My favourite Old Etonian George Orwell seems to be everywhere : the excellent comedy series 'Room 101' and the human take an animal experimentation 'Big Brother'.
   CCTV cameras wherever you go and, as Edward Snowden demonstrated,
our internet exchanges intimately monitored by the Security Services of GB and USA.
   We hardly even question advertising any more ; the ultimate capitalist propaganda which tries to create a illusion of choice while promising eternal youth, life and the ability to attract the opposite sex with any manner of items from car to perfume. The only voices raised in dissent focus on whether ad's are PC about certain things.
   Piss-pot lager can be presented as elixir and it must work, because enough people drink the stuff.
   Poets I admired  (Roger McGough)  and one the greatest singer-songwriters (Bob Dylan)are all paid hefty sums for voice and music to plug total pap.
   If Tom Waits and Karine Polwart were to appear on ad's plugging Bourbon and Scotch I think I'd despair.
   What brought this on was a letter. Like many others at the recent Red Poets event at the Blast Furnace, Pontlottyn, I signed a letter of protest to be sent off to Caerffili Council against the proposed opencast mine at Nant Llesg near Rhymni.
   I received a prompt reply from the Regeneration and Planning Dept. (Orwell's Ministry of Truth writ small). For 'regeneration' read 'eco-vandalism' and for 'planning' read ' short-term gain'.
   The letter's full of newspeak, the word Orwell used in '1984' to describe the propagandist language which deals in opposites.
   The letter calls opencast 'surface mining' : this sounds like a delicate process and the exact antithesis of the huge hole (at least 60 metres deep) which will devastate the landscape, as it has at Ffos-y-fran near Merthyr. 6 million tonnes of coal will be extracted and this will last at least 25 years, yet there's no indication of the longevity.
   The word 'new'' is repeated five times in the opening paragraph, as though everything will be so much better. It refers to 'road improvement', but not to the massive increase in lorry traffic as a result, bringing consequent air pollution.
   The reclamation - carried out after many years of opencasting - is called 'aftercare', as if the land has long suffered some dreadful illness and only the multi-national company Miller Argent can bring the cure
   The most laughable example of newspeak is the bi-lingual slogan at the bottom of the letter -   '  A greener place / Man gwyrddach'.
  So, some 478.1 Ha of land will be excavated ( about 500 footie pitches) for coal to be used at coal-fired power stations like Aberthaw and, miraculously, the whole place will be greener!
  Perhaps the 'green' refers to the colour of people's faces with sickness, when they breathe in the dust and fumes? 
   More likely it refers to the colour of money which Miller Argent will use to 'bribe' the Council, as it has done in Merthyr
. Our once anti-opencast Council now call Ffos-y- fran 'reclamation' in similar newspeak.
   The letter's signed by the Development Control Manager , another contradiction.
   If he/she were genuinely controlling development then this scheme wouldn't proceed, instead we'd have investment in homes properly insulated
   and in sustainable energy sources not fossil fuels.
   The signature on the letter is indecipherable, but it could be that of Winston Smith.......this is where he ended up after the brainwashing!
   The answer 'lies with the proles' as Orwell said in '1984' ( an often forgotten socialist statement) and in this instance the local people.
   Orwell was a prophet who would years ago have warned us of the frightening consequences of climate change, I'm sure of that.

   From Tower to Ffos-y-fran he would, with his acute sense of smell, have sniffed impending doom in the wind.

                               EAU  D'ORWELL

'D'yew wan some 'Dream o Beckham'?'
'D'yew wan some 'Smell o Beyonce?'

I nearly asked for 'Smell of Beyonce',
just to confound gender stereotyping

from the tills of Savers in town;
mechanised as handed out receipts.

I was tempted to ask if they stocked
'Aroma of Baldrick', combo of dandruff,mud and gob!

Or, being a romantic, for 'Dream of Julie Christie',
a retro  Zhivago hint of fur and snow.

But no, I just chuckled inside and smelt poverty:
made on Wigan Pier, Eau d'Orwell.



02/23/2014 13:37

What an incredible post! I taught a Privacy and Security Poli Sci class last year (1984 was one of the literary book-ends, Brave New World the other), and had my students look out the window and count security cameras. We stopped at 13 - that we could see. As with mining, many energy projects are damaging to individuals and their communities, who don't receive benefits making up for the disproportionate burdens of space - I'm trying to cut through some of the corporate and government speech and explore community issues related to wind farm projects here in the States for my dissertation. This project was inspired by research I did for Plaid at the Senedd on peak oil. Anywho, sorry for the rant - your post reminded me of my deepest passions that drive my academic work. Thank you.


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