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November 4th 2008
A COPY OF ORWELL’S ‘NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR’ SENT TO EVERY MP
An Internet grass-roots campaign will this week deliver a copy of George Orwell’s prophetic novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ to every Member of Parliament.
The books will be inscribed with the words, ‘This book was a warning, not a blueprint’, and will arrive at Parliament on or before November 5th — a date of well known historical significance for that building.
Outraged by the continual attack upon civil liberties within our nation, a fortnight ago the Libertarian Party proposed reminding those in Westminster who they were elected to serve, and in whose interests the laws that they pass are meant to function.
Spread purely by word of mouth, a campaign to send each Member of Parliament their own copy of Orwell’s dystopian classic met with overwhelming support on the Internet, with many more books pledged than the 646 required to ensure that every one of our elected representatives receive a personal copy. The Libertarian Party contributed just 75 books itself, with the remainder coming (directly, or via campaign donations) from people of all political parties, and of none.
The UK Libertarian Party leader, Ian Parker-Joseph, explained, “As the people of Britain become ever more spied upon and ever more heavily taxed, as the government attempts to control how much we should smoke, eat and drink, as the state legislates to regulate ever more the minutiae of our lives, the Libertarian Party want to remind people that we have the power, and that our elected representatives work for us.
“The Libertarian Party would like the people of Britain to remember that the state is the servant of the people, and not our master. Moreover, we wish to remind those in Westminster of this fact.
“Many constituents of these MPs will be adding their own personal messages to the books that they are sending,” added Mr Parker-Joseph, “and it is a sad reflection of how far towards Orwell’s vision our country has already slipped that some members of the public have expressed fear at the potential consequences of simply sending their MP a 60 year old novel. One correspondent wrote to me:
I told my wife I was taking part in this campaign and her and the children’s answer was “don’t do it, you will get into trouble and have them after us”. I have been told on numerous occasions by my wife that you cannot win against the State so “why argue with them, why complain?”
She believes that you cannot fight against the Government or powers that be and that if you do you will be watched and eventually “they” will come and get you so it is best not to complain, make waves etc.
“What sort of society are we living in where people are so afraid of their government? Something is very, very wrong here” concluded Mr Parker-Joseph.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1) The Libertarian Party was founded on November 21st 2007 and officially launched on January 1st 2008. The party’s website can be found at: http://www.lpuk.org
2) Further details of the party’s policies can be found in our manifesto: http://www.lpuk.org/pages/manifesto.php
3) Libertarianism is a political philosophy based on support for individual liberty. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism
4) The Party’s blog regularly examines how the UK is slipping into the totalitarian vision portrayed by Orwell. See, for example, here:
Communications Director of the Libertarian Party, Chris Mounsey, may be contacted on [redacted]. Alternatively, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Source URL: http://lpuk.org/pages/posts/1984-campaign15.php
Every MP [in UK] to receive a copy of Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”
Stewart Cowan, 4/11/08
The Libertarian Party UK 1984 campaign is this week delivering a copy of George Orwell’s prophetic novel to every Member of Parliament. The books will be inscribed with the words, ‘This book was a warning, not a blueprint’ and will arrive at Parliament on or before November 5th – a date of well known historical significance for that building.
The UK Libertarian Party leader, Ian Parker-Joseph, explained, “As the people of Britain become ever more spied upon and ever more heavily taxed, as the government attempts to control how much we should smoke, eat and drink, as the state legislates to regulate ever more the minutiae of our lives, the Libertarian Party want to remind people that we have the power, and that our elected representatives work for us.”
The first MP to receive his copy was Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South and recently relieved of his ministerial position at the Department for Transport.
Mr Harris penned a blog entry entitled, “An Orwellian nightmare? Oh, wake up!” in which he accused those worried about the creeping power of the state in our everyday lives of being “strange” and “paranoid”.
Practically every one of the many commentators disagreed with Mr Harris and there were many eloquent replies, so his next blog entry was, “Poking that sleeping dog with a stick,” in which he states:
“Although I disagree with those who say we’re slipping towards a police state (just about everyone who commented on that post), I’m at least aware of the concerns that lead people to have such fears.”
This post attracted another deluge of comments and Mr Harris promised: “UPDATE at 7.40 pm: I’m in the process of drafting one final post on this subject, responding to more of the arguments made here today.”
I was getting excited. I reckoned that after 300 comments, almost all trying to convince the MP of our concerns, that he would concede that there were problems with civil liberties.
I hereby reproduce that entire promised post “responding to more of the arguments” that he had been “in the process of drafting.”
Wait for it:
“1984: my final word – I think we’re all going to have to agree to disagree on this one, don’t you think?”
Thank you, Mr Harris. Labour still listening, eh?
Some comments sounded threatening, which irked Mr Harris. Old Holborn chipped in with this:
“Again, I state, there are but 646 of you. Don’t you EVER forget it, because it wasn’t that long ago that we really did hang politicians. And Ceausescu moments will always happen.”
“And last but not least, people should not be afraid of their governments (and they are), governments should be afraid of their people (and you will be).”
“Just as you know where we live, we know where you live.”
To which Harris replied:
“How pompous can any individual actually get? So, are you threatening democratically-elected politicians with murder just because we don’t do what you and your small band of fanatics in the Libertarian Party want us to do?”
To be fair, hanging is a traditional reward for treason.
As for pomposity, to totally disregard the opinions of about 98% of the people who commented on his blog is really, really pompous.
There are millions of people who are no longer afraid, because when you have nothing more to lose, or are threatened with losing what little you have – the worm turns and politicians should start to worry as Old Holborn and others have warned, because Ceausescu moments will always happen.
Comments can be left on my blog.
Source URL: http://www.thelabourparty.org/1984-for-all-mps.htm
UK Libertarian Party
Welcome to the website of the Libertarian Party of the United Kingdom. We aim to take the cynicism out of British politics, by taking the politicians out of your everyday life.
Libertarians believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom from government—on all issues at all times. We don’t say government is too big in one area, but then in another area push for a law to force people to do what we want. We believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom from government—on all issues at all times.
UK Libertarian Party website (http://lpuk.org/):