So anyone that knows me knows that 1984 had a profound affect on me when I read over the summer last year. George Orwell wrote the book in warning of what the country could well become if the Communist threat (or even totalitarian threat) succeeded and not only Britain, but the world, descended into a completely politically controlled state, constantly at war with another part of the world.
Everyone is a suspect. Everyone is being watched by Big Brother. There is no freedom.
Except, Orwell suggests, if you are part of the working class… and not directly involved in the party. At least that was how I interpreted the book anyway.
So why am I talking about George Orwell?
Well, for several reasons. For the first time in almost 70 years the United Kingdom is under a coalition government. None of the parties were able to secure a majority of seats in Parliament, thus the Conservatives went into full coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Hand in hand with this, they announced a fixed-term government of 5 years, but if the two parties do not get along they have made it particularly difficult to dissolve government and call for fresh elections (the Lib-Dems and Conservatives are on opposing ends of the political spectrum e.g. left looking or right looking).
I know Labour have every right to be bitter that they didn’t win the election, but here Labour raise a valid point. In order to dissolve the government and call fresh elections, there needs to be 55% vote in the House of Commons. This means that something like 16 members of the Conservatives need to rebel against their own leadership. Something that isn’t really likely to happen considering the Conservatives haven’t been in power for 13 years.
When I came home from the Library the other night, I was browsing the internet looking up information on Nick Clegg. Being as though he’s now the Deputy Prime Minister, I thought I would find some more information about him as I don’t really know that much outside of him being an MEP for a period of time. I stumbled across this article and upon reading it, although it sounds a little like the words of a mad-man… I can’t help but feel the Liberal Democrats are going to get stitched up in this coalition.
I also came across this which really made me think, and has made me think a lot more lately about Orwell and his warnings. I doubt that the Freedom Bill will fully get through government, even under this coalition, and it highlights some very good points… but I think people are just too complacent these days, too used to what had become known as the ‘Nanny State’ to want anything else. And I’m aware that it sounds like I’m dumbing the people of the country down, I don’t mean to, I just think that the majority of people are simply too complacent.
Lastly (and this is mad), in Orwell’s book there are things called Telescreens. They monitor everything you do, every little action, sound, sentence etc. They constantly transmit information to the people, you must have one in each and every house, workplace etc. How many people have webcams built into their laptops? Computers? It actually does make me incredibly paranoid about have them there. Silly, I know… but still, I can’t help but wonder about it. And I wouldn’t have really thought about it before if a friend at the Library hadn’t said something about the small notebooks that they provide being a psychological experiment in which people were monitored to see if they clicked to go online first, or if they opened up documents first.
I think it’s the idea behind something like that which terrifies me more… the possibility that something like that could happen.