i think you have it the wrong way round. The whacko left are the ones putting restrictions on opinion and freedom of speech. It's one thing standing up for your beliefs and rights but it's another thing when they try to destroy the lives of those that disagree with them. They like to deal in absolute truths and disallow all debate. Unless of course the dissent comes from a section of society that they are physically terrified of. It's like we're living inside a George orwell novel.
Ahhh, good old Eric Blair (his real name). He gets trotted out every time by whichever side thinks they can score points off the other with whichever excerpt from his Animal Farm satire or the Dystopian Nineteen Eighty-Four. We all do it.
My favourites include this meme which sums up our disappearing Prime Minister brilliantly. "Where's Boris?" Johnson. The man who hides in fridges.
Another excerpt from 1984 (my birth year, actually) goes: We didn’t ought to ‘ave trusted ‘em. I said so, Ma, didn’t I? That’s what come of trusting ‘em. I said so all along. We didn’t ought to ‘ave trusted the buggers.”
Nineteen Eighty-Four continues to stand as Orwell’s superlative achievement. It is an intellectual and humanitarian masterpiece delivered in perfect prose. It is a handbook from history, one that chimes with the times, all the time.
“We didn’t ought to have trusted the buggers”
is uttered by a tearful, gin-soaked pensioner seeking safety in the bowels of a tube station from the bombs dropping above. “Perhaps it was the time when the atomic bomb had fallen on Colchester. Which buggers they didn’t ought to have trusted Winston could not now remember.”
Such is politics: one untrustworthy bugger after another, fading back beyond the horizon of memory. The scale and scenarios may differ – a nuclear stand-off, a trade war, a constitutional implosion, a leadership contest – the types and the tricks are always familiar; the will to power, the self-justifying marshalling of fact and argument, the manipulation of the herd, always tragically visible.
What is the Ministry of Lies but fake news, being weaponised daily by the world’s most powerful man and his media cheerleaders? “Two and two make five”, Winston Smith finally accepts. “What are the stars?’ asks O’Brien. “They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.”
The crowd at Donald Trump’s inauguration was the biggest in history. Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Brexit means Brexit. No deal is better than a bad deal.
What is objective knowledge? Next up, fake video, where even the evidence of our eyes can no longer be trusted.
What are the rhetoric of Nigel Farage and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon but a call to join in the Two Minute Hate, the Othering of others. “Swine..!! Swine..!! Swine..!!” screams Julia at the image of Emmanuel Goldstein, a familiar 2020 sentiment towards a familiar 2020 target.
“The best books…”, Winston perceived, “are those that tell you what you already know.” 1984 tells us what we already know, but too often forget. It rings and clangs and jangles with alarms down through the decades, ever perceptive, ever relevant, ever jolting, ever on our side.
Imagine if George Orwell had written a book called “2024”. Imagine.... he describes a Britain that - affronted by the false belief that their Avalon is being run by (shock-horror) 'foreigners', then wooed by honeyed, homespun promises of plenty and sweet murmurings about “freedom” and “sovereignty” - lifted its skirts and stormed from the chambers of Europe.
Orwell’s peerless, clarifying mind tweezering apart the consequences of such a decision – a bad decision, it would turn out, driven by frenzied tabloidisation of political debate.... the sense of imperial exceptionalism that has always lived deep in the British psyche, and the deliberate exploitation of such by a combination of ideological fanatics and amoral spivs and criminals with their eyes on the prize - Big Boris, if you will.
Whatever scenario appears today, we find that Orwell got there first, saw the field more clearly, captured the game more perfectly. His grasp of human motivation and its complexities, of the political structures on which the affairs of humankind rest.
Augie March said it of Trotsky: "As the rest of us crawl from one clam-rake to the next it is stirring to have a glimpse of deep-water greatness."