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Archive for August, 2009

1984: 2009

Last night I had an Orwell night at home. We watched Michael Radford’s Nineteen Eighty Four, followed by the cartoon version of Animal Farm, the 1954 version which is still so watchable.

I love being reminded of Orwell’s brilliance in predicting, with such simple clarity, the gradual descent into totalitarianism that we are experiencing in the world. I did not, however, expect to find that the details of Orwell’s 1984 that seemed just a little too fantastical, the elements which we like to believe were truly only possible in Orwell’s imagination, that would never be permitted to exist in the free, experessive and opinionated society we live in, to become a stark reality.

Yes, surveillance is catching up with us. In fact, it’s being smuggled under our radar unnoticed and installed in our homes before we have the chance to say ‘wait a min…’. Those all-seeing screens in 1984, that peered down from the wall 24 hours a day in the private home to make sure the individual conformed to the party’s vision of life, are at present operating in 2,000 homes in the UK. OK, so they don’t talk back yet, but CCTV is being used in the private sphere now in ‘Family Intervention Projects’ to keep ‘trouble children’ in line to do their homework and go to bed on time, and parents are expected to sign contracts promising to raise their children well enough to stay out of drugs and crime and perform well academically. The government will be able to ‘intervene’ (whatever that means) if they feel that parents aren’t fulfilling their contracts. The best bit? It’s costing £400 million pounds. That’s right… we’re paying for this enterprise ourselves.

Don’t believe me? It’s all here… and here… and here… but what worries me is that I haven’t yet found it in any national papers… why is this not being covered beyond independent news sights?

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