Thursday, 14 December 2006


To the non-surprise of nearly everyone except Mohammad al Fayed, Lord Stevens has announced that Diana's death was an accident.

It was caused, in the first instance, by the driver speeding and [being] over the legal drink-drive limit.

Naturally Al Fayed refuses to accept the judgement. I saw the BBC programme on Sunday in which his claims that the Duke of Edinburgh organised Diana's death because she was pregnant with a Muslim man's child were investigated...and saw it gently but firmly remove these arguments (assertions, really) from their moorings. It was a bizarre argument from the start, but one which makes a perfect sense if you take the view that Prince Phillip is not only an old fool, but actually evil and effective as well. And the villain of the piece is the "British establishment" - not the government - a motley concoction of secret service, royalty and civil servants, a type of British administration we thought died in the 50s. (I take the view, by the way, that Harold Wilson _was_ paranoid, and that the conspiracy to stage a coup was nothing more than the mutterings of disaffected old men - the 60s plot is nowhere to be seen in Dominic Sandbrook's or at least two of Peter Hennessy's (I haven't read all his stuff) authoritative books on 60s politics and culture - and with the standard of UK governance in the mid 70s the other one would have been a total and utter f*** up from start to finish anyway. And the old buffers involved were totally crackers if they thought this: Mountbatten, as both a member of the Royal family and a former Chief of the Defence Staff, would be able to command public support as leader of a non-democratic government(Wikipedia)). Jesus, when had the UK had a military government before then? Where the f*** did they think they were living?

But there's no doubt there are holes in the Diana investigation, errors, missing bits of the jigsaws into which the fundamentally malign forces of "the government" or "the establishment" can slip, if you want them to.

I used to be as conspiracy mad as anyone. I was particularly keen on the idea that since 1945 the US Government has deliberately kept evidence of alien contact from the eyes of the world. But then...I read Jung on UFOs, realised that Roswell was home to the only atomic bomber unit in the world in 1947, saw how the Cold War was crystallised into that single issue, with its fear of the unknown, its desperate anxiety towards things that cannot be controlled, and its sense that there was too much power out of too many people's hands. And how the tall, friendly, pleasant aliens of the 50s, and the contactees, deepened into the terrifying, manipulative, aggressive greys with their hidden agendas and abductees of the 80s and early 90s. It was odd how this exploded into public consciousness as the Cold War itself faded (say, 1994-6 with the mass popularity of the X Files), flowered for a bit, and then fell away, as the Ray Santilli footage was shown to be all made up (which the fraud denied for a decade before making a film with Ant and Dec about it). The Fortean Times, which covered a lot of this in the mid 90s, took an increasingly hostile view of the phenomenon.

For me, September 11 2001 was the definitive sinker: if they couldn't stop that, how could they have kept something as big as alien contact secret? Silly me - of course there are now loads of conspiracy theories around this, at least one of which has been on sale in Waterstone's in Cheltenham for several months.

None of this means that some conspiracies aren't true - what the hell would the CIA be _for_ if they weren't conspiring at something? Governments keep secrets, develop technologies, plot wars, lie, and so on the whole time. It's always been the same.

It just means that I'm sceptical these days of giant or enveloping cover ups, especially where I can't see a rational reason, actual evidence, or where it's just too big for the prats in government to keep quiet.

I'm prepared to accept that governments are malign things - I've posted before on the authoritarian, controlling nature of our own - but to impute to them overweening competence as well as malignity is stretching it a bit. Do we, with these theories want to prove both things? And hence, in a strange way, feel comforted knowing that the government really is all powerful, and really can do anything if it wants to, including, say, save us from a desperate and powerful enemy, one perhaps with..oh I don't know...nuclear weapons?


james higham said...

I think it's more than that. It's a weird mix of Scottish Rite, strange forces and things one can't put on the web. This thing is an iceberg.

CityUnslicker said...

Agree with you here, what strikes me in life is how incompetent nearly everyone is. Myself included of course. This means that no group of people is able to actually conspire in the long term in what we think of as conspiracies.

Of course, great achievements are made by clever people and also hideous things can be organised, re the final solution. But not forever and not in a free society.

If the allegation that it was China covering up aliens I would be more inclined to believe.

redtown said...

Bottom line: a drunk driver was driving 60-90 mph in a 30 mph zone and crashed into a barrier. End of discussion. No assassin on a grassy knoll, no Prince Philip hit squad, no alien abductions.

The late Quentin Crisp spoke the truth, if bluntly, that Princess Diana's fast and shallow lifestyle contributed to her own demise: "She could have been Queen of England -- and she was swanning about Paris with Arabs. What disgraceful behavior. Going about saying she wanted to be the queen of hearts. The vulgarity of it is so overpowering." (Atlanta Southern Voice, 1 July 1999).