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.

ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Systems Analyst (Technical, UML, UI)

£30000 - £40000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Senior Private Client Solicitor - Gloucestershire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Support Developer

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A unique and rare opport...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn