Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Extremist links of Jeremy Corbyn and his close associates

At the end of the Election campaign I grew increasingly baffled that some people seemed to have genuinely not heard or seen any of the evidence of the dubious connections and activities of Jeremy Corbyn and his close associates over the last 35 years. This is despite the documentation being massive and easily available. So I decided to make up a complete Timeline covering their activities, statements, etc. If I have missed anything that should be included please do let me know.

1976 - Andrew Murray, Corbyn's 2017 Election Co-ordinator, and close friend in 'Stop the War' and other left-wing campaign groups, joins the Communist Party of Great Britain, working for the 'Straight Left' faction that attacks the party for not being Pro-Soviet enough.
1979-1981 - Seumas Milne, appointed by Corbyn as his Communications Director in 2015 (chief spin Doctor), also works for 'Straight Left' while at Oxford .

1982 - The fascist Argentine military Junta invades the Falkland Islands to distract from their failing regime at home. Cllr Corbyn opposes a motion supporting British troops and attacks the British operation to liberate the islands with a conspiracy theory saying "The whole thing is a Tory plot to keep their money-making friends in business."

1983        - Jeremy Corbyn elected as MP.
                - Throughout the 1970s and 80s Corbyn supports the NI Republican movement and the hard left 'Troops Out' movement calling for immediate British military withdrawal from Northern Ireland.

*The Republican movement was the political wing of IRA terrorism and it was well known that its senior figures were fully aware and supportive of the IRA military campaign. Its aims were to force a British withdrawal from Northern Ireland through terrorism and violence against the wishes of the majority of its people. Beyond this the 'Troops Out' movement, a hard-left campaign, was an astonishingly stupid idea that would almost certainly have led to a complete break-down of law and order, open civil war between Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries, and vastly more deaths*

1984 - Diane Abbott, while a Cllr, endorses the IRA in an interview with pro-Republican journal 'Labour And Ireland': "Every defeat of the British state is a victory for all of us. A defeat in Northern Ireland would be a defeat indeed."
- After the IRA Brighton Bombing kills five and injures 31 people, London Labour Briefing, a hard-left journal that Corbyn regularly contributed to and sat on the editorial board for, publishes a letter stating "'What do you call four dead Tories? A start!' Next to a picture of Lord Tebbit, who was seriously hurt (and whose wife was crippled for life) it added: 'Try riding your bike now, Norman!'" It also writes that "“We refuse to parrot the ritual condemnation of ‘violence’" and states that "Britain only pays attention to Northern Ireland when it is bombed into it".
- Two weeks after the Brighton bombing Corbyn invites two IRA terrorists to the House of Commons, he is criticised heavily by the Labour Chief Whip.
- Irish Republican terrorists kill a total of 48 people this year.

1985 - Corbyn attacks Anglo-Irish agreement, key early plank of the Peace Process, saying it “strengthens rather than weakens the border between the six and the 26 counties, and those of us who wish to see a united Ireland oppose the agreement for that reason.”
- Irish Republican terrorists kill 48 people this year.

1986-1992 - Corbyn, at this time a well-known Republican partisan in parliament, attends seven annual Republican event to honour dead terrorists and active “soldiers of the IRA, with the slogan 'Force of arms is the only method capable of bringing about a free and united socialist Ireland'. In 1988 the event's programme states "in this, the conclusive phase in the war to rid Ireland of the scourge of British imperialism… force of arms is the only method capable of bringing this about.”, in 1991 parroting this language Corbyn attacks "British imperialism” and praised Bobby Sands, the IRA terrorist.
- At event to commemorate 8 IRA terrorists who died launching a bombing and shooting attack on Loughgall Police Station, Corbyn quoted saying "'I'm happy to commemorate all those who died fighting for an independent Ireland,"
- Corbyn arrested protesting outside the trial of Patrick Magee, convicted for murdering five people in the Brighton Bombing.
- Andrew Murray works for Sovet News Agency Novosti for over a year.
- Irish Republican terrorists kill a total of 40 people this year.

1987 - Diane Abbott elected as MP
         - IRA bomb a Remembrance Day service, killing eleven civilians. Corbyn and Abbott sign EDM declaring Britain "primarily" responsible for terrorist bombing due to its "longstanding occupation" and calling for immediate British abandonment of Northern Ireland.

1989 - The Morning Star, the communist Newspaper of which Corbyn is a contributor and regular reader, famously reports the fall of the Berlin Wall with the headline "GDR unveils reforms package" and quotes material supplied directly by East Germany's communist dictatorship.

1996 - Abbott makes racist statements arguing that "blond, blue-eyed" women should not be employed to provide medical care to black people.
       - IRA bombs Manchester injuring 200. Weeks later Corbyn tries to host the launch of Gerry Adams's autobiography in the Commons, which includes an account (allegedly fictional) of killing a British soldier, and which declares 'It might, or might not, be right to kill, but sometimes it is necessary.'

1997 - John McDonnell elected as MP

1998 - McDonnell attacks the Good Friday Agreement that ended the NI Troubles in the IRA's official newspaper, An Phoblacht saying "An assembly is not what people have laid down their lives for over thirty years…the settlement must be for a united Ireland."
  - The Omagh carBombing, carried out by the Real IRA, kills 29 people in a town centre, and injures over 200. Other Republican terrorists kill 9 other people this year.

1999 - Andrew Murray, long-term member of the pro-Soviet British Communist Party, writes defending Stalin in the Morning Star, the Communist newspaper for which Corbyn also writes. He finishes by saying, "against imperialists, we are all Stalinists".

