Tom Phillips & Jonn Elledge (2022) Conspiracy: A History of Bxllocks Theories, and How Not to Fall For Them.

I like to think I’m pretty good contestant at Conspiracy Theories. But any fellow conspirators, I guess, imagine the same thing. A general rule of thumb, whatever the 45th American President believed, I believe the opposite. The great thing about fiction is you can—literally—put words into people’s mouths. In Ugly Puggly, for example, this is exactly what I think, but not so exactly that anyone would believe a real person would think this way.

 “I tapped my pocket for my fag packet, even though I’d been off them for two years. ‘Yeh know yev got a hangover, when you waken up wae three socks—and only one of them is yers.’

Ugly Puggly sighed. ‘There’s a mystery there waiting to be unravelled by future conspiracy theorists, involvin lizards and flyin saucers. But imagine wakin up one mornin and findin oot the Americans, the once-great nation that used ex-Nazis to help land man on the moon, have elected the moron’s moron as President. And he doesn’t believe in anythin apart from his love-in with Putin, who he labelled a “genius” just before he invaded Ukraine for the third time. Certainly, no global warmin. Won’t sign yer Paris Agreement or attend Cop-out, whatever number we ur at. When all the major nations meet and agree to disagree, while the collapse of civilisation and the sixth great global extinction event is noo.’

I finished the dregs of filtered tea. ‘Fuck sake, I just asked for a burnt sausage, no a lecture. It’s too early fer that stuff.’

‘Nah,’ he pulled open the oven door and banged the Dalmuir duck about in its baking tray. ‘It’s too late. And it’s no jist about us.’ He nodded at the ceiling. ‘He’ll no have a future.’

‘Och, he’s no got a future anyway. Maybe he should join the Lib-Democrats. Or handcuff himsel to a petrol tanker. At least one of they hings might be useful.’

‘Maybe he should. Maybe we all should. There’d be worse hings in the word tae dae.’

‘Aye, it’s like eatin broccoli. Yeh know it’s good for yeh, but it tasted shite. But I draw the lines at the Liberal Democrats. Remember no long ago that was the same mob that formed an Alliance wae the worst o the Tory scum.’

Ugly Puggly raised an eyebrow. ‘Well, worst till noo.’

‘When yer scrappin the bottom of the barrel, there’s almost mair barrel tae scrape. It’s like the mystery of the smelly socks. There’s always another Tory cunt appears that’s worse than the last.’”

Phillips and Elledge get right into it with the history of ‘blood libel’. They ask and answer in Chapter 1, ‘What is a Conspiracy Theory?’

Saturday, Holy Week, 1144.

None of us were there. If you were, contact me, I’ll have a theory about that too.

The body of a twelve-year-old boy called William was found in a forest near Norwich.

Twelve-year-old now is boyish. Then it was middle-aged.

He was found at the foot of an oak tree.

Who killed him?

We don’t know, but we’ll blame the Jews, always comes in at one or two in the conspiracy theory top ten. Sometimes they can hold multiple spots at the same time.

Culprits caught. William mother alleged William was last seen going into the house of a Jewish family. But she wasn’t sure if she dreamt that bit. She was sure in the dreams the Jews were attacking her.

Fair cop. All Jews in Norwich murdered and their properties stolen. Heinrich Himmler and the SS did a similar job. But first they registered the Jews as being Jews and had them write down a complete list of all they owned.

Jews were killed for being Jews in the twentieth century. A tautology.

In the tenth century, a reason, however flimsy, had to be found for murdering Jews. Sir Simon de Novers was heavily in debt to a Jew. One of the wealthiest men in Norwich. The knight’s advocate was Bishop William Turbe. He argued that Sir Simon de Novers had not killed to avoid repayment of his debt. His motive was pure. He killed the ringleader of the killer of his nephew Willian of Norwich in a nefarious Jewish ritual and blood sacrifice of a pure Christian child.

Scotland has a Not Proven verdict. Simon de Noever’s case was Not Proven. He walked free. That might have been the end of that.

But his case was taken up by a Welsh monk living and working in Norwich. Thomas of Monmouth was responsible for writing the pamphlet: The Life and Passion of William of Norwich.  

No, I haven’t read it. Thomas of Monmouth cited Turbe (as I’m citing Phillips and Elledge p43) to calm the Jews at Passover routinely sacrificed a Christian child. In this case, William of Norwich. They crowned him with thorns and crucified him. A parody and mockery of The Passion of Christ.

Simple arithmetic, which I’m not very good at. No conspiracy, I’m a bit thick. Jewish Passover happens once a year. This is 2023. This supposedly happened in 1144. SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann, who helped murder six-million Jews, estimated there were eleven million Jews in Europe, including Britain, in 1945. Subtract 11 144 from 2023 and multiply by 11 000 000 to estimate the number of innocent Christian children murdered by Jews since (and before) 1144. Don’t send me the answer. Eat it. The truth sets you free.

For every head, there is a tale. The flipside is the local sheriffs in Norwich had been bribed by the Jews to look the other way.

Comparisons can be made with Pizzagate. I didn’t know what this was until I read a book about QAnon. If you don’t know what QAnon is you’ve not been missing much. Jake Angeli is the face of QAnon. His face and bare chest covered in red, white and blue. A furry hat with horns. Armed with a spear with the Stars and Stripes American flag attached, he also carried a bullhorn, as he stood behind the desk of the United States Senate, 6th January 2021. A leading member of an army of incompetents called to Washington by the moron’s moron in the moral crusade to help unsteal the election.

