April 2016: The Big Issue Runs Fanboy Interview with David Icke

Despite hand-wringing over the normalisation of the “Alt-Right” and the influence of its disinformation (“fake news”) on public discourse, there seems to be less concern over the way that the ludicrous figure of David Icke has increasingly been positioned as some kind of reasonable commentator, or even as a prescient figure.

One piece of evidence for this that has recently come to my attention is a fanboy interview with Icke in The Big Issue by the comic-book author Mark Millar, which appeared back in April. Here’s an extract from the interviewer’s introduction and commentary:

What if everything you know is a lie? Suppose 13 families control the planet and our Presidents and Prime Ministers serve them instead of us? What if the BBC is an Orwellian Ministry of Information and filters news on behalf of the Establishment that appoints them? Could national treasure Jimmy Savile really be a monster involved in child-trafficking and Satanic ritual abuse with some of the most famous faces in Britain, including the ex-Prime Minister who signed us into the European Union?

…. Savile is probably the most reviled figure in the corporation’s shaky history. The police are investigating hundreds of leads against some of the most famous politicians of the last generation. Former PM Sir Edward Heath has been investigated by eight different police forces for crimes against children.

…His ideas are a lot for people to process but when you look at the papers over the past couple of years it’s striking how much of what he was mocked for is suddenly front-page news.

At first glance the interview could be dismissed as light-hearted fare – Icke’s claims get reported because the man has entertainment value, and people can make up their own minds without needing to be spoon-fed what to think. Like the astrology column, this is simply an item of “weird news” that no-one is expected to take seriously.

However, Millar is in earnest: his Twitter feed shows a long-standing enthusiasm for Icke (e.g. “LOVE David. Been reading the books since 97.”) and he confirmed in an exchange with Christopher Hallquist in January 2015 that he is not being ironic about it. According to Hallquist, Millar’s work includes plot elements that relate to Icke’s ideas; on the science fiction element of Icke’s beliefs, Millar’s (ambiguous) view is that Icke’s “alien theories no more weird to me than anything else that happens in the food chain”. The Big Issue was either unaware of this background or did not consider it relevant when it chose to publish his interview with Icke. (1)

Of course, Millar is correct that “much of what [Icke] was mocked for is suddenly front-page news”, but much of the material is simply a testament to degenerating media standards rather than a vindication of Icke – and let alone a corroboration of his claims. On Heath, sensational allegations that were reported in 2015 simply do not hold up to scrutiny (as I discussed here), and what we know of the ongoing police investigation seems to be highly problematic (see here and here). The  way that some people who claim to be exposing the truth about a wicked establishment so readily resort to citing the interest of “police forces” as evidence of guilt is quite remarkable.

On Savile, most of the posthumous allegations against him relate to opportunistic attacks: the source for the claim that he was involved in “Satanic ritual abuse” derives from Valerie Sinason, a therapist who is a believer in Satanic conspiracies, and who says she was told of Savile’s involvement some years ago by a patient. It is unfortunate that Sinason did not go public with this information immediately after Savile’s death, rather than waiting until other allegations were first broadcast a year later. And in any case, claims that Icke “exposed” Savile have been exaggerated, as I discussed here.

Millar’s interview also touches on the more fantastical elements of Icke’s claims:

His basic thesis is that just as demodex folliculorum are a parasite on human skin invisible to the naked eye, an unseen consciousness feeds on human emotion outside our spectrum of light. The Christians called them demons, the Arabs called them Djinn and the ancient Aztecs sacrificed human beings to them in industrial numbers in return for power.

This, Icke tells me, is still going on both in our country and every capital city in the world. “The Presidents and Prime Ministers and all the world’s Royals are interbred,” he explains. “You can trace their bloodlines all the way back into the ancient world. It’s the same families doing exactly the same things, worshipping these same entities to maintain power. YOU might not believe what they believe in but by God THEY certainly do.”

This suggests a spiritual belief rather than a science-fiction fantasy. Why is Millar coy about referring directly to “shape-shifting reptiles”, which is how Icke refers to the physical form of these “demons”?

And why was Icke not challenged directly on what he means by “bloodlines”? In 2015, Icke posted to Twitter an image that shows the Queen and Lord Rothschild with large Stars of David stamped on their foreheads, flanking the Prime Minister of Israel, who is depicted as a puppeteer controlling ISIS, the Syrian conflict, and the 2013 Paris attackers. Icke has occasionally lamented that he has been falsely accused of being anti-Semitic, but it is a dereliction of journalistic duty to publish Icke’s statements without challenging him on this kind of material.

Footnote

(1) As part of his defence of Icke, Millar also cited allegations of child sex-abuse and murder against politicians which at the time were being promoted by the website Exaro News, with some assistance from the Sunday People newspaper. According to Millar, the story was being suppressed by the BBC and other outlets, out of collusion with the powerful. The main allegations here eventually unfolded as the Operation Midland fiasco.

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