*Stalin was the totalitarian dictator of the USSR from 1924-1953, he was incredibly ruthless, cold and treacherous. Over several years he built the most totaliarian, repressive regime the world has probably ever seen, betrayed and executed almost all his former colleagues and friends, murdered around 10 million people through shooting, death through forced Labour, mass deportations, deliberate famines, etc. His regime brutally repressed democracy across the whole of Eastern Europe for 40 years. His evil and deathtoll was only surpassed by Hitler.*

2000-2006 - Corbyn campaigns for release of pair of terrorist convicted of car-bombing the Israeli Embassy in 1996.

2000 - Corbyn opposes the 2000 Terrorism Act, introduced by the Labour government - gave a broad definition of terrorism for the first time. The Act also gave the police the power to detain terrorist suspects for up to seven days and created a list of proscribed terrorist organisations.

2001 - Abbott and Corbyn vote against proscribing al-Qaeda as a terrorist organisation. Also on the list was ETA, Tamil Tigers, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Salafist Group for Call and Combat, Harakat Mujahideen, etc. One of 30 occasions where they both opposed anti-terror legislation.
- Corbyn jointly founds the 'Stop the War Coalition' with others including Andrew Murray of the Communisty Party of Britain. He campaigns against NATO intervening in Afghanistan to bring down the Taliban regime and destroy Al Qaeda in the country after they killed 3,000 people in New York City.
- Corbyn votes against the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, passed by Labour after the September 11th attacks to counter terrorist threats to the UK.

2002 - The Al-Qaeda Bali bombing kills 202 people. Corbyn writes excusing the bombing. "The bomb was tragic, but it follows a history of great atrocity in Indonesia", "The CIA inspired a coup in Indonesia in 1968". *This is false, there was no coup in Indonesia in 1968, though there was a coup in 1965 that had nothing to do with the CIA.*
- Corbyn attends anti-Israel demo in Trafalgar square alongside hundreds of members of the proscribed terrorist organisation "Al Muhajiroun" members who chanted "Skud, Skud Israel" and "Gas, gas Tel Aviv", along with their support for bin Laden."
- Milne writes in the Guardian attacking a biography of Stalin, 'Koba the Dread' for being too extreme in its criticism of Stalin. He denounces attempts "to bracket Stalin and Hitler as twin monsters of the past century - Mao and Pol Pot are sometimes thrown in as an afterthought" and complains that it is "commonplace to equate communism and fascism as the two greatest evils of an unprecedentedly sanguinary era".

2003 - John McDonnell calls for IRA terrorists to be 'honoured', adding: 'It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table.'
- Andrew Murray, member of the Stalinist aligned Communist Party of Britain expresses his party's support for the totalitarian dictatorship of North Korea stating "Our Party has already made its basic position of solidarity with Peoples' Korea clear".
- Murray is appointed Chair of 'Stop the War'.
- Corbyn writes opposing action against North Korea: "The declaration of North Korea as some kind of threat is [...] a pretext for stepping up economic and military pressure on that country. [...] I suspect this will be used to weaken or destroy the North Korean economy to force some kind of integration between North and South Korea. Then we may see the spread of free market capitalism into North Korea.” He also blamed the West for the Cold War stating the Soviet Union was “no real threat” and was opposed because “the West has sought to politically attack socialist systems”.
         - Abbott sends her son to a £12,700 a year private school in Westminster. She had previously attacked Tony Blair and Harriet Harman for sending their children to selective state schools, saying (about Harman) "She made the Labour Party look as if we do one thing and say another." In 2010 she defended her decision by claiming "West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children" and argued that white colleagues "would never understand" because she came "from a culture where whatever you can do for your children you do."

*McDonnell's statement above is false. Britain offered a reasonable settlement in NI as early as 1973, in the Sunningdale Agreement. By 1985 Britain's enforcement of the Anglo-Irish agreement demonstrated that it was prepared to impose a reasonable solution over Loyalist objections. It was the IRA's choice to fight in an attempt to force the British out of NI through terror and violence, against the wishes of most of its population. Only when it became clear as the years wore on that the British would keep fighting back and could not be forced out did the IRA consider accepting a negotiated solution.*

2004 - McDonnell receives award for "unfailing political and personal support he has given to the republican community" from IRA terrorist who in 1973 bombed the Old Bailey, killing one and injuring almost 200.
- 'Stop the War', of which Corbyn is a leading figure, issues statement supporting the Iraqi “struggle” against British troops “by any means necessary".

*The Iraqi 'resistance' was made up of assorted Baathist fascists, Islamist extremists and criminal gangs, and was responsible for mass murder, kidnapping, torture and huge destruction of the nation's infrastructure, representing around 85% of those killed in Iraq from 2003-2014*

2005 - Corbyn becomes a regular columnist for the far-left Morning Star, the newspaper that officially supports the Communist Party of Britain and its political platform. From the 1940's to 1980s it was infamous for its support for Soviet dictatorship and oppression in Eastern Europe, including show trials of anti-Communist patriots, repression of pro-democratic protests in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, and for being directly funded by the Kremlin.

2005-2015 - Corbyn and Abbot help found the Venezuala Solidarity Campaign, still active today.  Corbyn is a strong supporter of Chavez's Venezuela, repeatedly praising it with statements such as "Chavez showed us that there is a different and a better way of doing things", and "It’s called socialism, it’s called social justice".

2009 - Corbyn invites Hamas and Hezbollah to the HoC saying "It will be my pleasure and honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. And I’ve also invited friends from Hamas to come and speak as well."
- Corbyn campaigns for Hamas to be removed from the list of terrorist organisations calling it "a big, big historical mistake" and calling Hamas an organisation for "social justice and political justice" in the Middle East.

