Darius Guppy’s back – and now he’s Iranian

Disgraced Old Etonian breaks 13-year silence with attack on West’s ‘moral poison’

He was born with good looks, intelligence and the connections to match, and once moved in the finest circles at Eton and Oxford, where he was a member of the Bullingdon Club and a contemporary of Boris Johnson and David Cameron.

Then Darius Guppy fell into obscurity for 13 years following an insurance scam and a spell in prison – until now. Now he uses an opinion piece in The Independent to launch an extraordinary attack on Western civilisation.

In an essay about Iran, Mr Guppy says Britain has become an "urban hell" and a dispenser of "moral poison" whose citizens are enslaved by a "culture of consumerism".

Mr Guppy, whose mother was Iranian and who frequently visits the country on business, told The Independent he no longer recognised Britain, the country of his birth.

He said: "Very often, people ask me: 'Darius, why do you feels so antipathetic towards England and the West? After all, England is your country.' My response is always the same: the question is not whether England is my country, it is whether England still is a country. What the hell is England any more?"

Throughout the piece, he refers to British citizens as "you" and Iranians as "we". He also insists that most Iranians view the West "with horror".

Mr Guppy's grandfather, Mohammed Kazem Assar, was an Iranian ayatollah and philosopher who taught at Tehran University. Among his students was Ayatollah Khomeini, the famous Iranian revolutionary leader.

In his piece, he pours scorn on the idea that the Iranian elections were rigged, and expresses the wish that Iran will become a "core state around which other nations that cherish freedom can coalesce".

It is a sudden and surprising return to the public eye for Mr Guppy, who left the UK in 1996 after being released from prison for fraud. In 1993 he suffered a spectacular fall from grace after it emerged that he and a friend had paid someone to tie them up and fake a robbery in New York so that he could claim £1.8m in insurance. After serving three years in jail, he disappeared to South Africa and continues to live in Cape Town.

In his essay, he writes: "Visit Iran and you will see a people polite, hospitable, cultured, noble and brave. 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 ladettes 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."

Earlier this month, Mr Guppy wrote a letter to this newspaper criticising the widespread assumption that Iran's elections had been fixed. He also referred to Westerners as "mindless, McDonald's-munching slaves of Mammon". A debate on the letters page ensued, and today's essay is Mr Guppy's rejoinder.

In the piece, he argues that Iran is not a repressed society, but in fact enjoys more freedoms than the UK, which he calls "a genuine police state". He describes the idea that the Iranian people long for democracy as "a proposition that smacks as much of arrogance as of Fukuyaman hubris".

In March this year, 20-year-old tapes emerged of a secret telephone conversation between Mr Guppy and his friend Boris Johnson, then a journalist at The Daily Telegraph. Mr Guppy wanted Mr Johnson to track down a News of the World journalist who had been investigating his affairs, so that he could hire someone to beat him up.

Mr Guppy was formerly a close friend of Earl Spencer, Princess Diana's brother, and was best man at his wedding to Victoria Lockwood. But the pair fell out after he accused the Earl of trying to seduce his wife Patricia while he was in prison.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketer

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Ideal candidates for the role m...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Communications Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 6-month part-time contract (24 hours a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific