Orwell Diaries 1938-1942


Vote of censure defeated 475-25. This figure means that there were very few abstentions. The same trick as usual – the debate twisted into a demand for a vote of confidence on Churchill himself, which has to be given, since there is no one to take Churchill’s place. Things are made much easier for the government by the obvious bad motives of some of its chief attackers, eg. Hore-Belisha. [1] I don’t know how much longer this comedy can go on, but not much longer.

No reference to the second front in Churchill’s speech.

The Japanese are evidently going to attack Russia fairly soon. They appear to be firmly lodged in the outer Aleutians, which can’t have any meaning except as a move to cut communications between Russia and the USA.

The pinks are panicking to an extent they haven’t equalled since Dunkirk. The New Statesmen’s leading article is headed “Facing the Spectre”. They take the loss of Egypt for granted. Heaven knows whether this will actually happen, but these people have prophecied° the loss of Egypt so often before that their doing so again is almost enough to persuade one that it won’t happen. IT is curious how they always do what the Germans want them to do – eg., for some time past, demanding that we stop the raids on Germany and send our bombers to Egypt. A little earlier we were to send our bombers to India. In each case the same move as was being demanded by the German “freedom” stations. A thing that strikes one also is the airy disdain with which all the pinks talk of our air raids on Germany – air raids make very little impression, etc., etc. And these are the people who squealed loudest during the blitz on London.

[1] Leslie Hore-Belisha was Secretary of State for War, 1937-40; an Independent M.P., 1942-45. Chamberlain appointed him Secretary for War in 1937, but dismissed him in 1940. Churchill did not give him a place in his government, and he remained out of office throughout the war. For his earlier career, see Events, 19.7.39, n. 1.