*Hamas is a terrorist, anti-Semitic, extremist Islamist organisation that currently runs a brutal military, Islamist regime in Gaza. Its tactics include frequent use of torture, human shields, random bombing of civilians, and mass extra-judicial executions. It's fundamental charter includes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and refers approvingly to the anti-Semitic forgery the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'. Hezbollah is a similar terrorist organisation banned by the Arab League, United States, France, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, The EU, New Zealand, the UK, and Australia *

2009-2012 - Corbyn paid £20,000 for appearances on Press TV, the propaganda arm of the Iranian Islamist State, a channel banned in the UK for its part in filming and broadcasting the forced confession of an Iranian journalist who had been arrested and tortured. Corbyn last appears 6 months after OfCom withdraw their UK licence. The Iranian state is well-known for executing gay men, persecuting and imprisoning and torturing Christians, and violently suppressing opposition.

2009 - Seumas Milne writes in the Guardian defending the Stalinist Soviet Union and attacking any claim that Stalin's regime bore responsibility for World War 2. He attacked East European politicians for comparing Communism and Nazism as similar evils. He attacks Britain and France and claims they are far more responsible for WW2 than Stalin's Soviet Union.

*Stalin's regime concluded an Alliance with Nazi Germany in 1939, the famous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. This alliance divided eastern europe between the two dictatorships. Stalin jointly invaded Poland with Hitler and conquered the Baltic States. Hundreds of thousands of Poles and Balts were murdered by the Stalinist secret police by shooting or in the Gulag over the next two years, a preliminary to the supression of democracy and campaigns of murder that would engulf Eastern Europe after Soviet Victory in 1945, and keep East Europe under repressive, totalitarian regimes for over 40 years*

2010 - At a Labour Leadership GMB Union hustings McDonnell 'jokes' about murdering Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s.

2011 - Corbyn addresses Press TV, the Iranian propaganda channel, and calls the death of Bin Laden “an assassination attempt, and yet another tragedy upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy.”
- Corbyn becomes Chair of 'Stop the War', taking over from Andrew Murray of the CPB.
- Corbyn votes against the 'Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act' that was designed to replace Control Orders with more focused and targeted measures.

2012 - Abbott is criticised for racist statements on twitter - "White people love playing 'divide and rule' We should not play their game"

2013 - Corbyn writes on Twitter and Labour websites praising Hugo Chavez of Venezuala on the event of his death.
- Corbyn votes against the 'Justice and Security Act 2013', designed to allow private trial of a limited number of terrorist cases where public trial would endanger secret intelligence sources.

2014 - McDonnell 'jokes' about people wanting to murder a female MP, Esther McVey, at a Labour fundraising comedy event, Corbyn and Abbott are also there. He later calls her a "stain on humanity".
- Corbyn argues against "legal obstacles" for fighters returning from fighting with ISIL in Syria unless it can be judicially proved a crime has been committed, he argues we should not make “value judgments”, or take action against those who express support for terrorism - At this time it is well known that ISIL are committing genocide, slavery, mass rape, etc.
- Corbyn attends event in Tunisia to hear speeches from members of Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, both proscribed terrorist groups responsible for murdering civilians in Israel and Palestine, as well as Ramsey Clark, a genocide denier and vocal supporter of Slobodan Milosovic, Serbian dictator primarily responsible for genocide and war crimes in the Yugoslav wars of the early 90's.'
- 'Stop the War', of which Corbyn is Chairman, issues statement attackings efforts to save Yazidis and Christians on Mt Sinjar and on the Ninevah plains from genocide at the hands of ISIL, referring to "“a false story”, “largely mythical”, “a false story of a massive Yazidi crisis” and “a non-existent siege”.
- Corbyn calls for NATO to be shut down and claims "Nato is an engine for the delivery of oil to the oil companies". Later once Labour Leader he refuses to state that he would come to the aid of another NATO country under attack.
- Milne writes repeatedly in the Guardian defending the Russian invasion of Ukraine, attacking the Ukrainian government as fascists, and attacking western govts for provoking Russian aggression by expanding NATO in articles such as "Crimea is the fruit of Western Expansion". Needless to say these are all propaganda lines of the authoritarian, quasi-fascist Russian state.
- Venezuala enters Recession. As of 2017 it is still in continuing recession.

2015 - Corbyn becomes Leader of the Labour Party, appoints McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor, appoints Seumas Milne as chief spin doctor.
- Corbyn asked to condemn IRA murders can say only 'I condemn what was done by the British Army as well as the other sides.'
- 'Stop the War' the organisation Corbyn helped found, and had been chair of since 2011, issues article praising the "internationalism and solidarity" of ISIL, and compares them to anti-fascists fighting in Spanish Civil War.
- Corbyn calls the Communist newspaper 'The Morning Star', for which he is a contributer, “the most precious and only voice we have in the daily media”. He ceases being a contributor after becoming Labour Leader.
- Corbyn speaks out in support of Venezuala at an event held by the Venezuala Solidarity Campaign. Later this year he deletes articles supporting the Venezualan regime from his website as that country slides deeper into violence and recession.

2016 - Andrew Murray leaves the far-left Communist Party of Britain, joins Labour, and Corbyn appoints him as 'Election Co-ordinator' with responsibility for preparing the party for a potential future General Election.
  - The Morning Star, the Communist newspaper of which Corbyn is a regular contributor and reader, reports the Assad Regime's final reconquest of Aleppo with the headline "Final Liberation of Aleppo is in sight".
- Corbyn praises Fidel Castro on his death, commending his "heroism", and calling him "an internationalist and a champion of social justice." He sidesteps questions about Castro's decades of violent dictatorship, his oppression of democratic protests, his murder of political dissidents, and his ruinous economic policies that continue to impoverish Cuba. Corbyn has been active in support of the Cuban regime through the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in Britian since at least 2002.
- Venezuela increasingly falls into a socio-economic crisis caused by the Regime's hard-line Socialist policies. As of 2017 it is in deep recession, with soaring poverty rates, hyperinflation, and terrible shortages of many basic commodities including food. Over 70 protestors have been killed in recent months in large scale protests, and many opposition politicians arrested and jailed and, it has been claimed, tortured.


