The rise and fall of Katie Hopkins – a 21st Century morality tale – would be Apprentices take note

In late August 2018 Ezra Levant – owner of Canadian based “Rebel Media” – announced to a waiting world that he had organized a cruise. The boat trip would give fans from across the Globe a chance to rub shoulders “with some of our most interesting Rebel personalities” as they cruised along “the Danube River, sailing from Germany, through Austria, to Slovakia and ending in beautiful Budapest, Hungary.” But who were these ‘interesting Rebel personalities?’ Step forward one Stephen Yaxley Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) and former Apprentice star Katie Hopkins. There was also Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum but Dan was very much the “non Goss Bros member” in this jaunt and as such can be safely edited from the narrative.

The 68 places on the trip didn’t come cheap. A single standard berth on the Alt-right Love Boat started at a hefty $7,000 (US dollars) excluding transfer fees. With doubles at $3,590 per person and 68 cabins this was clearly going to be something of a money spinner for Mr Levant and his star attractions. If he could sell enough tickets. Because if you are asking yourself whether the average Tommy Robinson fan would be able to fork out eight or nine grand (with transfers and spending money) on a week-long boat trip through Central Europe just to spend time with their diminutive hero – well me too. I think of little else.

But perhaps it wasn’t about Tommy. Perhaps Lord Sugar’s former sparring partner Katie Hopkins would be the big draw – because fun, feisty Katie Hopkins is undoubtedly the most renowned former contestant (on this side of The Atlantic at least) of the long running show and a bit of a celeb.

20180920_112044
Hopkins posing with teenagers – who very wisely asked to be pixallated after the encounter

Hopkins famously didn’t win The Apprentice. She was smart enough to realise, in what were the early days of reality TV, that the real prize was not going off to work for Sir Alan, selling shitty telephones in some shitty warehouse in Loughton – but fame.

And so, after graduating from Series 3 she became a professional outrage machine. Her persona was much the same as the one she had honed on the show. Straight talking, no nonsense, prepared to call fat people fat and desperate people ‘cockroaches.’ For a decade she moved from Big Brother sofa to Morning TV sofa and the strategy worked. She got a column in the Sun and then one at the Mail Online and eventually landed her own show on LBC. Those last gigs would have been very lucrative work and much better paid than anything she would have gained from the ‘apprenticeship.’ Hopkins’ Celebrity Big Brother fee was a reported £400k plus – there were book deals and other assorted TV work.

By early 2017 she was probably one of the best paid freelance journalists in Britain. And she wasn’t even a journalist.

But there was a problem. As her notoriety grew Katie Hopkins’ increasingly outrageous pronouncements were obliged to grow with it. She flew ever closer to the Sun. She seemed increasingly chaotic and out of control and this was especially clear on Twitter, where she busied herself dog whistling to her herd of followers.

20180920_112328
Alan Sugar – ultimately responsible for the rise of Hopkins – in 2007

If you ride a tiger for money, you are obliged to ride it in ever more daring ways. But one day the thrill of the spectacle wears off – the crowds begin to drift away – and when you step down – you are eaten.

After the horrific suicide bombing in Manchester – that left that city shaking, this country mourning, twenty three mostly young lives lost and many dozens injured – she felt emboldened enough by the platform she had been given and the frenzy of her 800k followers to suggest that a ‘final solution’ was needed. This, finally, was the tipping point and she was dropped like a hot potato by both LBC and Mail Online.

At around the same time, Hopkins lost a costly libel case brought by food writer Jack Monroe.

20180920_112119
Hopkins world – an increasingly desolate planet

With options shrinking and the mortgage payments racking up, she slinked off to Rebel Media and whatever they offered her it wasn’t close to what she was getting before. Hopkins was obliged to sell her family home and was brought close to bankruptcy. But still – she didn’t stop. It only seemed to encourage her. Worse – by throwing her lot in with the far right fringes rather than taking a step back and indulging in a little mea culpa – she toxified her brand even further and it seems unlikely that she will be able to crawl back into the mainstream any time soon.

With her options dwindling and bank balance shrinking the cruise must have seemed like a financial lifeline. But all of that now is a matter of speculation because earlier this week Levant announced that it was off.

“Regrettably the cruise has been cancelled” potential passengers were informed, “the company panicked and claimed there was a security risk…… We hope to come up with another platform that cannot be sabotaged by the leftist strategy of “de-platforming” conservatives including through the Antifa tactic of violence.”

This leaves Katie Hopkins with a problem – she has burned a lot of bridges and now she is stuck on a tiny platform with Ezra Levant which I for one would not wish on anybody.

It would be very easy at this point to laugh. Heartily. But I find myself feeling well if not sorry then almost sorry for her and most certainly for her children. Hopkins – like Trump – is a product of the false reality of so called reality TV. She has been obliged to play the part so long that she has become the Monster the Series 3 producers obviously set her up to be. Her downfall is her fault – and hers alone but there is perhaps a lesson to be learned in this very 21st century morality tale of greed, hubris and not knowing when to shut up.

