dominant themes of contemporary neo-fascism, mixed in with a smattering of topics culled from the U.S. militia movement, European and Middle Eastern conspiracy theories and most recently (and predictably) Russian State propaganda.
Icke has immersed himself in anti-Zionist conspiracy theories, much of it from the Middle East, fusing them with old European antisemitic conspiracies of which there is an endless cultural reservoir. These days Icke’s Twitter timeline is heavily consumed by Zionism which he sees as the most malignant and destructive secret society on the planet.
Icke is also obsessed with VIP paedophilia and Satanic ritual abuse (SRA). Icke’s obsession with political paedophilia in the UK – he accused the late Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath of shape-shifting, SRA and child sacrifice in The Biggest Secret (1999) – has also won him a devoted followership. His claim that boys were trafficked to Dolphin Square reappeared in the tall tales spun by the now defunct fake news outlet, Exaro. Even Simon Danczuk MP fell for this, tweeting on 13 January 2015:
Everyday in London I go for a run around Pimlico & past Dolphin Square, & everyday I think about the horrific attacks on children there.
After one Twitter wag suggested “Maybe go a different way?”, various trolls and conspiracy theorists piled in. Revealingly, one is an Icke source. Step forward, “on the run” convicted forger Andrea Davison, who also used to feed stories to Scallywag.
Andrea and Scallywag
Scallywag was run by Simon Regan, a conspiracy theorist obsessed with the idea of a gay mafia. Regan’s parents were communists, and his targets were – predictably – Tories. Scallywag published scurrilous and prurient claims that Private Eye would not touch. It ran from 1989 to 1994, when it finally was closed down after a series of successful libel actions by PM John Major and Julian Lewis MP, who later had Regan successfully prosecuted for spreading false statements about him during an election campaign.
At the time Scallywagwas current, there was an explosion of claims about abuse in children’s residential homes, such as Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn in Wales. Regan believed that these were the tip of the iceberg. Curiously, Davison went on to run a fake document factory in North Wales, as part of a boiler-room scam. In 2012, she was convicted in absentia of 26 charges of theft and fraud.
Davison offered an extraordinary defence in her police interviews. She claimed that she used to work for the security services and was heavily involved in the arms to Iraq inquiry. She claimed that former PM Tony Blair could verify who she was.
Enter NAYPIC (again)
In another extraordinary coincidence, another participant in the said scam was none other than Chris Fay, formerly of NAYPIC (National Association of Young People In Care). He was convicted and jailed in a separate trial in 2011. Fay is also notorious for drawing up a list purporting to show that prominent political figures visited Elm guest house in Barnes as part of an alleged paedophile “ring.”
It seems that the guest house in question (now a private residence) was known to be “gay friendly”. At a time when homosexual relations between men were still illegal, that could be seen as enlightened. Its owner, Carol Casir, was convicted of running a disorderly house in 1983 and died in 1990. She seems to have been very badly affected by the police raid and subsequent adverse publicity.
The Elm list was circulated by another former NAYPIC member, Mary Moss, who also styles herself Jo Gavin, Jo Flores and Mary Josofar Valdivieso Fortuno Flores. It’s a bizarre document which claims that visitors included members of the Monday Club and of Sinn Fien [sic]. The idea that Sinn Feiners would hot-foot it to deepest Barnes, to rub shoulders with Monday Clubbers in a house of ill repute, is beyond parody.
The NAYPIC connection is also interesting. Back in the days of Scallywag, the Satanic panic and so on, NAYPIC became a player in the promotion of wild conspiracy theories (what sociologists would term a “conspiracy entrepreneur”). Having started as a legitimate advocate for young people with genuinely bad experiences of institutional care, such as inappropriate restraint or medication, NAYPIC fell down the rabbit hole and started to promote claims of snuff movies, Satanic ritual abuse, etc. It even claimed that an Elite Twelve were behind all this nefariousness.
Unsurprisingly, the Home Office withdrew its funding, but Fay and Moss seemingly kept the conspiracy flames burning all these years. The point to note is when we see such claims being resurrected, they are essentially a rehash of much older rumours and unverified claims, which could even be described as urban myths.
Watson and Poulton join the fray
On 3 October 2012, ITV broadcast its Exposure exposé of the late Sir Jimmy Savile. On 24 October 2012, Tom Watson MP told an astonished gathering of Parliament that it was encircled by paedophiles (he might just as well have adopted the late Geoffrey Dickens MP’s claim that “witchcraft is sweeping the country”).
