The last time I heard of arrogant aristo and erstwhile member of the upper class hooligan rabble the Bullingdon Club, Darius Guppy was when he was sent down for fraud and theft in the 1990’s.
In the early 1990’s Guppy and associate Benedict Marsh staged a jewel heist at their company in Manhattan and then defrauded their insurers to the tune of £1.8m. Guppy was sentenced to five (or six depending on the source) years, a sentence that can never be “spent” under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
And that was the last I had heard of the arrogant criminal scumbag until today when I happened on an article he wrote in the Independent last Friday. It would appear that he has gone from being a criminal to a mouthpiece for the criminal Iranian regime.
“On 21 March, The Independent published a letter in which I argued that there was no empirical evidence of the elections in Iran having been rigged, despite prolific assurances to the contrary. Driven by forces beholden to the corporate interest, nothing would please the West more than to have the Iranian masses emulate "the mindless McDonald's-munching slaves of Mammon" of my last sentence. ...To suggest that two undeniably devout men, Ayatollah Khamenei and Mr Ahmadinejad, should have engaged in such an un-Islamic conspiracy as cheating their own people (unnecessary, since the consensus of the opinion polls put Mr Ahmadinejad comfortably ahead) constitutes possibly the most serious allegation that one could level against them."
Err, not all of them by a long chalk. The list on Wikipedia indicates that the polls were all over the place, with a fair number favouring Mosaic - hardly a consensus! As for the idea that “religious men” would never stoop to maintaining their grip on the reins of power, Perhaps Lord Acton’s maxim about power and corruption does not apply to them, but somehow I think not
"The truth is that many in Iran and in the Muslim world in general have grasped Western democracy's dirty little secret: that your leaders have no real power. And if your representatives are as ineffectual as their electorate before the Dictatorship of Money, then what meaning have your votes and your democracy?"
Ah so what does that make Ahmadinejad: Oh yes a puppet of a misogynistic scumbag called Khamenei
...".For we look with horror at your anarchy and what you have become. Visit Iran and you will see a people polite, hospitable, cultured, noble and brave".
I’ll grant Guppy this one. I can describe the Iranians I know as charming intelligent, hospitable and beautiful
"Look at Britain's urban hell and you will see young girls and boys armed with knives, swearing, half naked, vomiting the previous night's attempt to stifle their pain and their emptiness. Turn on the radio and listen to laddettes boasting about what they did with their boyfriends in bed the day before, but tune in to Iran's airwaves and you will hear poetry and beautiful music."
Tarring all youth with a brush then? Hmm I wonder what would happen to an Iranian girl who boasted publicly about her sexual exploits... Prison and a beating at the very least...
"Now while you may have traded Turner for Emin, Shakespeare for Rushdie, Mozart for Madonna, people who think very much like me will never allow such a thing to happen to their nation. You offer us Puff Daddy but we have Hafez, thank you very much. You offer us Hollywood when we have perhaps the finest modern cinema on earth. You may have jettisoned a once great European and God-fearing civilisation, but your moral poison must never be allowed to insinuate its way into one of the greatest and oldest cultures on the planet."
The sheer arrogance of the man! So Rushdie is a writer of trash fiction? I will agree that the Satanic Verses was poor but perhaps Guppy also sneers at Midnight’s Children.
As it happens I am greatly enamoured by Persian culture. Regular readers of this blog will have seen numerous posts on Iranian poetry and art.
HOWEVER...try and publish something that the Iranian authorities don’t like... Go and have a nice word with Shahrnush Parsipur whose masterpiece Women without Men was banned by the Iranian authorities. Parsipur, who had previously been incarcerated for political dissent, faced another sentence as a result of this book. She chose exile instead. Parsipur is not alone in having works banned.
As for Iranian cinema, yes it is excellent but you won’t see them all in Iran... ask Jafar Panahi when many of his films get a screening in his homeland!
"...The events in Iran of the past 30 years must be seen for what they really are, not a revolution at all, but a counter revolution; not a negation of a nation's grand past as occurred in France or Russia or China, but an affirmation of it; a realisation that the experiment you call the Enlightenment, or secular liberalism, far from being the triumph of your comfortable certainties, has been the opposite – a bringing low of all that once made Europe great."
So brutal executions and the treatment of women as third class citizens is an affirmation rather than a descent into mediaeval misogyny? Give me secular liberalism any day!
"Iran is set irreversibly on a course towards independence and will never adopt the position of servility towards Mammon and America which has earned for England the appellative not of the "the Great Satan", a term reserved for the United States, but "shaytan-e-kuchek" or "the little Satan".
The UK has been the agent of plenty of misfortune in Iran/Persia and is that not why it has that title? On the other hand it is too easy to become an “Uncle Napoleon” and blame the UK for every misfortune that befalls Iran
"God willing, she can then become what Huntingdon refers to as a "core state" around which other nations that cherish freedom can coalesce. As one of the few countries that has consistently dared to stand up to Mammon, she must be a bastion in the coming clash – not of civilisations, as Huntingdon puts it, but between civilisation on the one hand and the barbarism that is now synonymous with secular liberalism in the minds of so many Muslims, and others disillusioned with the fruits of the West, and not just in the imagination of one particular old Etonian, former member of the Bullingdon."
Yada, yada, yada, so this is what happens when a supremely arrogant criminal leaves the UK (he lives illegally in Cape Town if the Mail is to be believed and yes I know it is a stretch to believe that ugly rag ... He effectively lives in South Africa on on tourist visas) and becomes born-again, as a fanatic mouthpiece for the country of his mother’s birth, regardless of its glaring injustices. In this sense Guppy makes useful idiots like Seumas Milne or George Galloway of the SS (see below) seem tame.
To be honest, there are plenty of things wrong with this country and there are plenty of things that are good about Iran, particularly its people and its culture (regular readers will know my love of Iranian poetry and art) but I won’t be lectured by a member of the criminal class like Darius Guppy.
NOTE In this case SS stands for Stalinist Shitheadery and not Schutzstaffel. I am not calling Galloway a Nazi, just a political dinosaur of a particularly vile sort.