Naively, I thought, chants at the moron moron’s rallies which called for the jailing of his Democratic rival, Hilary Clinton, had to do with an email account by aide John Podesta hacked by the Russians, and the information fed to Trump, and relayed back to her, in breach of federal law. She didn’t, for example, steal TOP SECRET documents and leave them lying around her house. Instead she ordered pizza. This was code for orgy, murder, cannibalism as innocent children were tortured and  sacrificed in a satanic paedophilic ring in which the Washington elite were party. They might have been lizard people, like former Queen Elizabeth II and Charles III. According to Donald Trump only one man could stop them and that was Donald Trump. There is a danger of repeating yourself, but QAnon concurred. He was the saviour for foot soldiers like Jake Angeli in a moral quest not only to save America, but the world.

One foot soldier, 4th December 2016, took an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and shot up a pizza restaurant named by Alex Jones, Infowars. He demanded captive children be freed from the basement. The restaurant didn’t have a basement. But the online world has many rooms.

The Illuminati feature in many. Also known as International Jewry.  New World Order. I quite liked the story that David Cameron went to the Shetlands to stop Scotland seceding from the Union and taking control of Clair Ridge oilfield. This would have made us like a Tartan Norway. London government could no longer fritter away tax revenues to fund tax cuts for rich people. Our proud nation would have a sovereign wealth fund equivalent to super-rich Norway and allow us to invest in a green future. I might have made that last bit up.

Phillips and Elledge in their Conclusion ask us to interrogate our beliefs with these questions.

Could anything disprove it?

 Yes, global warming and global catastrophe is not inevitable. But we are rushing towards each checkpoint quicker than anticipated.

How does it deal with contradictory evidence?

As a storyteller, I find this interesting. Some of the largest corporations in the world came together and lied, lied, and lied again. They paid for propaganda and politicians and took over the seats of government, penalising those that told the truth. Contradictory evidence was their battlefield. They used it to kill our children’s children.

Does it exist in a bubble?

I’m not a scientist or (as you’ve seen) not good with numbers. But I understand the null hypothesis. Conspiracy theories start the assumption the answer is obvious. Then it works backwards towards the evidence. Putin’s that blue-eyed Vikings were the first Rus in what is known now as Ukraine in the eighth or ninth century, and they helped create a great Russia and the Third Rome of the East. Ukraine therefore doesn’t exist outside Russia, because it is Russian.  

Global warming beings and ends with the data. Man-made or not? Not in terms of yes or no, but probability. The chances of Leicester winning the league were around 1000/1 at the start of the season. They won it. Bookies don’t say they won’t win it again. Scientists don’t say glaziers won’t freeze again, but they give odds of an upset. Over the longer term, bookies never lose. 97% of scientists are backing one winner and us as losers.

Are you applying the same standards to the conspiracy theory as you do to the official narrative?

No, I’m biased. I begin with the assumption that those rich money-grabbing bastards are lying to me, not because I count as anything, but because I count as nothing. Standard conspiracy theorist thinking.

How many people would this conspiracy theory need to involve? And what’s keeping them in line?

Money, power and  status are all interlinked to the product they sell and the lies they sow. How many? I’d guess 1% of 8 billion. Whatever that is, sounds about right? Multiply that number by around 100 for the ‘running dogs’ that do their master’s bidding. Perhaps more.

Does is ascribe a ridiculous level of competence to conspirators?

 Absolutely. It’s not us against them in a life-and-death struggle for the future of the planet and our children. It’s us question ourselves. While we do so, they create facts on the ground and in the air in the form of greenhouse gases that kill us. The sting in the tail is it kills them too. Any victory now will be pyrrhic.  

Does this plan rely on everything going right?

Yes, The Paris Agreement and Cop-22 show a willingness to believe, but not a willingness for rich countries to share their wealth with poor countries. This looks increasingly unlikely.

How has the conspiracy been kept completely secret, apart from a coded clue to the entire plot that the conspirators have deliberately placed in plain sight, like printing it on banknotes or something, as if they’re a serial killer taunting Mr Police?  

Fossil fuel companies did their own research. They placed their findings into departments and downplayed the results. They created an army of spies and hangers on, willing to do the dirty work. Some true believers, that also happened to be among the richest men in the world, such as the Koch Brothers and Charles Koch in particular.

Is it really likely that these people are working together?  

It seems unlikely that Charles Koch, who promulgates a Darwinian form or capitalism with little or no government in the economy and Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator who claimed to invade Ukraine to save it from fascists would have much in common. But their commonwealth and power is largely dependent on fossil fuels. A future without fossil fuels leaves both men like commanders of horse cavalry after the First World War. We still need millions of horses for the Second World War. But it’s the Third World War that worries me.

How does it make you feel?

 This is the big question. It’s not what you think, but how you feel? I’ve a pal that didn’t get the Covid vaccine. He came up with a lot of reasons that are in this book. Conspiracy. They’re out to get you. How do you know? How much are they making? I’ve not got all the answers. I’ve not got many of the answers. And I knew it wouldn’t really have mattered what I said. There’s always another ‘what if’ and get-out clause, if pigs could fly?

I know, or think I know that global warming is real. I think it will kill tens or hundreds of millions, perhaps billions as nations like India and Pakistan fight over fresh water, with China perhaps becoming involved. But emotionally, I don’t feel anything. I don’t really care. Because I’m not there. It’ll only be real when it’s real. A bit like the Jews watching the Nazis come to power and thinking everything will work out. Phoney war for now.