The Next One: we can all hope*

March 6, 2013

William Watson ran a column in the Ottawa Citizen this morning on Tom Flanagan and George Orwell.  He rattled eruditely along on the various Nineteen Eighty-four aspects of Flanagan’s self destruction until he ran out of space.  Watson is a smart man and a good writer, so why is he wasting everyone’s time on such a puerile topic?

The thing I like the least about the Harper era is how rational thought in Canada has degenerated to an interminable discussion of a novel which appears on most grade 11 English courses. Without doubt Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four is a fine read, but Harper’s crew seem content to have mastered the propaganda lessons of an out-of-date dystopian novel, rather like the way Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf congratulated himself on successfully re-fighting World War II in the first Persian Gulf war.


When other challenges present themselves, an economic downturn, for example, the Harper machine leaped into action with stimulus spending targetted at propaganda gains. The signs came first.

A foreign adventure in Libya seemed designed to glorify our air force prior to more F-35 posturing which ended up owing no more to fact than did the exploits of Winston Smith’s fictitious Comrade Ogilvie.

I hope we’ll need to look to a more sophisticated book to explain The Next One.

*Sorry about the format of this rant. I’ve tried to repair it all day, and it keeps falling apart in memory. Six times at least I have put clever touches into the piece, only to have it revert to the original draft. And of course I can’t underline a title without catastrophe in this buggy program.


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