Sources
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4571924/Corbyn-s-30-years-talking-terrorists.html
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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Ascension Day - My Sermon

Last Thursday (and again last Sunday) Christians around the world celebrated Ascension Day, the anniversary of Jesus Christ ascending bodily into heaven, beyond all our physical universe, until he comes again in Glory.

My church in Wolston was so moved by this event it took leave of its senses/very generously trusted me to preach a sermon for the first time in church. Here it is in case anyone else might find it useful or inspiring. Feel free to steal liberally for your own sermon/talks/inspiration. The reading was Acts 1:6-14. 


"For a long time I have found the Ascension one of the most perplexing bits of the Bible. I think I've decided that is because the Ascension can be confusing, and it can feel like a loss. It can be confusing because, what does it mean that Jesus ascended into Heaven? On the most naive, physical interpretation he rose into the sky and then vanished. That makes it sound a bit Star Trek. But, what is important is not how it physically happened, it is one of the great and otherworldly miracles of God - a True Mystery,  that we can never fully understand with our limited, mortal perspective. And like all miracles its true importance is spiritual. We must understand why it happened, and what it means for our deepest spiritual life, our hearts and our souls.

Anyway, Jesus isn't described shooting upward and away like a rocket taking off, he rises above them, before being enveloped by a Cloud, and disappearing entirely from this world. At many times in the Bible God is described as being manifest in the world as in a great cloud, at the same time vast and powerful but hidden - when God descended on Mount Sinai to speak with Moses and the Israelites face-to-face, at the Transfiguration when the Father directly claimed Jesus as his Son, and more. A fine way for God's glory to be revealed, in part, to Man in a way our minds can at least begin to understand.

But Heaven is not physically above us, Heaven, like God, is in every direction and no direction. It is all around us and it is nowhere in this physical world. It lies in a totally different dimension, reached along a totally different axis to any in our material universe. It is a spiritual direction and axis that lies entirely beyond physical description. And straightaway the angels redirect the disciples' view back to earth.

And we know it is true, because there is no place where Jesus's body rests on earth. There is a tomb, but it is empty. You can go and see it in Jerusalem, there's no body there. We know where Muhammed's body lies, it's in Mecca, we know where Buddha's body lies, it's in India, we know where Marx and Lenin's bodies are, in London and Moscow. But though we know where Jesus was born, and we know where he was killed, and we know where he was buried, his body is not there anymore, it is risen, and it is ascended into Heaven.  

And the Ascension can feel like a loss as well, for that very reason, because how clear things would be if Jesus had never left, if he was still here in the flesh to lead us. We wouldn't have to make difficult decisions about priorities and strategies and plans. We could just follow, like sheep after their shepherd, knowing he would lead us the right way.

What a weight off our shoulders that would be!

It would be too easy though. We would never truly grow and take responsibility for ourselves and for the whole world, to fulfill our potential and become the free people Jesus wanted us to be. And with Jesus here in physical person he could never be with as many people as he needed to be, as he could be in the Spirit, as deserved to have Christ as a real presence in their lives. In his ministry on this Earth only a lucky few, such a lucky few, could sit and eat with him, could stand and hear him, could see him face to face.

But Jesus' ascension meant his ministry could become universal, as it must always be. It was not enough that Jesus could be with the disciples in the person. But he must be in heaven, and so able to be with us all, everywhere in the world at the same time through the Holy Spirit, where and when we need him.  With Stephen when he was being stoned evilly, with Paul on the road to Damascus, with us here in this building now, and at the same time with other Christians, and non-Christians, all around the world.

He had to ascend so he could take his throne and rule over all the world, and still be here with unlimited people through the Spirit. The Son was born as a human being, so he could be a brother and speak to us as a brother to his sister, as a friend to a friend. That is a personal and direct experience and relationship to God that no other method could replace. But through the Spirit, God does not only came next to us as a neighbour, but also lives in us and joins with our souls, filling us with grace and forgiveness so we can start afresh, with new opportunities, day after day. We should not mourn the departure of Jesus. We should be glad, because the departure of Jesus, means the coming of the Spirit, and the increase to Infinity of Jesus' capacity to be with not just a privileged few, in the right place, at the right time, but with all women and men and children across the whole world forever.

Christ's ascension was the last and essential part of his earthly ministry where God combined himself, united himself, with out material reality. In the words of the Prophet Isaiah, who lived five hundred years before Jesus, but still through God's grace saw Jesus' life, and described it in his Servant Songs like a man who was right there.

"He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of sorrows, who knew pain well.
Like a man people turn away from,
    he was hated, and we held him in contempt." and the prophet goes on. But now I want to focus on these words,

"He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground."

God Almighty, the Holy Lord, the One who holds the whole Universe with its spiralling galaxies in the palm of his hand; he, himself, grew up from our ground, like the tender shoots we have growing in our gardens. He grew from our world, and he grew into our world, eating our food, drinking our water, breathing our air, beneath a blue sky just like the one outside.

And so he joined our mundane world with God's infinite, holy being. And his whole life that holy power burst out of him touching and transforming the lives of people around him. People couldn't help but be seized by his personality, his integrity, his love, his insight and wisdom, that we benefit from still today. But that was just the beginning. Being united with a sinful world carries a terrible price, Christ came to bear the whole world within him, so just as the world suffers pain and death, Christ suffered pain and death, murdered by fearful, sinful men.

And when they killed him, Christ's enemies thought they were done, they thought they had won, and the problem they had was solved forever. How wrong could any person be? But as we so rightly celebrated this Easter he rose again, proving that sin and death will not have the final victory. Will never have the final victory.

