George Orwell was born this day in 1903. I wonder what he would make of us voting for Brexit,
In 1941, as the Luftwaffe rained bombs on London, the former Eric Blair reminisced in the essay “ England Your England " about the period after World War I, when the returning English working classes “brought back a hatred of all Europeans, except the Germans, whose courage they admired.” . Orwell tended to use “England” as his catchall for the United Kingdom.:-
“In four years on French soil they did not even acquire a liking for wine,” Orwell wrote. “The insularity of the English, their refusal to take foreigners seriously, is a folly that has to be paid for very heavily from time to time.”
“But,” he continued, “it plays its part in the English mystique, and the intellectuals who have tried to break it down have generally done more harm than good. At bottom it is the same quality in the English character that repels the tourist and keeps out the invader.”
The same kind of mystique has been fully on view in the often-angry, sometimes-entertaining debate over Thursday’s referendum. British politicians who favor leaving the bloc have invoked Hitler, and the U.K.’s tabloids, long skeptical of the political bloc based in Brussels, have been typically vocal: “Who will speak for England?” the Daily Mail blared; “BeLeave in Britain,” said the Sun, which even reported the “Queen Backs Brexit,” a headline Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organization ruled as “significantly misleading ” given that the queen has stayed publicly neutral on the matter. I am sure he would comment on the atmosphere in the aftermath of the referendum, the sulphurous whiff not just of inequality, but a kind of misshapen class war. After people not usually inclined to vote, rebelled, the disenfranchised a section of working class people who have been taken for granted and dispossessed and exploited for decades, whose industries have been eviscerated and who have been palmed off with a 'race to the bottom' culture. Cruelly, they were engaged by false promises and lies about how things are, and these are beginning to be exposed already by those who perpetrated them. Nevertheless, those people of the council estates who voted in such numbers as never before are now a force, one that has not been active for a long time and they are a key driver in the volatility of now. Those who are at present mounting their coup against Jeremy Corbyn a principled man, who seems to speak to many with with integrity and honesty calling for social justice are exactly the same dull Blairites who have been part of mounting a slow coup against the council estates for a generation, the same unimaginative centrists who have nothing to offer those people and who seek to use a new force to empower their tired old politics. I hope they fail. in their orchestrated treachery. Resignations on the hour by the future Blair tribute party self-indulgent games as jobs are in new peril and just when we need the Labour Party should be be uniting against the inevitable Tory party rampage to write their fanatical hard-right agenda into the very fabric of society. Anyway I hope a radical politics continues to prevails and in the coming year,I hope to see a radical, anti-racist, pro-working class, pro-diversity, internationalist politics carrying strength as we face the seismic changes to come. which will probably see us having a General Election.
Anyway George Orwell, wrote his masterful text The Lion and the Unicorn in another time when Europe was tearing itself apart, and the UK’s isolation was more a matter of righteous principle than political chaos. England, he said, “resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kowtowed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income....It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts...A family with the wrong members in control – that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”
-- "The Lion and the Unicorn," 1941
Coming up for Air was written in 1939 while Orwell was in Morocco because of his tuberculosis. . The book is filled with nightmare visions of how it will be after the war; visions that would become Nineteen Eighty-Four.
It is interesting to see that the atmosphere of Nineteen Eighty-Four was already described in 1939, and today it feels that we seem to be hurtling into a Orwellian nightmare of sorts.To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Leave campaigners started off by saying all people are equal. And now they've got their way and Britain has decided to leavee the EU, it will soon change to all people are equal - but some are more equal than others. Yes just like George Orwells time we are surrounded again by scary people, facing a very scary uncertain future.I hope we can continue however keep on building a future that is notv filled with fear hate and ignorance.
I will leave you in the hands of George , good evening/prynhawn da , - '
In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.