This year Orwell seems to have returned to Suffolk and if anything in an even more troubling way but this time through the Seckford Foundation.
If you are familiar with the plot of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four you will remember that the protagonist Winston Smith works at the Ministry of Truth. Now of course the Ministry of Truth doesn’t really concern itself with the truth.
Winston himself is engaged in re-writing newspaper articles to make them more “accurate” and to remove “mistakes”. The book describes this:
The messages he received referred to articles or news-items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or as the official phrase had it, to rectify. For example it appeared From The Times of the seventeenth of March that Big Brother, in his speech the previous day, had predicted that the South Indian Front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would soon be launched in North Africa. As it happened the Eurasian Higher Command had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened.Yesterday this is essentially what the Seckford Foundation did. They succeeded in re-writing history and removing inconvenient facts by getting a local newspaper group to remove newspaper articles and replace them with a more sympathetic article. Truly Orwellian.
The inconvenient truth of Graham Watson’s over-optimistic statements that approval would be given by the end of May is removed as if he had never said it.
So Orwell is alive and well in Suffolk. I half expected to pick up Nineteen Eighty Four and read:
It was a dull wet day in May, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
On each landing, opposite the lift shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which is so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. GRAHAM WATSON IS WATCHING YOUR BLOG, the caption beneath it ran.