Please excuse that slight divergence from the Ascension itself, but I think it's impossible to properly appreciate this wonderful event, without refreshing the incredible passage of Jesus' life and ministry. Jesus' conception and birth, was the essential, beautiful moment of bringing Almighty God, the Holy One of Israel, into our physical, material world, and thus blessing it, making it holy forever. Jesus' mortal growth, and life and ministry, was the deepening of God's infinite and eternal joining with our small and passing nature, and the spilling out of his love and wisdom to fill our minds and souls with the light of a better and more hopeful way. His death, the sad but inevitable consequence of taking on our sinful, painful, world. His resurrection the inevitable result of God's overflowing, neverending, inexhaustible power and love.

And finally his Ascension, the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake, the one thing that is left in this glorious story, to carry Christ's mortal body, the body which grew inside the young woman Mary from a single human cell; that fed at her breasts, that grew up and grew strong on bread and olives and cheese and meat, that was beaten and broken on Good Friday, and carried the wounds on his hands and his feet, and his side where the spear pierced him, but then had risen again!

That body that had carried our sin, and carried the pain of a human life with its scars and its suffering Ascended!

Ascended bodily into heaven and carried our  physical, mundane humanity to the glory of God the Father, heavenly and eternal, to sit on God's throne forever. Just as Christmas brought God down to grow up in the  earth in our human nature, so the Ascension carried our Humanity to be forever at the right hand of God the Father, to be glorified and worshipped by the Angels and the Saints for eternity. So a human being should be seated at the centre of everything that is and could possibly be, and so forever we have someone who knows and understands our weakness and our pain, because he has experienced it, and bears the scars still today.

And not just for this. Christ ascended into heaven bodily because he had already died and passed through resurrection, he could not die again, but he returned to our earth for a while to ensure the disciples knew and truly understood this glorious news, and to say goodbye for now to the people he loved, the goodbye he never had to time to say amid the confusion and terror of Good Friday. After this his ascension was the completion of the next stage of the Resurrection, but still, not its total and final completion.

For St Paul calls Christ's rising from the dead, and then his ascension into Heaven, the 'First Fruits' of the Resurrection. But First Fruits are only distinguished as the 'first' because there are second, and third, and fourth, and more and more until there is a complete and rolling harvest.

And we are that harvest!

Jesus said "I go and prepare a place for you", and that is what he is doing. As St Athanasius said, who helped write the Nicene Creed, the creed of the Church that unites Christians all round the world for the last 1700 years. As he said, "God became man, so man may become God". Not literally, in terms of his essence, there is only one God, this is no easy new-age trick, but in a very real sense nonetheless.

Through the Resurrection and then the Ascension Jesus' entirely human body is gone to sit on the very throne of God Almighty, creator and sustainer of all reality, at the very heart of all things; but not so Jesus himself could be there for his own sake, but to puncture a hole in the barrier of sin and darkness that separates us from the full and true presence and knowledge of God. So every one of us, and every person in the world as well, could have the chance to follow where he led, the chance for our humanity to be transformed into Glory, and leave behind fear and hatred and bitterness and envy, and all the evils that drag us down inside.

For Jesus the Resurrection and the Ascension happened close together, forty days apart, so the understanding of what was happening could be transmitted to the Apostles in human terms and from them through many generations to us. But for us it may actually happen as a much longer process, with more stages, but still truly all as part of the one same glorious "upward call of God in Christ".

What do I mean by that?

Well, for us resurrection begins not after our first bodily death, but, through Christ's grace, before it, as we first come to know and love and place our trust in Jesus; whether that happens as a child or an adult, all in one blinding flash of grace, or with a light that slowly grows from a tiny glimmer until it outshines the sun. That growing of God's love within us allows us to overcome fear and pain and guilt and grief, not all at once, but as time goes by and we discover and move deeper into love, not just our Love of God, but more importantly God's love for himself, and God's love for us, and God's love for the world.

That is how 'Man becomes God', as 'God became man', by joining in the stream of his love: never ending, never fading, never running out, through the Grace that is open to us thanks to Christ's descent to earth, and ascension again into Heaven. And you're never too young, and you're never too old, and there's a new chance each and every day to go deeper, and there's no bottom to that Well, it's as infinite as God himself, there is always just the chance for more and more riches of love and peace and joy and confidence.

And maybe you don't feel like any of those things right now. Maybe you feel angry, and hurt and sad, but that's alright. While we're still in this material world our resurrection and ascension can only be partial, there will still be ups and downs and griefs and pains, sometimes terrible. But still each and every new day there is the opportunity to be washed clean and hand our pain and grief and bitterness to God, and he will take them far away, so without that terrible weight we can dive even deeper into His love, that can bring us more and more peace. For we too, like Christ, must pass through mortal death before we can come to that complete and total ascension into God's glory and presence, and then we will be truly ascended, in harmony and at peace. But in this world it continues as well, and it isn't easy, but still it is powerful.    

How Powerful? Well, I remember Kevin, our vicar, saying once: 'I sometimes think, how must the disciples have felt coming down that hill after the Ascension and turning to each other and saying, 'Right, so what do we do now?'" And what a shower of reprobates they were! How many times did Jesus have to correct them and rebuke them, and still after three years they ran away on Good Friday, and still they didn't understand after the resurrection, but eventually when the Spirit came they did.

And after that history knows what they did. In their lifetime they took the Good News that God had come in our humanity, and he'd been killed, and he'd risen again and taken our humanity ascended into heaven, so the power of the Spirit came, so Men may be free of fear and guilt and hatred; and they took it from Rome in the West to India in the east, full of joy and hope, and founded a worldwide community that means we're here today, and they changed the whole world forever like nothing else. And if they can do it we can do it too! Through the power of the same Holy Spirit and with the presence of the same Ascended Lord Jesus Christ among us all.

