The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Orwell

Saturday, 8th August 2015

Is UKIP, according to Orwell’s definition, a party of Tory anarchists?

Tory anarchist, n.

Pronunciation: /ˈtɔːri ˈanəkɪst/
Etymology: < Tory n. and adj. + anarchist n.

One who despises authority while disbelieving in liberty, and preserving the aristocratic outlook while seeing clearly that the existing aristocracy is degenerate and contemptible.

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Thursday, 12th February 2015

‘Gentlemen,’ concluded Mr Clegg, ‘I will give you the same toast as before, but in a different form. Fill your glasses to the brim. Gentlemen, here is my toast: To the prosperity of The Economy!’

There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the people outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the Lib Dems? Donald’s old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their order papers and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the people crept silently away.

But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the Cabinet office. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron had each suggested the same policy simultaneously.

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the Lib Dems. The people outside looked from Lib Dem to Tory, and from Tory to Lib Dem, and from Lib Dem to Tory again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Saturday, 2nd August 2014

Customer, n.

Pronunciation: /ˈkʌstəmə(r)/
Etymology: < custom n. + er suffix.

Deployed on the principle of Newspeak that ‘reduction of vocabulary [is] regarded as an end in itself’, for the purpose of replacing and thereby ‘eliminating undesirable words’ such as student, voter, passenger, patient, film-goer, pub-goer, diner, etc. (cf. Oldspeak, n.).

Wednesday, 26th March 2014

During the Second World War George Orwell noted approvingly that the railings around many of London’s private garden squares had disappeared: ‘the object was partly to accumulate scrap-iron, but the removal was also felt to be a democratic gesture.’

Nowadays, walking around the affluent residential areas just outside central London, I notice more and more railings. And they’re not around garden squares, but plain old front gardens; as if the owners, who would really like to live in gated communities (or closer in to town, around a garden square), are forced to settle for railed-off communities consisting of one family each. Perhaps some of them are starting to think, subconsciously, that they probably deserve to be burgled or have their Porsche keyed. In any case, the sliding, remote-controlled railings can be jumped over as easily as the postman opens a gate. In Orwell’s time as now, ‘where there is money, there are railings’, and they’re ‘not only unnecessary but hideously ugly’.

Friday, 28th February 2014

The Tories present themselves as the pro-business party that wants to roll back the flabby state and allow private organisations – charities, volunteers, churches, businesses etc. – to take up the slack. But it occurs to me that there’s a contradiction in this. “Buying” social security or national insurance with one’s taxes is a much more hard-headed exchange than that of charity, which is one-sided and dependant upon the caprice of a Dickensian ‘good rich man’. Perhaps the Tories would look more kindly upon public services and welfare if they saw them less as a social(ist) contract, and more as a national purchasing of goods and services, with excellent economies of scale.

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