No Bother About Big Brother

  • Ian Williams
Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)


UK government files opened after 70 years revealed that the British security services spied on Orwell, leading to media banter about Big Brother. This chapter suggests, from the evidence of Orwell’s life and from the author’s own personal experience of being blacklisted, he would not have been too surprised. The reports also display the naivety of constabulary in the Special Branch who reported Orwell had “advanced communist views, and several of his Indian friends say they have often seen him at communist meetings,” adding “He dresses in a bohemian fashion both at his office and in his leisure hours.” The more sophisticated MI5 superior officer remonstrated with the police “It is evident from his recent writings—The Lion and the Unicorn—and his contribution to (Victor) Gollancz’s symposium The Betrayal Of The Left that he does not hold with the Communist Party nor they with him,” he noted, displaying uncommon literary and political acumen.


MI5 Special Branch Orwell Surveillance Gollancz The Betrayal Of The Left 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bard Center for Globalization and International AffairsManhattanUSA

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