At a glance, this is terrifying. We talk and talk about purpose and authenticity but the ugly truth is that, with the right platform, a little style and some gumption, the conspiracy brigade is attracting a bigger audience than ever.
It’s got me thinking about levels of influence. David Icke is a figure of fun but he’s managed to get tens of thousands of people to mobilise behind his crackpot theories, which has forced the world’s most influential media channels – who have spent decades keeping his message away from a mainstream audience- to amplify the howl of his cohorts.
But, rather than examining financial donations and attention, both of which he receives in spades, we can assess Icke’s influence more accurately by looking at his wider aims – infiltrating society with his agenda. Unlike less flamboyant blowhards like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, who have succeeded in selling their whole supply of snake oil, Icke fails this test. Attracting a big audience isn’t the same as saturating an ideology into societal consciousness, and by this measure the influence that Icke appears to have at surface level doesn’t run deep. However, if undiluted publicity is your only game, the age of histrionic demagoguery is very much alive.