My late uncle had a facebook page, thanks to his eldest son and, though he died more than three years ago, I wake up to a reminder to wish him Happy Birthday. He would have been 85 today and would, no doubt, have thought the world had become an even sillier place since his death. For starters there have been massive advances in the numbers of women with penises ands facial hair over the past three years. And our Universities have made great strides in purging Shakespeare and other dead white authors from the curriculum and eradicating folks with any link, however obscure to the evils of colonialism from the history books. All hail progress!
Chris and I always used to chat about how each new Prime Minister, like each new Archbishop of Canterbury was the worst yet until the next one came along. Pretty soon you start viewing, say, John Major as a leader of Churchillian stature and Robert Runcie as a man created in the image of Thomas Cranmer. But even Chris could not have imagined today’s dream team of Justin Welby and Liz Truss as being quite so ghastly.
Chris spent a lot of time in Russia and indeed his wife, my Aunt V is – on her mother’s side – descended from Russian emigres. I am sure that, like nearly all of us, he would have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but also that, like his friend Peter Hitchens, he would have been calling out the inconvenient truths pumped out by the deadwood press as they cry one and all “Slava Ukraini” and call for more war and death out East.
I am sad that he missed the scamdemic. He would, as I was, have been dismissed as a non-scientist and a non-expert. But I am sure that he would have looked hard at the data on mask usage and jabs and asked awkward questions about the necessity of the suppression of our civil liberties and the destruction of our economy which, almost, the entire media class said was a price worth paying.
Chris often predicted that our obsession with the bogus religion of man-made global warming would lead to blackouts in an impoverished West. I am not sure he saw it happening this winter or that, by a happy coincidence, our energy supply issues would coincide with the world getting cooler. While, almost all of the rest of the London based smug media class laughed at Christopher Booker as a denier stuck out in the boonies and believing in discredited old-fashioned things like God, it will not be them, but it will be the poor, who cannot afford woodburning stoves, who will freeze this winter. As the poor huddle together for warmth they should curse an entire media and political class, and our new King, for unquestioningly heading down a policy rabbit hole designed by the doom Goblin Greta Thunberg.
As with so many things Christopher Booker was in a small minority at the start. He was the man dubbed the grandfather of Euroscepticism. But in due course his questioning of matters including the YT2k bug, mad cow disease ( which the “experts” warned would kill hundreds of thousands of us so slaughtered similar number of healthy cows for no reason) was proved bang on the money. Laughing at the madness of crowds, for instance on the death of Diana or the election of the war criminal Blair, may not win friends with the crowds but it is what journalists should be there to do. Our job is to challenge the GroupThink, not to be part of it.
For the rest of my life I cannot chat to Chris or to my own father about the silliness of mankind as we would do so frequently, swapping jokes, laughing and coping with the misery of the news cycle with that release.. I disagreed with my father about more things than Chris for Dad was a bit of a lefty at heart. But we could all find common ground with laughing at figures who took themselves so seriously but were so obviously flawed or by just looking at data and how it clashed with GroupThink claims. That too generated jokes and laughter. But no more. And that makes the world a darker place for me at least.
Happy Birthday Uncle Chris, very much missed.