Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The Lion and the Unicorn

This just in: George Orwell was apparently not considered an "orthodox Communist" by M16 during the years they spied on him prior to his death in 1950. This revelation must be as dumbly understated as it is misleading, which I suppose is why the media is reporting it. I'm glad that people of Intelligence came to this conclusion; one might as well state that Churchill was not an orthodox imperial Fascist, or that Her Majesty's regiments are not orthodox goose-steppers. Not only was Orwell not a Communist; he was its number one enemy, and number one enemy essayist to boot. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, he exposed totalitarianism and 'Big Brother' as a sinister evil - Orwellian we call it, "a boot stamping on the human face - forever". I remember shuddering at the prospect of being the future Winston Smith, though was hugely comforted during my high school education by the fact that I was actually reading it in 1984.

I truly wonder what gave it away for them? I don't know, was it his visceral hatred of English leftist intellectuals perhaps?

England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British. It is questionable how much effect this had, but it certainly had some. If the English people suffered for several years a real weakening of morale, so that the Fascist nations judged that they were ‘decadent’ and that it was safe to plunge into war, the intellectual sabotage from the Left was partly responsible.

Or maybe your average bolshevik just doesn't believe, as Orwell did, that the aristocracy held to certain morals and was not inherently wicked as a class. A bit stupid, stubborn and snobbish perhaps, but not wicked.

One thing that has always shown that the English ruling class are morally fairly sound, is that in time of war they are ready enough to get themselves killed. Several dukes, earls and what nots were killed in the recent campaign in Flanders. That could not happen if these people were the cynical scoundrels that they are sometimes declared to be. It is important not to misunderstand their motives, or one cannot predict their actions. What is to be expected of them is not treachery, or physical cowardice, but stupidity, unconscious sabotage, an infallible instinct for doing the wrong thing. They are not wicked, or not altogether wicked; they are merely unteachable. Only when their money and power are gone will the younger among them begin to grasp what century they are living in.

Or by unorthodox Communist, do they mean he favoured keeping the monarchy as a national symbol, of holding onto English traditions and parliamentary democracy, of maintaining free speech and the principle that laws remain above the State, of retaining a vague reverence for Christian moral codes, of even referring to England as a Christian country. Would a Communist favour granting Dominion status to India, I wonder? Or was it the emblems of Orwell's socialist revolution that lie at the heart of this unorthodoxy? I mean the Lion and Unicorn are not exactly the Hammer and Sickle, now are they?

It will not be doctrinaire, nor even logical. It will abolish the House of Lords, but quite probably will not abolish the Monarchy. It will leave anachronisms and loose ends everywhere, the judge in his ridiculous horsehair wig and the lion and the unicorn on the soldier’s cap-buttons. It will not set up any explicit class dictatorship. It will group itself round the old Labour Party and its mass following will be in the trade unions, but it will draw into it most of the middle class and many of the younger sons of the bourgeoisie. Most of its directing brains will come from the new indeterminate class of skilled workers, technical experts, airmen, scientists, architects and journalists, the people who feel at home in the radio and ferro-concrete age. But it will never lose touch with the tradition of compromise and the belief in a law that is above the State. It will shoot traitors, but it will give them a solemn trial beforehand and occasionally it will acquit them. It will crush any open revolt promptly and cruelly, but it will interfere very little with the spoken and written word. Political parties with different names will still exist, revolutionary sects will still be publishing their newspapers and making as little impression as ever. It will disestablish the Church, but will not persecute religion. It will retain a vague reverence for the Christian moral code, and from time to time will refer to England as ‘a Christian country’. The Catholic Church will war against it, but the Nonconformist sects and the bulk of the Anglican Church will be able to come to terms with it. It will show a power of assimilating the past which will shock foreign observers and sometimes make them doubt whether any revolution has happened.

Sure he evolved from Tory anarchist to Labour party socialist over the course of his life, but George Orwell was a highly discerning patriot and an Englishman in the truest sense of the word. And as a patriot what he witnessed was the years of rot produced by Baldwin and Chamberlain and the ruling class that threatened England's very survival. The only thing that would save Britain was a supreme collective national effort - socialism of the English sort in other words, though he made the mistake of believing this should permanently extend to the economy after the war. I repeat, Orwell was no Communist. He understood the English mindset and how it could never lend itself to totalitarian schemes even if invaded, which any halfwit would be able to discern by reading England Your England, the first of a three-part series on The Lion and the Unicorn.


Shaftesbury said...

Grand post! Well done ...