Salutations to Julia at ten minutes hate, keeping calm and carrying on in Japan. Scanning the telescreens this morning, I read with dismay that we (The UN), principally the US, UK and France, are once again lobbing cruise missiles into Libya. The precise reasoning for ‘our’ involvement here and not in Bahrain or Yemen, for example, remains unclear.

What might George Orwell have thunk, I wondered?

When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial, atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them.

(From Politics and the English Language, George Orwell, 1946)

M. le Président

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