Amen."            

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Dream of the Rood

The latest in my occasional series of Great Poems I love, and in honour of Easter, albeit a bit late, this is 'The Dream of the Rood'. It's a beautiful, epic poem, well over a thousand years old, originally written in Old English by an Anglo-Saxon monk sometime between the 8th-10th Centuries. It is in the characteristic style of Old English epic poems, with the extensive use of alliteration on lines with two stressed halves, rather than the rhyme used in modern English to achieve the poetic flow of the writing.

Rood was the Old and Middle English word meaning a wooden stake or cross, but The Rood was always the One True Cross on which Christ was crucified. In this poem the Cross itself appears in a dream and tells of Christ's death and resurrection.

The poem is a fascinating mix of both Christian (originally Hebrew and Greek) values and aesthetic with its spiritual but fundamentally optimistic focus and the Germanic and Scandinavian heroic, epic (originally pagan) tradition that was though, essentially pessimistic about the world and its future. Christ is a strong, powerful young Lord, who leaps eagerly onto the Cross to do battle with Death and the Devil in the crucifixion. The disciples are his thanes, the men who had sworn themselves to their lord and would accompany him into battle. The Cross itself is a loyal retainer, fearful what it must do in the Battle but knowing it must hold its courage and do the duty its Lord has embraced.

People sometimes say that Chaucer (14th Century) is 'the Father of English Literature', but this is complete rubbish. A proud, creative English literary tradition of epic poetry, both religious and secular, history, songs, spirituality, law, etc, goes right back into the darkest Anglo-Saxon times of the so-called 'Dark Ages'. The past only seems so 'dark' because we have lost or forgotten about the traditions, festivals, songs, stories, poetry, and factual and fictional prose that were widespread at the time.

Travel back with me a thousand years and more, to here the story, through Old English hearts, of those events another thousand years and more ago. . .

"Listen! I will speak of the sweetest dream,
which came to me in the middle of the night,
when speech-bearers slept in their rest.
It seemed that I saw a most wondrous tree
raised on high, circled round with light,
the brightest of beams. All that beacon
was covered in gold; gems stood
fair at the earth’s corners, and five there were
up on the cross-beam. All creation, eternally fair,
beheld the Lord’s messenger there; that was no shameful lynching tree,
but holy spirits beheld him there,
men over the earth and all this glorious creation.
Wondrous was the victory-tree, and I was fouled by sins,
wounded with guilt; I saw the tree of glory
honored in garments, shining with joys,
bedecked with gold; gems had
covered worthily the Creator’s tree.
And yet beneath that gold I began to see
an old wretched struggle, when it first began
to bleed on the right side. I was all beset with sorrows,
fearful for that fair vision; I saw that eager beacon
change garments and colors – now it was drenched,
stained with blood, now bedecked with treasure.
 And yet, lying there a long while,
I beheld in sorrow the Savior’s tree,
until I heard it utter a sound;
that best of woods began to speak words:
“It was so long ago – I remember it still —
that I was felled from the forest’s edge,
ripped up from my roots.
Strong enemies seized me there,
made me their spectacle, made me bear their criminals;
they bore me on their shoulders and then set me on a hill,
 enemies enough fixed me fast. Then I saw the Lord of mankind
hasten eagerly, when he wanted to ascend onto me.
There I dared not bow down or break,
against the Lord’s word, when I saw
the ends of the earth tremble. Easily I might
have felled all those enemies, and yet I stood fast.
Then the young hero made ready — that was God almighty —
strong and resolute; he ascended on the high gallows,
brave in the sight of many, when he wanted to ransom mankind.
I trembled when he embraced me, but I dared not bow to the ground,
or fall to the earth’s corners – I had to stand fast.
I was reared as a cross: I raised up the mighty King,
the Lord of heaven; I dared not lie down.
They drove dark nails through me; the scars are still visible,
open wounds of hate; I dared not harm any of them.
They mocked us both together; I was all drenched with blood
flowing from that man’s side after he had sent forth his spirit.
 Much have I endured on that hill of hostile fates:
I saw the God of hosts cruelly stretched out. Darkness had covered
with its clouds the Ruler’s corpse,
that shining radiance. Shadows spread
grey under the clouds; all creation wept,
mourned the King’s fall: Christ on the cross.
And yet from afar eager ones came
to that noble one; I watched it all.
I was all beset with sorrow, yet I sank into their hands,
humbly, eagerly. There they took almighty God,
 lifted him from his heavy torment; the warriors then left me
standing drenched in blood, all shot through with arrows.
They laid him down, bone-weary, and stood by his body’s head;
they watched the Lord of heaven there, who rested a while,
weary from his mighty battle. They began to build a tomb for him
in the sight of his slayer; they carved it from bright stone,
and set within the Lord of victories. They began to sing a dirge for him,
wretched at evening, when they wished to travel hence,
weary, from the glorious Lord – he rested there with little company.
And as we stood there, weeping, a long while
fixed in our station, the song ascended
from those warriors. The corpse grew cold,
the fair life-house. Then they began to fell us
all to the earth – a terrible fate!
They threw us in a deep pit, yet the Lord’s thanes,
friends sought me out … adorned me with gold and silver.
Now you might hear, my dear hero,
that I have endured the work of evil-doers,
harsh sorrows. Now the time has come
that far and wide they will honor me,
men over the earth and all this glorious creation,
and pray to this sign. On me the Son of God
suffered for a time; and so, glorious now
I rise up under the heavens, and am able to heal
each of those who is in awe of me.
Once I was made into the worst of torments, most hateful to all people,
before I opened the true way of life for speech-bearers.
Listen! the King of glory, Guardian of heaven’s kingdom
honoured me over all the trees of the forest,
just as he has also, almighty God,
honoured his mother, Mary herself,
above all womankind for the sake of all men.
 Now I bid you, my beloved hero,
that you reveal this vision to men,
tell them in words that it is the tree of glory
on which almighty God suffered for mankind’s many sins
and Adam’s ancient deeds.
Death He tasted there, yet the Lord rose again
with his great might to help mankind.
He ascended into heaven. He will come again
to this middle-earth to seek mankind.
on doomsday, almighty God,
the Lord himself and his angels with him,
and he will judge — he has the power of judgment —
each one of them as they have earned
beforehand here in this loaned life.
No one there may be unafraid
at the words which the Ruler will speak:
he will ask before the multitude where the man might be
who for the Lord’s name would taste bitter death,
as he has done on that tree.
But they will tremble, and little think
what they might even begin to say to Christ.
But no one there need be very afraid
who has borne in his breast the best of beacons;
but through the cross we shall seek the kingdom,
every soul from this earthly way,
whoever thinks to rest with the Ruler.”
 Then I prayed to the tree with a happy heart,
eagerly, there where I was alone with little company.
My spirit longed for the journey forth; it has felt
so much of longing. It is now my life’s hope
that I might seek the tree of victory
alone, more often than all men,
and honor it well. I wish for that
with all my heart, and my hope of protection
is fixed on the cross. I have few wealthy friends on earth;
but they all have gone forth,
fled from worldly joys and sought the King of glory; t
hey live now in heaven with the High Father,
and dwell in glory, and each day I look forward
to the time when the cross of the Lord,
on which I have looked while here on this earth,
will fetch me from this loaned life,
and bring me where there is great bliss,
joy in heaven, where the Lord’s host
is seated at the feast, with ceaseless bliss;
 and then set me where I might afterwards
dwell in glory, share joy
fully with the saints. May the Lord be my friend,
He who here on earth has suffered
on the hanging-tree for human sin;
He ransomed us and gave us life,
a heavenly home. Hope was renewed
with cheer and bliss for those who were burning there.
The Son was successful in that journey,
mighty and victorious, when he came with a multitude,
a great host of souls, into God’s kingdom,
the one Ruler almighty, the angels rejoicing
and all the saints already in heaven
dwelling in glory, when almighty God,
their Ruler, returned to his rightful home."


