A Bridgen Too Far

Gregory Davis - 23 12 22

MPs should be shunning the antisemitic crankery of James Delingpole, not appearing on his podcast.

On December 13, Andrew Bridgen MP delivered a surprising speech to Parliament in which he launched a remarkable attack on the safety of vaccines, accused the government and media of a “conspiracy of silence” around their harms and called for an immediate end to the vaccination programme. While his speech was condemned as unscientific and dangerous by experts, the video of it was shared widely by anti-vaccine campaigners and received millions of views on social media. 

Riding this new wave of popularity with anti-vaxxers, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire has now appeared on the podcast hosted by his old friend James Delingpole, the Spectator columnist and former editor of Breitbart London who has in recent years experienced something of a ideological shift towards some of the most extreme conspiracy theories going – or, as he is fond of saying, “fallen down the rabbithole” – prompted by his initial adoption of covid conspiracy theories.

Delingpole’s descent into the world of grand, overarching conspiracy theories is perhaps unsurprising – Breitbart was notorious for pushing Islamophobic conspiracies around so-called “No-Go Areas”, and it is unclear whether his ravings will ever reach the point that even the Spectator might consider him beyond the pale.

But if the Conservative Party wishes to maintain some distance from Delingpole’s bizarre world of chemtrails, reptilians and Holocaust denial, it must take action to discipline Bridgen and prevent its MPs from appearing on his podcast in future.

“Everything you told me was true”

Bridgen went much further in his discussion with Delingpole than he had in the Commons, perhaps responding to the eager encouragement of his host. After admitting to having sent Delingpole a text which said “Sorry James. Everything you told me was true”, Bridgen went on to sketch out his own theories of the pandemic’s origins, stating his belief that the virus had been created in a lab in Wuhan and released to the public much earlier than commonly believed:

“Gain of function research funded, probably by Mr. Fauci, allegedly being done at Wuhan. And I think that the virus got out in July of 2019. Whether it was released deliberately or by accident, I don’t know […] there are reports that Pfizer and other companies were developing the vaccine before COVID-19 was actually a thing. So that creates an interesting conundrum, doesn’t it?”

When Delingpole went on to mention the “Great Reset” conspiracy theory and asked him “how far down the rabbithole” asked was willing to go, Bridgen responded with a guarded answer that suggested his critique of vaccines was just the opening salvo of a new chapter in his career:

“I’m very conscious it could well go that far. The thread to pick on is vaccine harms, and whatever unravels from there, I’m quite happy to keep unravelling. But I think we need to take the public with us, and this is the one I can prove. That’s what I’m going to say on the media. […] I have concerns about many other issues. But I want to stick to what we can win on. And I don’t want to be discredited as a conspiracy theorist.”

Down the rabbit hole with Delingpole

If Bridgen has concerns about being mistaken for a conspiracy theorist, his choice of podcast to appear on was ill-advised. It is hard to overstate the degree to which Delingpole has embraced the extreme end of conspiracy theories, including but not limited to the existence of chemtrails, reptilian-human hybrids and demonic energy theft.

“EVERYTHING is an illusion, a construct of the Predator Class over generations of brainwashing. They faked: the Moon Landings, 9/11 […] Now please explain to me why these people, who are the embodiment of the purest evil […] will yet draw the line at spraying us from the skies with chemicals. ‘They just wouldn’t do that. It’s a conspiracy too far.’ Really??”

James Delingpole, 07/08/2022

And while some of his views – such as that dinosaurs are a “psy-op” but that reptilian-human hybrids are real – might seem comical and harmless, Delingpole’s search for truth among the woeful resources of the online conspiracy theorist scene has inevitably led him to embrace antisemitic narratives.

While he often appears cautious about spelling out the more antisemitic conclusions of his journey down the rabbithole, Delingpole has repeatedly promoted antisemitic tropes and recommended the work of a wide array of antisemites to his followers, such as the British far-right influencers Millennial Woes AKA Colin Robertson and the pseudonymous “Morgoth”, along with veteran Holocaust deniers like Clif High and Ole Dammegard.

Despite associating with overt antisemites, Delingpole has claimed to take a “dim view of people who say horrid things about Jews”. Yet he caveated this point by reassuring his followers that it “wasn’t to say I don’t think the ADL is one of the most evil organisations on earth; nor that I’m unaware of the Khazarian mafia problem”.

The “Khazarian Mafia” narrative, often invoked by David Icke, is an ahistorical conspiracy theory that alleges that Ashkenazi Jews are not true descendants of ancient Israel, and that an evil cabal of these “fake Jews” has controlled world events for centuries. Proponents often deny that the belief is antisemitic by claiming that the so-called “Khazarian Mafia” are not really Jewish, but it is functionally a coded form of the same antisemitic narratives that have fuelled violence against Jewish people for centuries.

Have you considered, for example, the Khazarian question? In 9th century, Khazaria – modern Ukraine – converted to Judaism. Their descendents are the Ashkenazi Jews who constitute the majority of Jews in the world. Tell me how the descendents of converts from a bandit-thief tribe in Ukraine are God’s chosen.

James Delingpole, 26/10/2022

I don’t think we’ve talked enough about the Khazarian Mafia. This, clearly, is the reason for what’s happening in the Ukraine (and everywhere else). Uncle Clif (High) says it all goes back to the late Bronze Age. 

James Delingpole, 21/03/2022

Delingpole has also use multiple dog-whistle terms and ideas to suggest he has sympathies with the Holocaust denial that so many of his podcast guests ascribe to, such as approvingly quoting the infamous denier David Irving in condemning mainstream historians as “court historians” and declaring World War 2 to be “the biggest rabbit hole of them all”.

Most recently, he defended Kanye West after he was dropped by various brands for his antisemitic tirades in October. Agreeing with a subscriber to his Telegram channel that “90% of banks, media and pharma appear to be owned by Ashkenazi Jews and those sectors seem to be largely responsible for this nightmare”, Delingpole replied:

“Yes. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of Kanye’s argument I am VERY suspicious of ANYONE at this late stage of the game who is still invoking ‘antisemitism’ as an excuse to police or close down a discussion. It’s just bollocks and people who play the ‘antisemitism’ game should be ashamed of themselves”

James Delingpole, 18/10/2022

The Conservative Party must act

Bridgen’s appearance on this podcast should be a major red flag to the Conservative Party. Having hinted that his vaccine critiques are just the start of his “unravelling”, the party needs to find out how much of Delingpole’s delusional worldview Bridgen has adopted, and decide how far they wish to be dragged down that rabbit hole with him.


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