‘The same propaganda tricks are to be found almost everywhere. It would take many pages of this paper merely to classify them, but here I draw attention to one very widespread controversial habit: disregard of an opponent’s motives. The key-word here is ‘objectively”. We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort, are “objectively” aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once.
In my opinion a few pacifists are inwardly pro-Nazi, and extremist left-wing parties will inevitably contain Fascist spies. The important thing is to discover which individuals are honest and which are not, and the usual blanket accusation merely makes this more difficult. The atmosphere of hatred in which controversy is conducted blinds people to considerations of this kind. To admit that an opponent might be both honest and intelligent is felt to be intolerable. It is more immediately satisfying to shout that he is a fool or a scoundrel, or both, than to find out what he is really like.’
These remarks remained aptly ensconced in the back of my mind as I flicked through the politics pages in the Herald, only to find similar rhetoric emanating from the Scottish Labour Party. While the headline ‘Labour election warning over SNP’ hardly smelled of news or novelty at all, below, we find that the Chief Election Programmer is installing insidious software on the empty hardrives of the Labour Student drones at
The particular anticipatory quote furnishing the headline, however, relates back to my sense of serendipity having encountered the Orwell quotation. ‘Votes for Alex Salmond’s SNP in May will strengthen David Cameron’s chances of becoming Prime Minister’, Alexander will conclude. Re-orientate that a snatch, and it can be more directly, more honestly expressed in parallel to Orwell’s formulation - the argument that voting SNP is objectively pro-Tory. This argument may be readily extended to encapsulate pretty much everyone – Liberal Democrats, Greens, Scottish Socialist Party, the Dungeons Death and Taxes Party. Of all of them, this sort of discourse must particularly rile the Liberal Democrats – speaking at a