In the spring and summer of this year, I started to visit and interview various figures (public and otherwise) who had led or helped to drive the UK’s pretty strident resistance to the new normal. I had a book in mind, or a very long article. But bits of it seem to keep falling off!
First to go was the story of Bob Moran. Now, I find this account of a very enjoyable trip to James Delingpole’s country home works rather well on its own, too.
So here it is…
James Delingpole’s journey, from early 2020 to the present, is one rarely – if ever – travelled, a steady descent from the near summit of British establishment media to the deepest of rabbit holes.
From the Times, Telegraph, Mail and Spectator (where he still turns in a regular TV column, to my occasional amazement) to earnest podcast ruminations on secret societies, chemtrails, psy-ops, exorcisms, false flags and other outré para-political obsessions.
It was also I might add, a descent I followed with some gratitude. It’s not every day a member of the establishment joins the team, and James Delingpole fast became a kind of virtual friend (or friendly figure) to many of us through the darkest days of 2020 and 2021.
“It’s like a cascade,” he tells me, in the flesh now, perched lankily on an armchair in his sitting room, sunshine pouring over him from the bay window. “Once you realize you’ve been sold a false prospectus and everything you know is up for grabs – including Hollywood, the media, publishing, academe, what your parents taught you – well there’s no turning back is there?”
As will be familiar to anyone that listens to his show the Delingpod, or London Calling (where he splits the difference with old friend and solid normie – but fellow Covid dissident – Toby Young), Delingpole remains openly proud, almost to the point of paradox, of his former life’s credentialed distinction.
“I feel a bit like a Zelig character. Because I know so many people who seem to be in the establishment. For example, I was at college at Christ Church. One of my friends was Kate Bingham, who was in charge of the vaccine programme.” (The ‘vaccine’ he 9 times out of 10 would refer to as the ‘death jab’ or ‘clot shot’.) “I was at school with Chris Whitty. I was friends with David Cameron and Boris Johnson, who went on to become prime ministers. Among my other friends were Michael Gove. I’m sure I could go on.”
He adds that he had long assumed this rather gilded path would eventually deliver him to the House of Lords.
“It’s been a while since I thought that but I did. It just seemed like it was inevitable and why not? I’m intelligent. I’m well educated, I can hold my knife and fork properly.”
He had the added advantage of being a true believer – in the superiority, moral and otherwise, of the British state and its institutions. But it could also be said that Delingpole had long evinced a Janus-faced character. For example, he was an incongruous early enthusiast for acid house and ecstasy (and enduringly partial to hallucinogens in general), and was always ultimately willing to follow his hunches and convictions where they led him.
At least a couple of times, this latter tendency brought him across the line that hemmed in most establishment conservatives. He was a staunch Brexiteer (though he was hardly alone on that one). More presciently, in 2012 he published an assault on the shibboleths of environmentalism, Watermelons: How Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing your Children’s Future.
“I set out to write a book just examining the main discrepancies between the official narrative on environmentalism and the reality…. And I got a long way. Stuff about Maurice Strong for example, the Canadian, who was big in the UN, very close to the CCP, and was behind the Earth Summit. During his life he let slip that he felt it was the duty of the elites to transcend governments. It was a dry run for what’s happening now.”
It was certainly Delingpole’s dry run. In 2020, faced with a genuine crisis of political conscience around Covid, he didn’t hesitate to go entirely rogue, in the process permanently rupturing his cozy personal and professional ensconcement in the political elite. There would, henceforth, be no more expectation of a Lordship.
Who did he like or miss most, from that old milieu, I wondered?
“Michael Gove I was very, very fond of. He’s very simpatico in person. He’s very witty, he’s mischievous, he’s well read, cultured, charming, funny. He’s generous. Who else? Kate Bingham, lovely jolly super-mum, all round achiever…”
I’d previously heard him allude – on his Telegram – to a scary-sounding phone call he’d had from Gove (then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: a sort of semi-official éminence grise) early in the pandemic. I asked if he’d care to reveal some of the finer details.
“It was a really, really sinister moment,” he frowns. “I had just had a cocktail, unfortunately, so I was rat-arsed. And the phone rings…
“‘Hullo, James, it’s Michael.’”
