Thursday, 23 August 2012

Keep The Aspidistra Flying

It is the presently resurgent patriotic, morally and socially conservative, anti-Communist Left who are the true heirs of the best of George Orwell.

Orwell is good. He is important. But he is still overrated. Not least, his depiction of Wigan is still resented in the town to this day. His famous remark about the goosestep was just plain wrong, like many of his others. And everyone should read Scott Lucas's The Betrayal of Dissent, London: Pluto Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7453-2197-6.

However, Orwell's patriotism, his moral and social conservatism, and his anti-Communism are vitally important in reminding the British Left that those are indispensable, and indeed definitive, aspects of our own tradition, and that the first two, at least, stand in very marked contrast to everything for which the Conservative Party has stood since that uncomprehending woman facilitated its takeover by the hired help of global capitalism.

All three, though perhaps especially the last, make him a particularly significant figure when set alongside Christopher Hill and E P Thompson in rescuing demotic culture from what Thompson called "the enormous condescension of posterity", even though Orwell himself was not above condescension.

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