Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I Like Icke

The least interesting explanation of David Icke’s behaviour over the last twenty years is that he is insane, although that in itself throws up lots of questions, especially around the way society treats the mentally ill. Now I don't think David Icke is insane, but then I don't really know what David Icke is, conman, prophet, cosmic messenger or heir presumptive to the Godhead. I don't believe any of what he says, but I can't be sure that it isn't true.
David's personal history is fascinating, and if it looks familiar it's because it mirrors what generally happens to saints and messiahs: a normal life thrown into chaos by an impending sense of destiny; a sudden, sometimes violent conversion; martyrdom; redemption. Lest we get too carried away, psychiatric wards are full of saints and messiahs, too, of course.


David was born in 1952. From an early age, he wanted to be a professional footballer. Like Albert Camus and Pope John Paul II, he played in goal and, like them, enjoyed the solitude and time for reflection that the position offered: the sense of being in a team, but also apart. He played for Hereford and Coventry before retiring at the shockingly young age of 21 with chronic arthritis. It was this crippling condition that would perhaps have more bearing on his unusual destiny than any other factor.

With his footballing career behind him, David then decided that he would like to work for the BBC, so he became a sports reporter on a Leicester newspaper before breaking into regional radio and TV, achieving his goal in 1983 as one of the 'Breakfast Time' team alongside Selina Scott and cross dressing flagellant and drug user Frank Bough. At the same time, struggling with his arthritis, he began looking into alternative therapies and this, ultimately, led him to new age theories and The Green Party, for whom he became a spokesman in 1988 (the Green Party did not have a leader on principle, but Icke was by far the most charismatic and popular of its four elected speakers, a de facto leader).

David, pictured just before things got weird


In 1989, things started to get weird. David began to feel the pull of destiny, an unexplained, unseen influence, a presence that disconcerted him and left him anticipating something that never seemed to materialise. Whilst in a newsagents he felt a sudden magnetic force, a strange, compelling energy that directed him to a book by a psychic medium called Betty Shine. David decided to contact Betty and see if she could help him with his arthritis.

In 1990, David left the BBC, having resigned after refusing to pay his poll tax, a political stance the ‘impartial’ corporation couldn’t allow. Privately, I’m sure they felt relieved, as David was clearly going through some sort of mid-life crisis. That same year, Betty Shine had some unexpected news for David: he had been chosen to heal the Earth.
The deal was this: David would be the receptacle for information from the spirit world. He would not understand it all, but he would pass on the messages through books and personal appearances. He would be ridiculed and scorned but, ultimately, he would be proved right.


Shortly afterwards, David felt a strong urge to visit Peru and, at a pre-Incan burial site, he went through his most profound experience to date, feeling as if he had been plugged directly into some spiritual socket, his body and mind energised with an unearthly power, as if he were an empty vessel to be filled with new and astonishing ideas.

On his return to the UK, David resigned from the Green Party and, dressed in a turquoise (a ‘healing colour’) track suit, called a press conference to tell everybody what had happened to him, that a series of global catastrophes were imminent, and that the world would end in 1997. He has said that, even as he made the announcement, part of him was thinking ‘David, this is nonsense’*.


The national press seemed to think that David was in the middle of a massive nervous breakdown so, sensitively, played the story for laughs. The BBC, perhaps wishing to get even with their difficult ex-employee, invited him on to their flagship ‘Wogan’ show to talk about his new direction, where he was met by Terry at his least twinkly and a derisive, mocking audience. Somewhere along the line, he mentioned he was the ‘son of God’, although, he says, he meant that he was simply a part of the ‘infinite consciousness’ rather than claiming to be the second coming.  Whatever he meant, however, the appearance made David a laughing stock, a national joke. It nearly destroyed him and, presumably, destroyed Wogan’s chances of getting the Dalai Lama or The Pope on the show.  
Turquoise lamb to the slaughter

Terry stifles a titter

'But they're not laughing with you, they're laughing at you'


But David prevailed. He didn’t try and make the national news any more, instead concentrating on writing books and engaging with an ever growing audience who were at least receptive to his ideas, even, in some cases, thinking of him as a Prophet. His early Biblical-style predictions of floods and earthquakes became more sophisticated over the years, including predicting attacks on major US cities between 2001 and 2002, as well as a Middle Eastern conflict that would lead to World War 3 (his ‘hit rate’ is certainly better than the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have predicted the end of the world ten times since 1914, and they didn't even mention Jimmy Savile, who David outed as a predatory paedophile the day Savile died) Over time, his audience grew, and his reputation, irreparably damaged within ‘normal’ society, grew stronger and stronger in alternative circles (his website currently receives over 350,000 hits a day).

David’s main focus over the last twenty years has been to make sense of the messages he apparently receives from the ether, weaving together a compelling, hugely complex web of conspiracy theory that appeals to almost everyone who thinks that the world is a shadowy place with something to hide.  He has drawn together a worldview that is also a saga, a continuous narrative - part 'Revelations', part 'Dune', part H.P Lovecraft - which can be continually updated to incorporate current events and personalities.

At the heart of it is the idea that the world is controlled by an elite few, and that everyone else is unknowingly manipulated into slavishly following their orders. It’s the standard Illuminati / Bilderberg / New World Order idea, but with a uniquely Icke-ian twist : the secret leaders of the world are alien lizards. Oh, and paedophiles. So, yes, alien paedophile lizards, who use blood sacrifice and genocide to create the negative energy that they feed on.

