It has been brought to my attention that our local Jewish conspiracy theory parliamentary candidate Mark Ellis (see Vote, Vote, Vote for Mark Ellis, 19 April) has made the national news. Writing on the Guardian's blog on Wednesday April 21 2010, Simon Jeffery says:
OK, this is an odd one – a candidate running in Sevenoaks on a platform quoting liberally from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – the notorious Russian forgery claiming a worldwide Jewish conspiracy that served as a key text for 20th century European antisemitism.
Now breathe out and let's get back to the location: Sevenoaks. Cairo, maybe (the protocols linger on in the Arab world). But Sevenoaks? With its mix of turn-of-the-century plotting and a leafy setting in southern England, this is an election leaflet as it may have appeared in an Edwardian novel in the vein of HG Wells's War of the Worlds or Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent.
The candidate is Mark Ellis, a retired customs officer standing as an independent. The leaflet was sent by a reader understandably alarmed to find it on her doormat (and is also on the Straight Choice election leaflet website).
It begins with a quote from the Protocols (protocol No 3, for those with a copy at home) that says a "symbolic snake" is wrapping itself around Europe. Ellis brings us in on: "When this ring is in place, then all the European states will be held as by strong claws" – he suggests that the European Union's ring of 12 stars can be seen as a "symbolism of the 12 in control" (when the Protocols were written, "the 12" were Jews; Ellis talks of "this same folk"). He then follows through with a mash-up of Europhobia, anti-environmentalism and support for classic British military aeroplane design as he lists 21 harms that the "Cons" (Conservatives) have wrought against the country.
This may seem odd to you, seeing as the Conservatives have been out of power nationally for 13 years, but that is probably because you don't live in Sevenoaks, where with the exception of a Liberal MP in 1923-24 the Conservatives have held the seat continuously since it was created in 1885. All politics is local.
His complaints include controls on C02 emissions, low-energy light bulbs, VAT, energy bills, degrading of links with white settler Commonwealth countries (including "Rhodesia"), "needless spoiling of the firework trade" and failure to keep RAF Dakotas and Avro Vulcans flying.
The battier ones include the removal of "Kent" and "England" from maps. The explanation here is that some believe the EU has a long-term plan to turn England into regionally-administered entities for the sole purpose of removing the word "England" from the map. "Kent" would go too. No one has explained why the EU would want to do this, other than for reasons of spite. Ellis also describes the Bolsheviks as a "non-Russian folk" (that word again) who financed communism from the United States and now pay Labour and the "Cons".
The idea that the EU is part of a Jewish/Masonic New World Order designed to crush the British state in preparation for a world government is definitely one that has some followers – except, of course, among those who prefer the Eurabia thesis, which holds that the EU is a plot to make the majority Christian countries of Europe an extension of the Muslim Arab world.
It is in trying to reconcile the competing visions of Muslim and Jewish conspiracies on the loose in Brussels that my head starts to hurt. And then there is the EUSSR. (All this is many notches further on from standard Euroscepticism.)
I click through to EU conspiracy websites from links left in comments on rival news sites – probably more than I should – and after a while the anthropology of them soon starts to soak in. Paranoid conspiracy theories are pretty much formulaic when you get to grips with them, mostly involving Jews and Masonic symbolism (and increasingly a business/public sector leadership training group called Common Purpose that had Body Shop founder Anita Roddick as its first chair). Really, I could write my own Dan Brown novel – and might have to if the writer's block stops me getting any further on my misery memoir A Blogger called It.
Back to Ellis: he concludes his leaflet by explaining that he was "aware of a frightful conspiracy" and "matching protocols with happenings became my task" – which is a waste of a retirement really, since it was established in 1921 that the protocols were made up. I blame the internet.