Author: Unknown
Source: the Exeter Book,
Translation: R. M. Liuzza.
Thanks to @ClerkOfOxford for making me aware of this epic poem.
Image borrowed with thanks from: http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth212/liturgical_objects/dream_of_the_rood.html

Friday, 14 April 2017

A Good Friday Reflection - 2017

After a long wait we finally enter Easter through Good Friday.  This is the most emotionally powerful day in the whole of the Christian calendar, the culmination of Jesus’ life and ministry, and the whole story of the Bible: the day they murdered my Lord, and everything changed.

I have often been struck by the simple beauty of the traditional English name for this day - Good Friday. How can it be good, they day they crucified my Lord? But it is right because it is a perfect example of how words can fail us, how the most profound and important of days cannot be properly described, do not need to be described. No more words could do better, so leave them aside. All the better to truly experience.

It was Good, Christ knew, when he prayed that the cup would pass, but he went forward anyway, knowing what must be done. That he would unite God with creation in its suffering, as he had in its birth, and its life. As creation suffers, he would suffer, because God bears creation within him, but through God's power transform and redeem it as well. Salvation comes through the Resurrection, through the bursting forth of God's power to overcome the old enemies: Sin, Death and the Devil, so that holy power could flow through our veins forevermore.

But without Good Friday there could be no Easter Sunday. So it is a good friday, but never have joy and sorrow been so mixed. For he was my friend, and my brother, even though he is my King. And they beat him and humiliated him, they tortured him and murdered him, and all alone, abandoned and forsaken by those whom he has loved, cherished and taught. Another unseen victim of casual brutality and oppression.

And his pain was not his pain alone, but the pain of the whole world forever, that God bears within him. So today is a good day to weep and to mourn. For the whole year round in suffering we must cling to hope, and the faith that evil never has the last word. But today we can give ourselves to grief for the whole world and its hurts and let it all out, for Syria, for Chechnya, for all the evil men and women do, and the suffering they cause to us and we cause to them.

But not forever, for now it's Friday, and time to weep, but Sunday is coming. . .



Friday, 24 March 2017

George Orwell - "Notes on Nationalism"

These days everyone is talking about Nationalism. Whether it's Scottish Nationalism, Donald Trump's Nationalism, or European nationalism, nationalism seems to be everywhere around us. That has reminded me of this brilliant essay by George Orwell, who lived at a time when, whatever problems we have today, nationalism was a much more powerful and dangerous force. In it he skilfully dissects why nationalism is a problem, as a mental approach and emotional contagion. He makes various points often mistaken in our contemporary approach, about the difference between nationalism and patriotism, about the universal risk of nationalism, that 'nationalism' can apply to entities other than nations (in the strict sense), that one can have 'negative nationalism' as much as positive, and that the struggle against nationalism is an individual moral, spiritual, intellectual and linguistic struggle as well as a matter of political choice. It is also a brilliant piece of history, giving one a sense, at least from one perspective, of what it felt like to be facing out into the world as an Englishman in 1945.

Orwell's 'nationalism', in its generalised sense, bears a close relation to what a generalised notion of 'racism' would look like, if we used the term to also cover analogous stereotyping fallacies such as sexism, anti-semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, Christianophobia, homophobia, etc, etc. This is particularly in his formulation given in the first underlined sentence below. However, he then focuses on his second formulation given immediately after, which has a very different emphasis, and so I think more work is needed to complete an analogous identification of the form of ur-racism, such as people mean when they say Islamophobic attacks are racist, and which would unite a range of similar possible moral and intellectual stereotyping fallacies the way Orwell's 'nationalism' does in its overlapping area.  I hope to return to this in my own thought soon.

