How Close Are We Now To 1984?
In George Orwell’s dystopian novel, Winston Smith existed in a living hell and was was retrained by the state when he failed to conform. ‘1984’ was the book I studied for my ‘O’ Level English exam, so I thought I’d run a quick check on it to see what’s come to pass.
In Smith’s world a tiny percentage of the population controlled everyone else.
The richest 2% of our world own half the world’s wealth.
The 1984 government is bankrupt because the economy doesn’t work.
The modern capitalist system is failing globally.
Winston Smith was watched by cameras wherever he went.
London has more CCTV than anywhere else (except maybe Monaco).
In Smith’s world bad news was buried behind fake productivity figures.
Newspapers take their information from government press releases and spin.
Smith’s leisure time was controlled, with limited state choices of entertainment.
Sky and Hollywood; more choice of the same things.
Smith could not speak out freely in public.
Twitter and Facebook are monitored for ‘anti-social’ comments. This week a black woman in Hackney was arrested for saying she hates white people, caught on the bus CCTV.
Smith worked in a mind-numbingly repetitive job.
Hello? Bueller? Anyone?
In Smith’s world rich and poor were segregated.
Gerrymandering – the practice of moving the poor from rich areas – is back.
War is waged perpetually to increase profit.
Iraq tenders were launched in the early stages of the war.
Smith finally becomes a docile member of the party.
Big Brother leads to a sense of powerlessness.
Let’s not go there.
All other similarities received not gratefully but with a resigned air of depression.