“Announcing that the board of trade is about to remove the ban on turned-up trouser ends, a tailor’s advertisement hails this as ‘a first installment of the freedom for which we are fighting’. If we are really fighting for turned up trouser-ends, I should be inclined to be pro-Axis. Turn-ups have no function except to gather dust and no virtue except that when you clean them you occasionally find a six-pence there.” Geroge Orwell discussing the war aims in some detail in ‘As I please’ 4th February 1944.
‘As I please’ was the title George Orwell used for many of his articles whilst a contributor to the left-wing publication Tribune during the 1940s.
These articles covered a vast variety of topics from the defeat of fascism to the makings of a really good cup of tea, such was the eclecticism of Orwell’s writing.
At best they demonstrate Orwell’s supremacy in radical thought – by which he would have meant the facing of uncomfortable truths.
One of the best examples of this , if now rather shocking,is his defence of the bombing of German civilians. For Orwell, in meeting one’s war aims, it is better to kill a broad cross section of society – the old and the young, men and women – rather than to desimate the entire population of one group such as fighting age men. His arguement was that a society will recover more quickly form the former course of action than the latter. An unpalatable thought but probably true.
And I have decided to appropriate the title ‘As I please’ for a number of occasional trips off topic I intend to make this year. A kind of homage to Orwell.
The only rule will be that they attempt to offer a radical piece of thinking in an Orwellian tradition.
First up is a thought that the death penalty is the surest form of escape from punishment.