Series 14 contestants take note.

Katie Hopkins – my week Sir – as told to Otto English

Monday

Just a year ago my life was going very wrong indeed Sir. I had my own LBC show and a column in the Mail online. My salary, let me tell you Sir, was well into six figures and I was regularly being invited onto National television to share my opinions about fat people, left wing fat lesbian ‘feminazis’ and women of Muslim heritage in big fat burqas – who were fat. Some people called me a modern Gandhi for suggesting that migrant children fleeing wars should be shot dead in the water. Others suggested that I should be given a Nobel Peace Prize, while countless fans hailed me as a latter day Buddha for daring to say that bed blocking Alzheimer’s sufferers should be euthanized. Nothing upsets me – but that did – because the Gautama Buddha was famously very fat indeed.

Tuesday

Those dark days are now behind me Sir, but on reflection it was the worst period of my life. I looked on in horror – as my bank balance grew obese. I was waiting for the call. Not the call that would say: ‘we are going to tell them we are parting company by mutual consent and suggest you do the same’ but the other one from the world famous Rebel Media that would say: “Katie leave all of that lucrative mainstream media work behind you and come and work for an obscure, right wing, dubiously funded, Canadian website instead.” I can tell you, Sir, that when that call came I cried with relief. Great things followed. Shortly afterwards I was obliged to sell my house and ‘downsize’ to thinner premises and a slimmed down mortgage – so that we might be able to eat. Not that I let my children eat. In case they get fat.

Wednesday

Oh I see, you want it to be more like a diary Sir. Thank you for pointing that out Madam but no. Take me or leave me you cannot ignore me. I play by ‘Katie’ rules and that means I do what I like and say whatever I like – even if it does cost me hundreds of thousands of pounds in the libel courts. This week I have been in Belgium investigating and exposing the shocking truth of this emerging extremist Caliphate. The Muslim migrant population of Belgium has exploded and I was stunned to see ‘croissants’ that had clearly been made in the shape of the Islamic half Moon. My lands have been invaded. As I walked through the streets of Brussels I heard nobody speaking English at all. In their race to integrate and not upset ‘minorities’ the Belgians have made themselves extinct. In Antwerp my interpreter explained that they don’t even speak French anymore. I remember Belgium from my childhood as a place of young boy detectives and David Suchet in a moustache. Let me tell you Sir – that Belgium has gone – Madam.

Islamification
Belgian men are now being obliged to wear burqas

Thursday

Mass uncontrolled immigration. Three words. But what do they mean Sir? Well – on a recent trip to Canada I was able to find out. Canada will be familiar to those who have never been there as the land of maple syrup, lumberjacks, mooses and men in bright scarlet tunics – this was not the Canada I saw. In a Mexican restaurant in Ottawa I was disgusted to find no maple syrup or pancakes on the menu and when I accused the waiters of being Islamic terrorists they asked me to leave. These people are cowards but they are also invaders; foreigners in my lands. Worse was to come. Outside the main towns I was stunned to find that there were hundreds of ‘Indian reservations’ where Indian people – or ‘economic migrant rapists’ as we should rightly refer to them have set up camps that would put the makeshift Jungle at Calais to shame. I took a local police unit to one of these shanty towns and was disgusted to be told: “they were here first – they’re the indigenous people.” When the lumberjacks’ dogs are being turned into halal meat, their daughters are being forced to recite the Mahabratma and their wives are being sold in slave markets in Toronto to Bedouin tentmakers from Saudi Arabia, I wonder if they will feel quite the same way, Sir.

mountie
Canada before Mass immigration

Friday

Like Donald Trump, I first came to fame on The Apprentice. Being in a reality TV show is perfect preparation for life as a world famous writer and journalist. President Trump can grope me any time. Indeed, if a woman doesn’t want to be groped by President Trump, then she is probably a poor, fat, lesbian. And Donald wouldn’t want to grope her anyway would he Sir. No Madam.

canada
Canada after mass uncontrolled immigration

Saturday

The weekends are for my children. Sometimes I Skype them, and occasionally they pick up.

Sunday

I, Sir, am a Christian Conservative White woman and as such I am the most vilified species on the planet after Christian Conservative White men. People ask me if I go to Church and my response to that is: ‘I have no need because I am a church.’ I am a church and a fortress and a bastion against the hateful invasion of my lands by foreign people – Madam. On a recent trip to South Africa I was stunned to discover that that beautiful countrt has now been invaded by black people. As a Christian Conservative Woman that left me devastated not just for the White indigenous people who have lost their lands, but on Jesus’s behalf as well. Did he die on the cross for nothing Sir? Don’t you care Madam? Does that not bother you Sir? Am I getting paid for this? Because I really need the money.

Hopkins, Trump and the Resistable Rise of Stupidism.

