Who needs David Icke? When it comes to raging paranoia, built on the back of a good old-fashioned whipped-up conspiracy, there was nothing to beat the former sports presenter and self-styled healer, but now even the excursions into La-La land no longer need him: since the Daily Mail went after training and networking organisation Common Purpose, they’ve all been jumping aboard the bandwagon.
The Mail hatchet job was of course intended first and foremost to discredit the Leveson Inquiry, by undermining the legitimacy of his advisors. In the case of David Bell, this was partly achieved by linking him to Common Purpose. Then the Mail found “indirect” links between the group and two other Leveson advisors, and from there asserted that it was “the left’s old boy network”.
Moreover, it was an “incestuous” organisation, and may have broken Data Protection law once, as opposed to the Mail, which in hiring Steve Whittamore, broke Data Protection laws on well north of three hundred occasions. The supposed revelations were in reality little more than a petulant rant crossed with the Mail’s expertise in nudge-nudgery, but that was enough for the paranoia to take hold.
And to no surprise at all, those usual suspects included James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, who has combined the Rotherham UKIP fostering row with Have I Got News For You to decide that Ian Hislop may not be part of Common Purpose, but is somehow in league with it. Del Boy talks of a “secretive Fabian organisation” and laughably calls the Mail hatchet job a “bravura investigation”.
Private Eye is then smeared as “soft-left establishment”, HIGNFY is said to be in thrall to Common Purpose graduates, and the Mail’s piece is declared to be “established fact rather than conspiracy theory”. Hislop is denounced for not offering evidence to support his scorning the Mail attack, and yes, this comes from someone who never offers credible evidence to support his ranting and abuse.
And Delingpole is not alone: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes, has warned of “the Common Purpose organisation which pursues a ‘we know best’ Fabian-style progressive agenda in the public sector”, this being proved because the Rotherham council Director of Childrens’ and Young Peoples’ Services went on one of their courses.
Staines sounds as if he is channelling Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, as he talks of “progressive ideologues ... obsessive efforts to normalise and celebrate non-traditional family structures ... progressive imperative ... undermining marriage”. I’m sure Staines and Delingpole are not paranoid, but that doesn’t mean they’re not coming to get them.
Pity David Icke: thanks to the Mail and its devotees, we no longer need his wisdom.