Now that sounds ridiculous, but, again, can you prove it isn’t so? Don’t all religions start with a seemingly fantastic truth which, in many cases, may even be a lie? And it’s not just religion that can be hard to take. Some people still refuse to believe the Earth isn’t 6,000 years old despite all the evidence; some people simply can’t believe in evolution, or that Princess Diana is dead, or that Jamie Cullum isn’t a jazz artist - it doesn’t mean that they are all stupid, or mad, or hucksters, or con men, or liars - just that, perhaps, they find it difficult to overcome their programming (except the Jamie Cullum people: they’re simply idiots).

Icke’s main point seems to be not much more than that we are all conditioned from birth to work for the system without ever really questioning what’s behind it all, so perhaps his paedophile alien lizards are symbolic or allegorical or just a shock device to shake up our collective brain boxes. If his message can be encapsulated into a few guiding principles it might be: you are not free; you are living an illusion; there are answers out there, but you have to look harder and in different places, and forget everything you think you know.
Now I don’t necessarily believe that The Queen is a reptilian human hybrid and murderer, or that the Moon is a control station, or that Cancer is a fungus from outer space, but, when it comes to making up your own mind in this weird and impenetrably baffling world we live in, I like Icke.   

* This part of the story always reminds me of Howard Beale in 'Network' (1976). Beale is the respected long term anchorman of a news programme who, when he is told he is about to be fired, goes on air to say that he is about to commit suicide, and if everyone tunes in next week they can see him do it. Beale doesn't have to kill himself because his ratings improve, so instead he becomes 'the mad prophet of the airwaves', a crazy holy man who goes onto TV to tell it how it is and shout 'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!'.

We take it for granted that Beale is literally as mad as hell, but there is a scene when he is woken in the middle of the night by a light on his face and he sits up and has an animated conversation with an unseen presence. It's hugely unsettling as, for a moment, you're no longer sure if this is a delusion or is really happening - then you realise that, for Beale, it's all the same thing.

On a lighter note, it also strikes me that Icke's conversion from football pundit to new age prophet is an Alan Partridge series waiting to happen.


  1. The thing about Icke that has always confused me is how people can find him so charismatic. He always creeped me out from the get-go, simply reading the football results, years before his epiphany. Something to do with his eyes & lips. Where Savile was the strange uncle you could just about tolerate being in the presence of as long as mum and dad were around, Icke made me get up and change channels.

    Also is it so surprising that someone with such a scatter-gun approach to the facts should eventually get something "correct" as he appears, in a certain light, to have done with Savile? Statistically speaking it would be more strange if Icke was consistently wrong.

    And then there's the whole burden of proof thing. It's not up to us (the skeptics) to prove "prophets" like Icke are incorrect. That is simply not how it works. Quite the reverse in fact.

    I'm all for the general encouragement of keeping an open mind and not accepting all that you are told in life at face value, but I think I'll stick with the likes of Sagan and Randi for now when it comes to questing for the truth.

  2. He started being a lot less funny for me when he gave David Irving space on his website to raise money for his lawsuit against Deborah Lipstadt, on the grounds that suing someone for quite correctly calling you a liar makes you a defender of free speech, somehow. He's also been very vocal in the past in his support for other holocaust deniers and revisionists. He maintains that he has no particular axe to grind when it comes to Jews, but he has some fucking funny ways of showing it.

  3. I'm not trying to convince skeptics. I'm not trying to convince anyone, actually. My main point is, I suppose, that Icke is ridiculous, but because he is a certain TYPE of ridiculous he is reviled by many who follow equally daft but more socially acceptable truths.

    Yes, you're right, make enough wacky predictions and you'll get some right. Again,

    It's a very personal thing, but I find Icke and Uri Geller and Ted Serios fascinating and entertaining characters regardless - the psychology is fascinating - and find James Randi a bit of a kill joy - but this is from the selfish perspective of someone who doesn't want things debunked because I rather enjoy the pretence.

  4. I do get your point. I do find them (Gellar, Icke etc)to be fascinating also. Or at least I find the one's like them who seem to truly believe in what they say can, if nothing else, become fuel for some entertaining fiction. I even managed to successfully dowse water with a couple of bent copper rods on one occasion, which still freaks me out to this day.

    However I also find compared to what 'the scientific method' has given us, the concerns of soothsayers are often a rather pale, narrow minded, petty and obsessively humanocentric way of viewing the universe... which in itself is interesting to up to a point. That point is around about where fools will happily part with their money and that is why I'm a fan of people like James Randi.

    No doubt I feel this way right now quite sharply because I'm re-reading Sagan's The Demon Haunted World. I love a good legend/myth, they teach us so much about ourselves and where we come from but neither do I feel any the lesser for knowing that myths are just that. Quite the contrary, I feel empowered. There is still plenty that is truly mysterious out there to wonder at.

    1. Thanks, Mr. P, an interesting response and 'The Demon Haunted World' goes on the list!

  5. I've met a few of Icke's lizard people.

  6. Icke is a fruitcake & should be pitied.
    I'm more concerned about the idiots who believe what he says.