He does a rather good impersonation of his former friend, soft and oleaginous, the voice of a dangerous court’s most ambitious eunuch.
“Michael – very nice to hear from you,” Delingpole responded, flattered. (You don’t get too many calls from your friends, apparently, when they assume control of the country.)
As the conversation progressed, however, it transpired that Gove had not taken time out of his busy schedule in a spirit of sociability. Instead, he started to grill Delingpole on the latter’s fast evolving pandemic outlook. Citing a recent conversation with a mutual friend, Gove asked if it was true that Delingpole thought there was a conspiracy underway – one involving (imagine!) the World Economic Forum…
“Can I ask you where you get this information?”
“It’s all over the internet if you know where to look.”
“And who else of your close acquaintances shares these views?”
“Nobody else pretty much thinks the way I do,” Delingpole told him. “Nobody that you know. But I know what’s happening and I think what you’re doing – your participation in this – is disgraceful. I think what you’re doing is frankly satanic.”
He remembers his parting shot. “You’ve read English, you’ve read Doctor Faustus. You know how it ends. It doesn’t end well.”
When he hung up, the hairs on the back of his neck were standing tall. “It was like being interviewed by Lavrentiy Beria,” he says. He only wished he hadn’t had that cocktail.
I suggest that all his connections put him in a rather unique predicament when it comes to Covid fallout. For everyone on our side, it was tantamount to a fire sweeping through your relationships. But in his case, of course, it wasn’t only consuming friendships with people he happened to know, but with those literally imposing the new normal on the UK.
“Do you know what I love the smell of burning bridges,” he chimes in, with relish. “The thing is I really, really don’t care. I actually wouldn’t care if a single one of all the friends of my past didn’t talk to me again. I say that rather cavalierly. Friendship is nice. I would like to be able to get on with all my old friends and not have this thing between us. But I could cope, more than cope, if I didn’t.”
In place of the establishment, he found a new network, and an even bigger audience (including myself), among the “awake”. I wanted to know what he made of the very heterodox English resistance to the new normal.
“At events like the marches, we discovered how the world really is, and that we’re all united by love and friendship and shared values. It’s as if we’ve finally broken free of the predator class’s paradigm, where we’ve been encouraged to think of anyone that doesn’t share our characteristics as the enemy. We’ve been told there are these divisions and we’ve discovered these divisions aren’t there at all.
“So in a way we’ve created this parallel society. It’s like recovering Eden, I think. it’s been a beautiful thing. If anything good has come out of this horror it’s that. it’s been amazing.”
The Delingpole family’s bucolic home is located on the grounds of a larger estate. After the interview, my host took me for a stroll, in gentle sunshine, through a tranquil meadow and forest. We discussed Dostoevsky, Christianity, reincarnation, and Dave McGowan.
Delingpole’s mood and perspective seemed to shunt sharply between an upbeat, religious outlook, and a deep, rather morbid lugubriousness: the mention of the dissident conspiracy writer Dave McGowan’s strange demise (he had been a friend of mine – and died of a cancer eerily predicted by a menacing troll) stirred up Delingpole’s gloomier tendencies.
He evidently considers himself in some unspecific degree of personal danger for his public break with and fulsome critique of his old friends – the country’s ruling elite.
We approached a small picturesque church on a hill and went inside. He pointed out the historical curios – centuries-old carvings on the pews; the family crest of George Washington embedded in stained glass. I murmur approvingly. “I thought you’d appreciate these,” he says, smiling at me, radiantly charming and flattering.
I had a light suspicion I wasn’t the first person to receive this pleasantry. Moreover, I wondered if its previous recipients weren’t figures of genuine contemporary (and historical) note. This would make the compliment, like its author, steeply downwardly mobile.
For some reason it was this possibility, more than anything else I had seen during the visit, that really made me appreciate everything Delingpole had sacrificed for what he thought was true and right. The man who knew too well how to hold his knife and fork, had ultimately proved unable to properly hold his tongue.
You can follow KB Goldtooth on twitter here or listen his podcast here. James Delingpole’s podcast – the Delingpod – is available through most podcast platforms, or you can follow him on twitter or telegram
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