‘You’re a cuck, Tobes, an absolute cuck.’ My friend James Delingpole was furious. ‘Honestly, I thought I could depend on you of all people, but you’ve surrendered, just like every other right-wing commentator I know. I can’t begin to describe how disappointing this is. I would have expected it from some — Dan Hannan, Jonah Goldberg, the editors of the National Review — all bloody cucks, the lot of them. But not you, Tobes. I’m alone in the foxhole.’

This outburst would have been hard to listen to under normal circumstances, but it occurred on air during our weekly podcast on Ricochet. Needless to say, we were discussing the presidential election and James is 100 percent convinced that Donald Trump was the victim of a massive electoral fraud. He’s reached the final stage of the five stages of grief — and I’m not talking about Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s stages, but those of die-hard Trumpers: denial, anger, paranoia, grievance and incandescent rage.

‘But James,’ I said, choosing my words carefully, as if talking to a suicide bomber. ‘No one is claiming it was a level playing field. The mainstream media and Big Tech definitely did all they could to get Biden elected, no question. But did Trump actually get more votes than Biden? That seems doubtful, not least because the courts have so far rejected the voter fraud claims of his legal team. Do you really think the courts are ignoring compelling legal evidence because they’ve been enlisted in some vast left-wing conspiracy?’

Et tu, Tobes?’ James said, adopting a world-weary, resigned tone. ‘What happened? Did Jeff Bezos offer you a column in the Washington Post? Has CNN been in touch about replacing Anderson Cooper? Will we be seeing you in Davos having dinner à deux with Klaus Schwab?’

I realized this was going to be harder than I thought. For James, a lifelong global warming skeptic and executive editor of Breitbart London, you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the Great Reset.

‘Look, mate, I’m not claiming everything about the election was completely above board,’ I said. ‘I dare say some unsigned postal votes for Trump were declared invalid in some districts and some unsigned postal votes for Biden were counted when they shouldn’t have been. But the opposite probably happened in other districts. Yes, some votes got lost and, yes, quite a lot came in at the last minute. But do you know for certain that Biden was the beneficiary in every case or even the majority of cases? And even if there was a pro-Biden bias in the way these things fell out, do you really think that accounts for his entire margin of victory? We’re not talking Bush v. Gore here, James. Biden beat Trump by more than six million votes. That’s 6,173,445 ballots getting lost down the back of the sofa.’

There was a pause and for a second I thought I was making some headway.

‘James, are you still there?’

‘Sorry, Tobes, I was just picking my jaw up off the floor. Let’s start at the beginning. You’ve heard of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, right?’

Oh God. Now it was my turn to groan inwardly. It’s often said of conspiracy theorists that they don’t believe in just one conspiracy theory, they believe in all of them. But James and I have been podcasting together for 10 years and I’ve never heard him talk about the alien autopsy in Area 51 or cast doubt on the veracity of the moon landings. He even stopped short of endorsing Pizzagate. But the coronavirus pandemic seems to have destroyed his internal filter. Bill Gates has gone from being just another liberal billionaire to an evil super-villain with a diabolical agenda — a cross between Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Megamind. He is the puppet master who is plotting to roll out a mass vaccination program, not to protect people from getting COVID-19, but so he can implant microchips in their brains. I’ve never quite got to the bottom of why James believes this — what’s Gates’s objective, exactly, other than to make even more money? It’s something to do with enslaving the human race, but to what purpose I’m not sure.

I decided to try a different tack.

‘James, can we agree to differ on this? One of the great virtues of the conservative movement is that it’s a broad church containing an eclectic group of people — libertarians, Catholics, ex-communists. We don’t agree about everything and we never will, but we make common cause about those things we do agree about, such as the importance of free speech, the need to rein in the state, the primacy of western values, the danger of what Thomas Sowell calls the ‘unconstrained vision’, and so on. The reason conservatives are better company than socialists is that we’re capable of setting aside our differences and they’re not. They’re always combing through their ranks looking for traitors, whereas we look for allies.’

‘That’s what cucks always say,’ he replied. ‘That’s the cucks’ manifesto, that is. “I won’t stand beside you when the going gets tough, I’ll abandon you to fight that battle on your own, but after it’s over and you’ve been beaten half to death I hope we can still be friends.” It’s not really on, is it Tobes? When your grandkids ask you where you were in the most important political battle of our lifetime you’ll have to say, “I was standing on the side lines with the other cucks.”’

I fear it’s going to take a lot to persuade James to take off the suicide vest.

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s January 2021 US edition.