The following year, Icke set up a new internet TV channel, with the grandiose title, The People’s Voice. One of Poulton’s interviewees for Icke’s new channel was Michael Shrimpton, who like Poulton is obsessed with the disappearance of Madeline McCann (on which he blames the German secret services).
Shrimpton went on to publish a bizarre book in 2014 entitled Spyhunter: The Secret History of German Intelligence alleging that Sir Edward Heath was a Nazi plant. Shrimpton was later convicted of a bomb hoax, after alleging the German Secret Services were planning to bomb the 2012 Olympics, and of possessing child pornography.
Meanwhile Davison on 19 December 2013 took some time out from running for her life in Argentina to join Poulton, for a Skype interview on The People’s Voice. Davison claimed to be working for a particular section of military intelligence on arms sales to Iraq, and to have stumbled across links to drugs, pornography and the systemic abuse of children at a national level.
In January 2014, Poulton parted company with Icke: not because of his odious anti-Semitism, of which she was presumably aware when she joined his new venture, but apparently in a disagreement over funding.
Meanwhile, during 2013-2015, Tom Watson MP was working with a cross party group of MPs, survivors and experts looking into allegations of child abuse which might have involved senior Westminster and Whitehall figures in the 1970s and 80s. It’s unclear who all these other players were. It’s ironic that an MP crusading about alleged cover-ups has yet to explain who exactly sat on this working party, what it did and what documents it saw.
Watson started piling on the pressure on Theresa May to locate “the abuse cover-ups”.
He drew attention to an article he had written for Medium on 21 March 2015. That rehashed the Elm guest house stories, and a vicious slur against Lord Brittan (then suffering with terminal cancer). Watson had written about Elm guest house:
“There is much unfounded rumour relating to the 1982 raid on the property. Despite the red herrings I am concerned there was a cover-up in the original inquiry. Sources close to the police have told me that Leon Brittan was named by a child linked to the raid. They say the child used “sexualised language” when speaking to social workers and spoke of his “Uncle Leon”.
This is about as stupid as it gets. Watson’s treatment of Brittan, whom he also described in Parliament as “evil”, was appalling. Watson clearly had a political axe to grind, namely, to smear the Conservative Party. “Could it be that Mrs Thatcher was also told of Leon Brittan’s links to the Elm Guest House and other inquiries? We need to get at the truth”, he said, citing the fake news outlet Exaro as a credible source.
Finally, once it became clear that Exaro’s claims were groundless, Watson has steered well clear of the “VIP paedophiles” Truther Movement.
Poulton, SRA and MPs
Poulton’s Parliamentary inquisition has not, thus far, born fruit. On 2 March 2014, she authored a breathless article for the Sunday Express, entitled “Paedophile MPs are mocking British law”. She went much further than Watson, claiming that MPs had been engaged in Satanic Ritual abuse:
I have recorded testimonies from a number of adults who have implicated former MPs, from all parties, as their abusers.
I have heard stories of satanic ritual abuse, a significant factor in many paedophile rings, at the hands of household-name parliamentarians past and present.
I have listened to claims of acts so obscene, so grotesque, borne out by the physical as well as mental scars many of these survivors carry, that to hear them relay their experience has left an indelible image in my mind and no attempt to erase the details has been successful.
She also cited her interview with Davison:
Ms Davison was adamant that paedophiles are a staple of parliamentary life and have been for some decades. She claimed that MPs have been filmed abusing children and this footage is used to blackmail parliamentarians into acquiescing on issues of global importance.
The two women’s sensational claims have not been verified.
Poulton set up her own channel and now describes herself as a troublemaker. She claims nevertheless to support Icke’s views of VIP paedophilia, and recently produced a film entitled “Paedophiles in Parliament”, which shows her staring fixedly at a computer screen in the manner of another self-appointed paedo-hunter, Mark Williams-Thomas.
I was going to start this article by discussing an extraordinary document posted to Icke’s radio outlet, the Richie Allen Show. It’s another list, with “obviously mad” written all over it. It seeks to itemise first, a number of purportedly reputable sources (cue the Usual Suspects in Crackpot Conspiracy Theorising including, of course, Icke himself), followed by “300 dangerous VIPs”, of whom I see I am one, along with the likes of Gina Miller, Matthew Parris and Louis Theroux.
You really couldn’t make this stuff up.