informationliberation - Britain's Own "Big Brother" Eyed Orwell
As evidence that the demonization of the left is nothing new, the release of government documents to the British public shows that author George Orwell was suspected of being a communist supporter despite his opposition to the Russian government under Stalin. Even his style of dress supposedly denoted to the police that he was leftist while English intelligence understood that such a vague description of the writer was quite incorrect and boasts of conservative british class-conscious bias. So really, the conservative vs. liberal discord we see is age-old hysteria on the part of the establishment to any dissent, left, right or centre. - The Angryindian
informationliberation - Britain's Own "Big Brother" Eyed Orwell LONDON — George Orwell's left-wing views and bohemian clothes led British police to label him a communist _ but the MI5 spy agency stepped in to correct that view, the writer's newly released security file reveals.
The secret file that MI5 kept on the author from 1929 until his death in 1950 is being declassified Tuesday by the National Archives. It reveals that in contrast to the fictional "Big Brother," the cruel and all-seeing secret police of Orwell's classic "1984," MI5 took a surprisingly benign view of the writer. Orwell savaged the totalitarianism of Stalin's Russia in "Animal Farm" and "1984." But he was also a socialist who railed against inequality in earlier works such as "Down and Out in Paris and London" and "The Road to Wigan Pier."
The documents show Orwell _ whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair _ attracted the attention of police in 1936 for alleged "communist activities in Wigan." Then 33, he had gone to the mining town to research a book about working-class life in northern England. MI5 had already been watching Orwell since 1929, when he was a struggling journalist in Paris, attempting to write for left-wing publications.
In 1942, Orwell drew police interest again while working for the Indian service of the British Broadcasting Corp. A report by a sergeant named Ewing of Special Branch, the British police intelligence wing, said Orwell had "advanced communist views, and several of his Indian friends say they have often seen him at communist meetings." "He dresses in a bohemian fashion both at his office and in his leisure hours," police noted. The file shows that MI5 took no action against Orwell over Ewing's report. In a note, an MI5 officer named W. Ogilvie reveals that he phoned Special Branch to ask why Ewing had described Orwell as having "advanced Communist views."
A police inspector replied that the sergeant felt Orwell was an "unorthodox communist."
"I gathered that the good Sergeant was rather at a loss as to how he could describe this rather individual line," Ogilvie wrote. "It is evident from his recent writings ... that he does not hold with the Communist Party nor they with him," he added. The Special Branch files on Orwell were released by the archives in 2005. MI5's response had been secret until now. It was declassified as part of a phased release of MI5 files under the Freedom of Information Act, which was passed in 2005.