Orwell Diaries 1938-1942


Lecturing last night at Morley College, Lambeth. Small hall, about 100 people, working-class intelligentsia (same sort of audience as Left Book Club branch [1]). During the questions afterwards, no less than 6 people asked “Does the lecturer think it was a great mistake to lift Theban from the Daily Worker” – reasons given, that the D.W’s loyalty is not reliable and it is a waste of paper. [Only one woman stood up for the D. W., evidently a Communist at whom one or two of the others expressed impatience (“oh, she’s always saying that”!)] This after a year during which there has been a ceaseless clamour for the lifting of the ban. One is constantly being thrown out in one’s calculations because one listens to the articulate minority and forgets the other 99 per cent. Cf. Munich, when the mass of people were almost certainly behind Chamberlain’s policy, though to read the New Statesman etc. you wouldn’t have thought so.

[1] The Left Book Club, founded by Victor Gollancz in 1936, still published a book a month on anti-Fascist or Socialist topics. Local group meetings had been revived in the middle of 1942, and some fifty branches were formed. The Road to Wigan Pier was published under its auspices.