Oh dear….This really is not terribly good. After all, you can be a hard-right gun nut blogger if you want, but saying that “Being right-wing and pro-Bush is the in thing right now. I just hopped on that train.” is tantamount to going around wearing a sheep skin and a sign saying “Human Sheep – Seeking Flock Leader!” They’re meant to be your own opinions….

Margaret Atwood’s article on George Orwell – a true Ranter if ever there was one – in today’s Guardian certainly reminded me of a few things. For example, it must be at least 8 years since I read 1984, and my memory of it is startlingly clear. That could perhaps be a definition of genius – the good stuff is what sticks to the brain and stays as clear as stainless. The Junior Spies, the Anti-Sex League, a society built on the rationing of scarcity and institutionalised betrayal, the tired and tiresome officials administering horror – just as new as then. It’s not new, of course, these things are the furniture of tyranny. Faintly religious mass bullying groups like Antisex are very familiar indeed – one could think of all sorts of organisations and campaigns that fit the description, going back to Noel Pemberton Billing’s semi-fascist electoral campaign in the East End in 1918 with its rants against Oscar Wilde and something called the Cult of the Clitoris. Or the League of Time in post-revolutionary Russia, whose members kept cards on which they recorded what they did every minute of their lives, wearing huge watches, and bullied persons suspected of time-wasting. All tyrannies need to get some of the citizens to sign up to aims that seem at least to be their own. These are the small minded annoyers of the bully state. The block warden, the informer, the youth-league volunteer – have current counterparts in the security obsessives, refugee bashers and the like. People who can’t wait for the tyrant to get started.

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