‘War is Peace’
November 5, 2023
“The Ministry of Truth – Minitrue, in Newspeak – was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”
George Orwell’s 1984 was a work of fiction. Sadly, our political parties think it’s an instruction manual.
Sir Keir Starmer defended his position on the Israel/Hamas conflict, saying a ceasefire in Gaza could risk further violence. Really? Israeli war planes must drop more bombs in civilian areas or else civilians could get hurt? To think he used to brief the media to describe him as “forensic”.
Mr Sunak shares his position. He instructed the UK not to vote for the UN ceasefire motion. I doubt the families of the 3,760 children killed in Gaza would agree that dropping bombs on ambulances is saving lives. Listening to Sir Keir I could hear the party slogan from 1984 ringing in my ears – WAR IS PEACE.
In 1984, the Ministry of Love enforces loyalty to Big Brother through fear, using a massive apparatus of security and repression. Cue Suella Braveman. She said protesting in favour of a ceasefire is a hate crime. You don’t have to have said or done anything hateful, she just knows you are. Thoughtcrime.
She’s introduced new anti-protest laws. In March we saw peaceful anti-monarchy protesters arrested in London and held in cells for 16 hours. Despite having police agreement to protest. When asked if Labour would repeal the act, none of the shadow cabinet or Labour Police and Crime Commissioners would commit to this. But what do we expect? In 1984 FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.
Last week Mr Sunak sacked Conservative MP Paul Bristow as a ministerial aide for calling for a ceasefire.
Sir Keir removed the whip from Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald. A man I know to be principled and hardworking and a consistent campaigner for peace. His crime? Calling for peace and a two-state solution in the middle east. His exact words? “We won’t rest until we have justice. Until all people, Israelis & Palestinians, between the river & the sea can live in peaceful liberty.”
In case you don’t know, Hamas believes Israel has no right to exist, from the river to the sea. The founding document of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party says, “Between the sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty.” In other words, Palestine has no right to exist. Between these two opposing extremist views, Andy McDonald proposed an alternative – living together in peaceful liberty.
His words were wilfully ripped out of context and misrepresented. And Sir Keir suspended him. Thoughtcrime. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
Our world is not so dystopian as 1984. For a start, no one believes our Big Brother party leaders. They are not beheld in fear, but in contempt. Even by their own party members.
I’ve spoken to literally hundreds of people in the past few weeks. No one trusts the main parties. One woman told me, “They know they’re lying. Like toddlers with chocolate around their mouths, denying everything, when you can see the wreckage of the advent calendar behind them.”
Orwell explained their behaviour as cognitive dissonance reduction. “CRIMESTOP… includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical. CRIMESTOP, in short, means protective stupidity.”
Many think that with first-past-the-post, Westminster is a write-off. If you want to change our politics, you could start by electing an independent Mayor in the North East. One with a proven track record of achievement. Who works cross-party to get things done. Independents have no Big Brother party leader. No thought police who can threaten to remove the whip.
After all, Westminster increasingly looks like Orwell’s Animal Farm. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”