Monday, 18 February 2008

Sad, mad and dangerous to himself

David Icke will no doubt be feeling vindicated, or at least gratified, by the news that Mohamed Al Fayed has compared members of the royal family to vampires. Speaking as a witness at the Diana inquest today, he referred to "that Dracula family". (Although of Prince Philip, confusingly, he said that his real name "ends with Frankenstein"*) And then, for good measure, he called Camilla Parker-Bowles a "crocodile wife". Icke, of course, is famous for his belief that the Queen and her relations are shape-shifting, blood-drinking, three-metre-long lizards from another planet. They secretly control the world.

Even if Fayed doesn't buy the whole lizard argument, he and Icke share a conspiratorial mindset. The difference is that Icke has found his niche as part of the entertainment industry. His sell-out exposés of the worldwide reptoid threat are original enough to make him a good living, and sufficiently harmless to be laughed off. Fayed, by contrast, is prey to much darker and more destructive inner forces. The grand conspiracy that he summons up, involving alongside Prince Philip (the "real ruler of the country" and a "Nazi" who should be "sent back to Germany") the security services, members of the Spencer family, senior politicians, and everyone who has ever crossed him, is interpreted in less than grandiose terms. They aren't secretly ruling the world, or if they are Fayed isn't too bothered about it. It's worse than that. The conspiracy is mainly directed at him.

The customary response to Fayed's outbursts - his claims that Prince Philip was personally responsible for the deaths of Diana and his son Dodi, that Diana was pregnant with Dodi's child, or had secretly married him - is either anger or laughter. It should perhaps rather be pity. He is clearly a man deranged by grief. He has long since become a sad parody of his former self, a ruthless and vindictive pursuer of fantasies. His claims don't stand detailed scrutiny. Most of them are preposterous: indeed, given the time, resources and determination that he has poured into substantiating his claims, it's remarkable that his "evidence" is so flimsy, so obviously outweighed by the sheer biology and physics produced by an inembriated man in control of a car, driving at high speed in a dark tunnel. Of course there was a crash. But that, in itself, counts for nothing, because Fayed is not amenable to reason. That is why this absurdly expensive and long-drawn-out inquest is utterly pointless. It will reach its inevitable conclusion - accidental death - but in the end change nothing.

The establishment wishes that Fayed would go away and shut up; but he won't and they can't force him to (a fact which in itself is enough to disprove most of his theories: why haven't they murdered him?). He has the money, and the will, to go on fighting, to bring case after case before the courts, to ignore both his critics and reality. His wealth insulates him from the checks and balances of normal society. If he were not so rich, things would never have come to this. He would have been treated for depression long before his sorrow turned into paranoia. He would have had help.

I have much less sympathy with the lawyers and private investigators, the PR consultants and journalists who exploit his madness for their own profit, who are well aware that his theories are nonsensical but are more than happy to feed his delusions and take his cash, than I have with Fayed himself.

But it should also be remembered that the seeds of his crazed embitterment were sown long before that fateful day in 1997. Like Robert Maxwell before him, Fayed was a man determined to join a club (the British establishment) that did not, in the end, want him as a member. And, to be honest, the snobbery and racism which he discerned in his critics were not entirely products of his imagination. Like a spurned lover, he concocted far-fetched explanations (for how, unless deceived, could they have overlooked true worth) and nursed fantasies of revenge.

When the accident happened, his manifold resentments joined with his grief in a toxic combination. And it is that very personal tragedy, rather than any real doubts about the cause of the crash, that has kept the story running for so many years.

*Actually, the Duke of Edinburgh's real name is von Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Glucksberg.

P.S. Unstable he may be, but part of me wants to admire Fayed's retort to a BBC journalist this afternoon. "I'm not talking to you because you're a bloody idiot. You're part of the Establishment."

1 comment:

Waltz said...

I especially liked his theory about the Way Ahead Group that secretly runs everything - kind of like the Illuminati, only married to crocodiles.

More seriously, I think he really is mentally unstable. He showed signs of it long before Diana/Dodi - his efforts to become a British citizen were knocked back several times and he decided then that there was a conspiracy against him. It's just carried on getting worse.