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Thoughts from the edge of the cliff


WHAT would you say were the biggest threats right now to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? For me, the two most immediate are these: first, the mass poisoning of the populace as a result of an experimental medical procedure imposed to combat an illusory pandemic; second, the growing possibility of a major war with Russia as a result of a dubious local conflict in Ukraine.

So I was surprised to see that neither issue featured prominently – or indeed at all – at a recent conference in London about something called National Conservatism. Though I’m still not sure exactly what National Conservatism is, I do know that things like free speech, bodily autonomy, limited government, biomedical fascism and not feeding the brightest and best of your younger generation into a meat grinder without good reason are matters of interest to anyone of a conservative hue. Why, then, the baffling silence?

If you’d asked me this question five years ago I’m sure I could have come up with any number of reasonable-sounding excuses. I might have proposed that vaccines are a specialist topic best left to the experts and therefore (to coin a phrase) not in the wheelhouse of generalist conservative commentators. I might have explained away the absence of Russia/Nato/Ukraine by agreeing with the organisers that ‘foreign policy’ was too big a subject to be included in the packed conference schedule. I might even have imagined that among conservative thinkers life was just too short to give air-space on a panel to Kremlin propaganda.

The reason I might have thought all this is that back then I considered myself to be a conservative. I would have looked at the list of speakers featured at this event – Douglas Murray, Jacob Rees-Mogg (yay! The Moggster!), Theodore Dalrymple, Melanie Phillips, David Starkey and so on – and taken it on trust that if they were on board, I should be too. After all, had I not fought alongside many of them in the Great Brexit Wars? Were they not all heroes who, like me, had received any number of brickbats and personal setbacks just for the crime of promoting conservative ideas in a world increasingly overwhelmed by the insanity of the liberal left?

And I bet if my former self had gone to the conference he would have loved it. Oh, the joy of hearing Douglas Murray sticking it to the libs with his feline satire on the politically correct fashion for beginning speeches by giving thanks to the ‘first peoples on whose land we stand!’ How I might have applauded the bit where he goes: ‘I don’t know whether that tradition has arrived on these shores but I thought nevertheless that I would do a land acknowledgement before I made my remarks this evening. So, I say with great humility and obeisance, my deep thanks to the Grosvenor Estate, the Duke of Westminster, the Crown Estate, and His Majesty the King . . .’

But the man I am today wouldn’t find that joke quite so funny. Partly, I suppose, it’s because I don’t hold the Royal Family and the landowning nobility in quite the high esteem I did during my ‘Gawd bless Her Maj and hurrah for the British Empire!’ phase. Mainly, though, it’s because if you’re a keynote speaker at a conservative conference I wonder whether there oughtn’t to be more pressing targets for your righteous wrath and mordant wit than the latest annoying things that the Wokerati have done.

This doesn’t mean that ‘transgender’ men in women’s sport and women’s prisons, or drag queens promoting LGBTQ in primary schools, or TERFs being deplatformed at universities, aren’t issues of concern worth addressing. It’s just that I can’t help noticing that the space they’re given in the mainstream media and at conferences like this is space that is not given to the more important issues I mentioned at the beginning.

It’s a question of priorities. You might say, for example, that planning for your retirement is important, or that a daily exercise regimen is important, or eliminating seed oils from your diet is important, and I’d agree with you on all this in principle. But suppose you were mulling over these things in the minutes between your pre-dawn wake-up and the moment you were led off to your execution. That would put them into a different perspective, wouldn’t it?

That, I fear, is the stage we are at now in the fall of our civilisation. We’re being prodded towards the edge of a cliff by sinister forces bent on our ruination. And instead of calling out these malign and sadistic creatures, the commentators whose very purpose it is to inform us about such threats are going: ‘Ooh, aren’t they silly! They’ve put pronouns on their Twitter bio.’

Well, yes. Pronouns in Twitter bios are certainly jolly irritating. But not quite in the same league, I’d say, as World War III or an out-of-control biomedical industrial complex bent on depopulation. Pronouns can’t kill. Depleted uranium shells and vaccines can and do on a regular basis.

Still, let’s not make the best the enemy of the good, right? Sure, it has been a bit of a disappointment that so few of our leading conservative commentators and politicians have spoken out against vaccines and World War III, or indeed against Central Bank Digital Currencies and the war on farmers. But at least they’ve been pretty forthright about the iniquity of lockdowns and the menace of the Chinese and the erosion of our traditional values by the forces of woke. Surely we need to learn to take our victories where we can rather than constantly bickering among ourselves about those who have shown insufficient zeal on behalf of our pet causes?

In the days when I used to attend conferences like the National Conservatism one, I would often hear these arguments. Still do, in fact. It has long been an article of faith among ‘conservatives’ that ‘elections are won in the centre ground’, that it’s vital to build a ‘broad coalition’, that demanding too much ‘red meat’ alienates all those floating voters that conservatism needs to form a viable political force. These lines are repeated so often that they have achieved the status of unquestionable truth.

