This year’s Orwell Lecture will be delivered by the novelist Kamila Shamsie. She will be complaining, it is announced, about this government’s talk of citizenship being ‘a privilege and not a right’. (Actually, it is both.) No doubt she will have interesting points to make, but it is a pity that Orwell’s flame is always tended by the left.
There is a right-wing case for Orwell, or, to be more precise, an anti-left-wing case. Plenty of Orwell’s writing about England could make him a proto-Brexiteer, and it would be interesting to air this just now. His greatest satires were directed chiefly at communists, and he had a hearty dislike of the New Statesman. More than 50 years after his death, it was revealed that he had supplied the Attlee government with a secret list of people who should not work for its Information Research Department because they were Stalinists. One could describe the left’s monopoly of his memory as ‘Orwellian’.
This article is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator notes, available in this week’s magazine.