Wednesday, September 05, 2007


When George Orwell wrote 1984 he based it on the totalitarian states of Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, but recent revelations show that he himself was closely monitored by the British state.
"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment," wrote George Orwell in the opening pages of 1984. "How often, or on what system the Thought Police plugged in ... was guess work." ... What Orwell, the Eton-educated author and passionate socialist, could not have known, however, was the uncanny parallel between his nightmarish vision of an all-seeing dictatorship and his own status for more than a decade as a target for the close scrutiny of the British security services. The personal MI5 file of the literary standard bearer of the British Left, published today after being kept secret for nearly 60 years, reveals how Orwell was closely monitored for signs of treacherous or revolutionary political views by Scotland Yard's Special Branch from 1929 until the height of the Second World War." (Independent, 4 September) RD

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