27.6.40

It appears that the night before last, during the air-raid alarm, many people all over London were woken by the All Clear signal, took that for a warning and went to the shelters and stayed there till morning, waiting for the All Clear. This after ten months of war and God knows how many explanations of the air-raid precautions.

The fact that the government hasn’t this time had to do a recruiting campaign has had a deadening effect on propaganda…. A striking thing is the absence of any propaganda posters of a general kind, dealing with the struggle against Fascism etc. If only someone would show the M.O.I. the posters used in the Spanish war, even the Franco ones for that matter. But how can these people possibly rouse the nation against Fascism when they themselves are subjectively pro-Fascist and were buttering up Mussolini till almost the moment when Italy entered the war? Butler[1], answering questions about the Spanish occupation of Tangier, says H.M. Government has “accepted the word” of the Spanish government that the Spaniards are only doing so in order to preserve Tangier’s neutrality – this after Falangist demonstrations in Madrid to celebrate the ‘conquest’ of Tangier…. This morning’s papers publish a “denial” that Hoare[2] in Madrid is asking questions about an armistice. In other words he is doing so. Only question – can we get rid of these people in the next few weeks, before it is too late?

The unconscious treacherousness of the British ruling class in what is in effect a class war is too obvious to be worth mentioning. The difficult question is how much deliberate treachery exists…. L.M.[3], who knows or at least has met all these people, says that with individual exceptions like Churchill the entire British aristocracy is utterly corrupt and lacking in the most ordinary patriotism, caring in fact for nothing except preserving their own standard of life. He says that they are also intensely class-conscious and recognise clearly the community of their interests with those of rich people elsewhere. The idea that Mussolini might fall has always been a nightmare to them, he says. Up to date L.M’s predictions about the war, made the day it began, have been very correct. He said nothing would happen all winter, Italy would be treated with great respect and then suddenly come in against us, and the German aim would be to force on Britain a puppet government through which Hitler could rule Britain without the mass of the public grasping what was happening…. The only point where L.M proved wrong is that like myself he assumed Russia would continue to collaborate with Germany, which now looks as if it may not happen. But then the Russians probably did not expect France to collapse so suddenly. If they can bring it off, Pétain and Co. are working towards the same kind of double cross against Russia as Russia previously worked against England. It was interesting that at the time of the Russo-German pact nearly everyone assumed that the pact was all to Russia’s advantage and that Stalin had in some way “stopped” Hitler, though one only had to look at the map in order to see that this was not so….In western Europe Communism and left extremism generally are now almost entirely a form of masturbation. People who are in fact without power over events console themselves by pretending that they are in some way controlling events. From the Communist point of view, nothing matters so long as they can persuade themselves that Russia is on top. It now seems doubtful whether the Russians gained much more from the pact than a breathing-space, though they did this much better than we did at Munich. Perhaps England and the U.S.S.R. will be forced into alliance after all, an interesting instance of real interests overriding the most hearty ideological hatred.

The New Leader[4] is now talking about the “betrayal” by Pétain and Co. and the “workers’ struggle” against Hitler. Presumably they would be in favour of a “worker’s” resistance if Hitler invaded England. And what will the workers fight with? With weapons. Yet the I.L.P. clamour simultaneously for sabotage in the arms factories. These people live almost entirely in a masturbation fantasy, conditioned by the fact that nothing they say or do will ever influence events, not even the turning-out of a single shell.

[1] R.A. Butler (1902-1984; Life Peer, 1965) was Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs , 1938-41, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and later Foreign Secretary in the Conservative government of 1951-64.

[2] Sir Samuel Hoare was at this time British Ambassador to Spain.

[3] L.H. Myers was a novelist and good friend of Orwell

[4] Weekly newspaper of the Independent Labour Party, which Orwell had joined in June 1938, having fought with the ILP contingent in Spain. He left the party at the beginning of the war. Peter Davison

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7 Responses to 27.6.40

  1. There’s something very familiar about all this.

  2. Pingback: Airminded · Post-blogging 1940

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention 27.6.40 « THE ORWELL PRIZE -- Topsy.com

  4. George Orwell affirms the existence of Almighty God! Hallelu Yah!

  5. Max says:

    And masturbation in the same entry – er, if you see what I mean!

  6. Yes, I too sense some bitterness from Blair toward the oppressive population of masturbating imbeciles among whom he flails.

    In this post, Orwell validates his previous hints at defeatism. He paints with a bleak brush as if he is already the last Englishman standing.

  7. Pingback: Richard Wilkinson » Blog Archive » Journalism was never any good!

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