Published on August 21st, 2013 | by Michaela Buckley1
Life after 1984
The book that defined Britain under siege by its own protectors, 1984 written in 1949 by George Orwell, is frequently referenced when concerning modern socio-political matters surrounding surveillance and control of the population.
For the past 5 years, I can confidently claim that not a week has passed that I haven’t heard a practice or personage described as ‘Orwellian’ and as I write this, there is currently a new eruption in the NSA leaks scandal involving misuse of terrorist laws in order to seize journalistic information passing through England.
With the rise of the internet and the popularity of social media like Twitter and Facebook, the boundaries surrounding privacy and personal information is quickly loosening, a fact that some authorities have not hesitated to utilise in the fight against crime. International politics is playing a greater role in home security as espionage and terrorism is in full swing both east and west. Using information was a key part of 1984, today we use disinformation on enemies to fall for military schemes and despite what some people believe, misinformation is hardly new, what with the skewing of crime statistics dating to New Labour’s fresh reign during the 90’s.
In 1984, criminals of Thoughtcrime and other acts that run counter to the Party’s rules were made into ‘Unpersons’, their very existence and history is wiped from existence, so that even friends and family couldn’t find anything more about them than what is left in their own faulty heads, indoctrinated with the hypocrisies of Doublethink. The UK & US don’t currently have such proceedings, but the effect is apparent in today’s sentencing Bradley Manning, a military serviceperson who leaked documents pertaining to military operations in Afghanistan, Baghdad and Iraq. He received a 35 year prison sentence with a parole after 8.
The newspapers are livid, on both wings we are seeing outrage at such a base violation of freedom of information and press, the shocking sentence of Manning is the US making an example of whistleblowers and a sinister message to members of the government at what happens when one thinks critically or individually.
But the truth is, is that no matter the insidious nature of our government, I can’t help but feel that it’s just simply too incompetent to enact a true regime against British-folk. Which is far worse.
I have often been called a cynic and my own views on most conspiracies often end with sad lament that “It’s probably not true, because that would be rather too exciting”. Life, and particularly England, are just too bloody boring to actually have the methodology and planned-ness that a conspiracy would need. Things are too chaotic, and the government is just, well too damned stupid to be able to pull anything off. I mean, you’d think that of all conspiracies that it would be easy to get away with, one in international waters about a group of people that, quite frankly nobody notices even when they are desperately cloying for your attention while walking under the bridge in Southend High Street, that would probably be an easy one in comparison to say, destroying one of the world’s largest buildings in one of the world’s biggest cities in broad daylight. You would indeed.
No. It’s just not plausible. But that’s not to say I don’t believe that things won’t end badly for us.
When Eliot said “This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang” it should have ended “but a series of yelps indicative of one falling down the stairs from treading one step too many”.