Tele column – 17th February 2017

George Orwell’s novel, 1984, presents a dystopian future where news is altered and fabricated to promote the message that the governing body wishes to be heard. People are constantly on their guard due to Government surveillance. The citizens are always being asked to accept less freedom and less money, so that the ongoing war against some unknown enemy that threatens their very existence can be fought. Questioning the evidence or strategy is treason and punishable by death. People are ruled by fear and distrust of their fellow human beings. It’s a powerful story that was written in 1948, just as we entered the Cold War. Orwell’s ability to see the big picture of control by fear is writ large on every page. I have no doubt it is one of the greatest books of our time. And in our time both fake news and post-truth politics are rife. The art of subterfuge and spin have become the norm. Doublethink and newspeak permeate our media and lives. And where does this leave the electorate, the citizens, the proles? Disenfranchised, disillusioned and decidedly hacked off with the media, governments and politicians. And ironically that plays into the hands of those that Orwell described as Big Brother. With that in mind it is vital that we encourage our media to report honestly and openly without risk of retribution and politicians must fulfil their duty to shine a light on injustice and persecution. With that in mind I am delighted to see that 1984 is back in the top ten sellers list. My own copy is a bit battered so I shall order two new ones. One for me to re-read (to keep me honest) and one for the White House and hope somebody can read it to President Trump.