We live in days of talentless celebrities and politicians of such minnow-sized greatness that you wouldn’t even trust them to sell you a second-hand Micra.
Few people dare to stand apart from all the sheep - and all the eccentric sheep - and therefore few people can consistently and deeply divide opinion at all levels of society.
One man who does, and, to his credit, has done for decades, is David Icke.
To his detractors Icke is a ‘nutter’, a ‘conspiracy theorist’, whose work is outlandish, weird, increasingly ‘offensive’, and even downright dangerous.
READ: David Icke: Reports of my madness have been greatly exaggerated http://www.lep.co.uk/news/latest/icke-reports-of-my-madness-have-been-greatly-exaggerated-1-9253395
But like him or not, it is impossible in good faith to ignore the thousands worldwide who throng to his shows, buy his books, and the even greater number who follow his presence online.
A new film - Renegade: The Life Story of David Icke - has even been made to cover his extraordinary story from professional goalkeeper to a giant in the world of alternative news.
It is quite a turnaround for someone who by his own admission was once a national laughing stock. And no one is more surprised than him.
Renegade, Icke says, is just another means of getting his message out there, and to him the message is the most important thing. It needs to be shared, he says, and urgently. And it’s now available on Amazon Prime, iTunes and www.davidicke.com
He says: “It [Renegade] kind of follows the story of my life, but from a perspective of the information I've been putting out for 30 years. And that's really why I wanted to do it. It's because it has the potential to alert a lot of new people to the fact that the world's not like they thought it was.”
One of the core points of Icke’s work is that the world is controlled by a tiny number of people. The introduction and consolidation of the internet has provided them with the vehicle to manipulate and control, away from the public eye, perception and all aspects of global society.
“If you keep speaking your truth,” he says, “if it has validity, it will eventually be shown to be so.
“There is an agenda and if you can access it, then you can predict the future.
"Books I wrote back in the early to mid 1990s, are in effect, being read on the TV news.
“Every day, I'm shaking my head, something else that was in my books a long time ago is now being introduced.
“The reason I say that is not to say, ‘Look at me, aren’t I good, aren’t I clever’, it's to keep emphasizing that I said it a long time ago. Because if I knew about this, back in the 1990s, and more and more as time has passed, then these are not random events.
"If they were random events, then I wouldn't have known about them because they were random when they happened. But they are part of a calculated step-by-step process of enslaving humanity, on every level: physically, mentally, emotionally. The idea of what I do is to stimulate that intervention - to stop that future from happening.”
One event he has been predicting for years came close to unfolding before our eyes… a US attack on Iran. He claims the attack on the Japanese oil tanker is a false flag event designed to manoeuvre the world into a long-planned Third World War.
He says "false flag" attacks are not carried out by the accused perpetrator and are designed to gain public acceptance for an attack on the target country. Icke asks those who build their perception of the world from the mainstream to ask the question, "Who benefits?" He says the tanker attack was the last thing Iran would want as it brings the fury of the world upon itself. On the other hand, for the US and Israel, who have both been critical of Iran, the attack gives them increased ‘justification’ for war, Icke says.
For Icke a fundamental way of controlling people is controlling perception.
Censorship, and the manipulation of information, ‘facts’ and ‘truth’ has never been easier.
He claims: “The internet was created by DARPA, the technological development arm of the Pentagon. This is a very, very sinister organization.
“The idea has always been to have the internet as the central foundation of human society, which it is now, irreversibly. To start with they introduced one that had the free flow of information that didn't censor, and, people thought, ‘This is great’.
“It became slowly but surely, through the totalitarian tip-toe, the foundation of human society and human discourse. Once that point had been reached, when the internet was in that position, and it was irreversible, then the real internet that was planned all along began to appear, this is censorship and the control of information.”
Increasingly this control is being played out in the online world, particularly through social media. As much of the online world is now funnelled through a handful of social media outlets - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - in Silicon Valley, a place Icke dubs the ‘Devil’s Playground’, power, particularly power to censor, is concentrated in a tiny number of hands.
“Once that near monopoly has been created and is in place then you start to create what was intended all along, which was a vehicle for deciding what people see, and don’t see.”
“What I've been saying for years and years in is that these internet giants are not actually controlled by the people that appear to control them.There are a lot of front people, but in the end, the power is elsewhere."
He adds: “YouTube with its search engines pushes alternative information way down where people would only ever see it as a matter of accident, or chance.
“Once information is on the internet they can use algorithms, with no human input, to censor what people see and hear. You also have this thing called shadow banning, where you post something and they make sure it doesn’t go anywhere.”
The screw is tightening on Icke himself, he claims.
“I have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people who supposedly follow my Facebook page, but when I post things only a tiny fraction of that number actually see them, unless they go directly to the page because of shadow banning. It is planned to get much worse, because the goal is that the point is eventually reached when no-one ever sees anything, or hears anything, on the internet that the system doesn’t want them to hear and see.”
He says the self-censorship that is political correctness, which polices hitherto acceptable points of view through micro-management in a public social media arena, has made the matter worse.
He says those with different opinions are demonised, deplatformed, demonitized from YouTube, and ridiculed, leaving many unwilling to challenge official norms. He gives the example of Brexit with "twitterstorm-troopers" ensuring those speaking up for Brexit are portrayed as racist, ignorant, or both.
“It is a colossal, enormous psychological attack on human perception. It all comes down to perception. Your perception dictates your behaviour, but where does perception come from? It comes from information received, whether it's personal experience, or a Facebook post, or the 10 o'clock news. And if you can control the information received, you are going to form perceptions. And of course, if you want to form perceptions that suit you, from information that you circulate, you don't want any other form of information circulating, that's challenging what you are putting out to getting the perception you want.”
Certain topics are becoming inaccessible to free speech, where it is becoming socially unacceptable and taboo to speak out with an alternative point of view. Topics include human-caused climate change, vaccination programmes and the transgender phenomenon, with the latter leading to the subjugation of women’s rights, Icke says.
“I have a simple phrase I use,” he says, “which is if you want to know what the agenda is for the world, look at what you can't have a different opinion about.”
Icke says: “If you want a definition of fascism, a very good one would be not having the right to decide what goes into your own body or the body of your children. That’s what mandatory vaccinations are all about.
“It is nothing to do what is right, what is wrong, what is science, what is not science. It is to do with advancing the agenda.
“I’m coming up to 67 now and I’m glad I was born when I was and I’m doing what I’m doing because it’s given me a compass, a radar and a point of reference of what happened before all this nonsense came in.
“Younger people who were born into this, to them it is normal, but to people my age, they know it’s not normal because it wasn’t like that.”
Icke is a prolific writer.
He might be of pensionable age but there’s nothing mellow about his latest book, which takes a new look at 9/11.
“It has got to be one of the most controversial ever written,” he says, “especially in current times.”
It is perhaps ironic for someone who specialises, professionally, in providing a prediction of future global events, that his own life has evolved, somewhat unpredictably - both the turnaround of the public’s perception of him, witnessed by his film, and also with his large and growing back catalogue of books.
“You know, it's funny,” he says, “when I was a journalist on local newspapers back in the 1970s, I said to my then wife, Linda, I would never write a book as I've not got enough to say…”
He laughs, knowing perhaps his last point is hard to believe.
“Now I'm looking at my bookshelf, you know, at the size of some of the books and it's amazing how life goes.
“You never realise where it's going to go until you’ve gone there really.”