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MPs off on an Olympic Jolly – what would George Orwell say?

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 14 July 2012

At the top of my blog there is my photo gallery of heroes and among them is George Orwell. The simple view of his works is that they are a warning against the evils of totalitarianism. But life is not that simple. I do not pretend that Britain is a totalitarian state although the appetite of the State to invade matters of personal choice and to infringe on all of our civil liberties has increased remarkably in the past few years. A clear secondary theme in Orwell is the increasing detachment of the political elite from the rest of us. And that process can happen in a liberal democracy like Britain just as it did in Stalin’s Russia.

And so that brings me to the news that BT is taking 4 leading MPs on an all expenses jolly to the men’s 100 metres final at the Olympics. The MPs huff and puff and say they have slaved away for 5 years monitoring the games and so they need to trot along to see it in action so that they can serve the nation properly. Yeah right. So why not go, at your own expense, to the early stages of the 68 kg men’s weightlifting rather than be driven along in special cars for special people in special traffic lanes to an event which (for a reason that escapes me) everyone wants a ticket to? At this juncture I refer to Animal Farm, first published in 1945 as a leading pig stands up and says to those he “serves,” the “ordinary animals”:

“‘Comrades!’ he cried. ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.”

I am sure you can guess which dumb and dumber Tory MP has spoken up to say how she agrees with this corporate jolly for her colleagues. I do hope the honourable members (from both main parties) enjoy their “working” day out. But please for a minute do not think that anyone believes your words and views you with anything other than increasing contempt and with a growing sense of alienation.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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