But they are a counsel of despair: ‘Some of our causes are so lost they’re no longer even worth fighting for.’ Worse than that, they are a trap. To show how the trap works, let me give you an example from the ‘pandemic’. An organisation calling itself Together sprang up, purporting to represent a coalition of resistance voices. At first glance, it seemed sensible enough, making all the right noises about vaccine mandates, free speech, lockdowns, and so on. But it drew the line at criticising the ‘vaccines’. The rationale was superficially persuasive: that a coalition embracing extreme positions such as vaccine scepticism, which might earn the group the pejorative ‘anti-vaxx’ tag, might prove less popular and effective than one that stuck to simpler, libertarian issues like ‘the government has no right to force you into another lockdown or to take more jabs’.

With hindsight, though, I am very sceptical about Together and its modus operandi. Even if you do not believe – as this investigation by Francis O’Neill suggests – that Together has been deliberately working for the enemy all along, what you can definitely say is that it has been serving the enemy’s interests. How so? By doing exactly that thing I’ve been lamenting throughout this piece: deciding which key issues are worthy of debate and attention and which ones are so far out, or extreme, or potentially unpopular and divisive, that they are beyond the pale of discussion.

This selective honesty has given the mainstream media the cover they need to perform a devious trick on their audience. Instead of informing readers and listeners (as it should be doing: for the evidence is now overwhelming) of the Covid so-called vaccines’ appalling safety record, the MSM are instead directing their audience’s ire towards the idiocy of lockdowns and the general cackhandedness of government policy. In other words, the minor crime of incompetence is being used to distract us from the much more serious issue of collusion between corrupt, greedy and malign Big Pharma and its political underlings to inflict on an unsuspecting populace a potentially lethal experimental drug.

If you want to know what is really going on in the world, don’t be distracted by what the newspapers and on TV are telling you: look instead at what they are not telling you. I think of this every time I read yet another story about the idiocies of the LGBTQ+ rainbow coalition, usually backed up with a trenchant think piece by one of the right-wing pundits featured at the National Conservatism conference. ‘Yes, that’s all very well, and obviously I agree with you on this trivial matter,’ I murmur to myself. ‘But when am I going to read you on one of those subjects you’ve thus far managed to avoid? The true history leading up to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, say. The mortality and disability figures for the vaccinated. The totalitarian horror of CBDCs and 15-minute cities. The false-flag terror attacks carried out by the three-letter agencies. The Kalergi Plan for white replacement . . .’

The answer, of course, is never. Conservative commentators are only as feistily outspoken as their employers in the print and broadcast media will allow them to be. The same applies to what they will and won’t say at conferences like the National Conservatism one: keynote speeches often pay good money, and it’s a tasty gravy train to board what with all the international travel, think-tank fellowships and so on. But you’re not going to get any of these treats if you start speaking out of turn and pushing the debate into territory your sponsors find discomfiting. And there’s your big problem: the sponsors, be they rich media owners or the funders of these think tanks, are the Enemy these conservative commentators can never dare to name.

Once you see the nature of the scam you cannot unsee it. For example, having watched several of the speeches from the National Conservatism London event, I notice all the speakers deploying the same trick. Somewhere in their speech will be a jokey, dismissive reference to their liberal left enemies who are apparently really, really annoyed at the existence of events like this. So, for example, Lord Frost cites a typically leftie ‘senior publishing executive’ friend describing the conference as an ‘all-singing, all-dancing fascist musical extravaganza’. Cue much convivial laughter from the audience.

Now I’m a fan of Lord Frost. I’m not suggesting that he made that comment up, nor that he inserted it for dishonest purposes. Indeed, had I been one of the speakers, I too would have included such a passage because these lines always get a laugh and establish a ‘them v us’ bonding moment with your audience. But once you’ve heard the technique again and again in consecutive speeches, you realise that as a listener you are being played. You are being seduced into agreeing with a notion that may not necessarily be true: that there is an enemy out there called the liberal left/wokism/loony-leftism/progressivism, and that it can be defeated if only conservatives can learn to make better jokes and to articulate their beliefs more coherently.

When I say ‘not necessarily be true’ I am of course being polite. It’s a lie. A palpable lie. A dangerous lie, which serves a number of malign purposes. One is to deceive as to the true nature of the problem (it’s not really these loony progressive types, of course, but the shadowy outfits which fund them and plot their antics years in advance at meetings of the Bilderberg Group, the World Economic Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations). Another is to co-opt the cleverest political thinkers of each generation and lavish them with well-paid columns, publishing deals and think-tank fellowships so that they lose any temptation they might have had to criticise the status quo. Another is to corral potential ‘right-wing’ nonconformists into holding pens, where they are distracted from asking awkward questions about the true nature of the world, let alone from doing anything to practical to change it, because they imagine the work is already being done for them by all their political heroes up there on the stage in front of them making airy speeches about persuasive irrelevances.

I still don’t know what National Conservatism is but I do know one thing for sure: it ain’t gonna save us from what’s coming. In fact I think it’s part of the problem.

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James Delingpole
James Delingpole
James Delingpole is host of the Delingpod podcast. The Delingpod: The James Delingpole Podcast (

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