I know nothing about football. I know what a football is and I did watch a game once, honest, but try and engage me on who scored what in the last Milk Cup and I will stare at you blankly.

The idea that all opinions are equally valid is palpable nonsense. My knowledge of the beautiful game could fill the inner circle of a pin-head. Should it therefore have as much merit as Gary Lineker’s? Of course not. When it comes to football, chemistry, micro-biology and the economy of Tuvalu I am very happy to admit that I’m ignorant.

Nowadays – that makes me an expert.

Over the last decade, the stock in stupidity and uninformed opinions has risen exponentially. Writing in his classic 1992 treatise The Flanshaw Infants* on the potential of the World Wide Web, futurologist Dr. Terence Dobson wrote: “with too much information at their disposal, people (might) choose to take facts as given rather than question sources or open minds to the endless possibilities of knowledge and truth that the internet will provide.”

Seven years later in 1999 social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger carried out a study into the phenomenon of “illusory superiority” wherein people of low ability imagine themselves to be very good at something. The results were astounding. They concluded that:

“In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

The study was inspired in part by the case of a criminal who went around robbing banks with lemon juice on his face – because someone told him it made you invisible to surveillance cameras. Laugh if you like – and then type “flat earth” into Youtube.

1999 saw a huge growth in global internet usage and the theory was timely. Look around – the Dunning-Kruger effect is in evidence everywhere.

trump
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” (As You Like It)

Tune into any talk radio shows any day of the week and you will have presenters inviting ordinary members of the public to opine on complex issues like global warming, or the crisis in Catalonia, or the best way to solve Brexit, or the ethics of genetic engineering. Sometimes of course a real expert might phone in – or someone may give a powerful testimony born out of personal experience – but a great deal of talk radio could be summarised as:  ‘people who know very little reinforcing other people’s prejudices with unreasoned arguments, based on hearsay in an unchallenged environment.’

On social media things are a whole lot worse. Twitter and Facebook have both made stars out of stupid. Donald Trump might be the first reality star President, but he is also the first Twitter Political Superstar. That is where his supporters meet; it is where they concur it is where they look for validation of their idiotic viewpoints from other absurd twitter celebrities like Alex Jones.

If the 1930s was the age of Communism and Fascism we are now living in the era of ‘Stupidism’. As with those movements it has its Karl Marx figures, its evangelists and its exponents. The Uncle Jo Stalin of Stupid sits in the White House firing off ignorance in 140 character decrees while his Pravda-esque Breitbart and Fox News Network spread the creed. Truth was the first victim of the internet age – and every week facts and accuracy are carted off to the labour camps to join it.

20171010_101134
Twitter – a rich hunting ground for collectors of stupid

Stupidism in its most populist form is a simple credo to understand. It has its slogans, its terms for enemies of the state of stupid, its own imagery and iconography.

pepe crying

Why bother with the reasons behind immigration into the United States when you can say “let’s build a wall and make Mexico pay!” Why trouble yourself with understanding the EU and Britain’s intricate relationship when you can brand the whole thing the “EUSSR” call all those who support it “snowflakes” and add a crying emoji.

Stupidism is liberating. Stupid is easy. You don’t even have to read a book. In fact it is the first doctrine in history in which never having read a book is a requirement. Years of pent up rage bent double under that chip on your shoulder because you failed history GCSE can be washed away with the aid of 700k twitter followers reinforcing your witlessness.

Sure you were wrong – but if enough groupies say you are right then frankly who cares.

20171010_103247
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day

Inveterate tweeter Paul Watson may be the Trotsky of Stupid but in Britain at least – Katie Hopkins is its Lenin.

Katie Hopkins is tongue-tied. Katie Hopkins is uninformed. Katie Hopkins is not gifted with a sense of humour or an ability to write. She claims to be a patriot but works tirelessly to undermine the country. Is that what she thinks she is doing? Probably not. I suspect Ms Hopkins imagines herself to be of very high ability indeed.

And yet – here I am writing about her. Katie Hopkins has prospered and continues to do so. She, along with Stupidism’s fellow travellers, has indeed got rich on the back of it. Stupidism is profitable because it reinforces and articulates the base ill-informed opinions of a very large segment of society. There is an eager market for it.

What can be done?

I was talking to a bloke in the pub about this on Saturday and we both agreed that critical thinking should be taught as a compulsory core subject in schools. Neither of us are experts in the field and we both broadly agreed with each other so our opinion matters.

Until the children come and save us from this nightmare, it’s up to us all to fight it. Call out the stupid when you see it. Fight stupid and we will defeat it. There is a prevailing attitude that people like Hopkins or the ridiculous Paul Watson should “be ignored and starved of oxygen” or worse that we should listen to everybody – no matter how ill-informed they are. Do that and Stupidism will prosper.

*If you want to read more about The Flanshaw Infants (and trust me you do) by  Dr. Terence Dobson – it’s here