Finally, if you do accept Orwell's analysis then it becomes clear that in 2017 almost all our current, British, large-scale political arguments involve nationalism on both sides, generally the more, the more virulent the argument and fundamental the issue, as agreed rational facts dissolve into basic value and tribal commitments. Needless to say the Scottish Independence debate involves enough nationalism to drown us all in, though largely among its fiercer partisans, the majority of ordinary voters, inoculated by their comparative lack of interest in politics, whether formally nationalist or unionist, are probably still largely free of it. The EU question has also clearly become a nationalist issue for both sides, the more rabid Remainers seem to have developed this rapidly, largely since the referendum was called, joining the longer-term, more obvious nationalism of the Ukippy variety. There seems to be something about defeat, or being in the minority that promotes foaming at the mouth. The rise and fall of nationalisms is also obvious from Orwell's essay. Some of the types of nationalism he describes have basically vanished, others are still very much with us, and we could probably add modern types that have emerged since his essay was originally written. But enough from me, on to Orwell's own words.

Somewhere or other Byron makes use of the French word longeur, and remarks in passing that
though in England we happen not to have the word, we have the thing in considerable profusion. In the same way, there is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.
By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1). But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.
So long as it is applied merely to the more notorious and identifiable nationalist movements in Germany, Japan, and other countries, all this is obvious enough. Confronted with a phenomenon like Nazism, which we can observe from the outside, nearly all of us would say much the same things about it. But here I must repeat what I said above, that I am only using the word ‘nationalism’ for lack of a better. Nationalism, in the extended sense in which I am using the word, includes such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism. It does not necessarily mean loyalty to a government or a country, still less to one's own country, and it is not even strictly necessary that the units in which it deals should actually exist. To name a few obvious examples, Jewry, Islam, Christendom, the Proletariat and the White Race are all of them objects of passionate nationalistic feeling: but their existence can be seriously questioned, and there is no definition of any one of them that would be universally accepted.
It is also worth emphasising once again that nationalist feeling can be purely negative. There are, for example, Trotskyists who have become simply enemies of the U.S.S.R. without developing a corresponding loyalty to any other unit. When one grasps the implications of this, the nature of what I mean by nationalism becomes a good deal clearer. A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist — that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating — but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units, and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade. But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him. Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also — since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself — unshakeably certain of being in the right.
Now that I have given this lengthy definition, I think it will be admitted that the habit of mind I am talking about is widespread among the English intelligentsia, and more widespread there than among the mass of the people. For those who feel deeply about contemporary politics, certain topics have become so infected by considerations of prestige that a genuinely rational approach to them is almost impossible. Out of the hundreds of examples that one might choose, take this question: Which of the three great allies, the U.S.S.R., Britain and the USA, has contributed most to the defeat of Germany? In theory, it should be possible to give a reasoned and perhaps even a conclusive answer to this question. In practice, however, the necessary calculations cannot be made, because anyone likely to bother his head about such a question would inevitably see it in terms of competitive prestige. He would therefore start by deciding in favour of Russia, Britain or America as the case might be, and only after this would begin searching for arguments that seemed to support his case. And there are whole strings of kindred questions to which you can only get an honest answer from someone who is indifferent to the whole subject involved, and whose opinion on it is probably worthless in any case. Hence, partly, the remarkable failure in our time of political and military prediction. It is curious to reflect that out of al the ‘experts’ of all the schools, there was not a single one who was able to foresee so likely an event as the Russo-German Pact of 1939(2). And when news of the Pact broke, the most wildly divergent explanations were of it were given, and predictions were made which were falsified almost immediately, being based in nearly every case not on a study of probabilities but on a desire to make the U.S.S.R. seem good or bad, strong or weak. Political or military commentators, like astrologers, can survive almost any mistake, because their more devoted followers do not look to them for an appraisal of the facts but for the stimulation of nationalistic loyalties(3). And aesthetic judgements, especially literary judgements, are often corrupted in the same way as political ones. It would be difficult for an Indian Nationalist to enjoy reading Kipling or for a Conservative to see merit in Mayakovsky, and there is always a temptation to claim that any book whose tendency one disagrees with must be a bad book from a literary point of view. People of strongly nationalistic outlook often perform this sleight of hand without being conscious of dishonesty.
In England, if one simply considers the number of people involved, it is probable that the dominant form of nationalism is old-fashioned British jingoism. It is certain that this is still widespread, and much more so than most observers would have believed a dozen years ago. However, in this essay I am concerned chiefly with the reactions of the intelligentsia, among whom jingoism and even patriotism of the old kind are almost dead, though they now seem to be reviving among a minority. Among the intelligentsia, it hardly needs saying that the dominant form of nationalism is Communism — using this word in a very loose sense, to include not merely Communist Party members, but ‘fellow travellers’ and russophiles generally. A Communist, for my purpose here, is one who looks upon the U.S.S.R. as his Fatherland and feels it his duty t justify Russian policy and advance Russian interests at all costs. Obviously such people abound in England today, and their direct and indirect influence is very great. But many other forms of nationalism also flourish, and it is by noticing the points of resemblance between different and even seemingly opposed currents of thought that one can best get the matter into perspective.
Ten or twenty years ago, the form of nationalism most closely corresponding to Communism today was political Catholicism. Its most outstanding exponent — though he was perhaps an extreme case rather than a typical one — was G. K. Chesterton. Chesterton was a writer of considerable talent who whose to suppress both his sensibilities and his intellectual honesty in the cause of Roman Catholic propaganda. During the last twenty years or so of his life, his entire output was in reality an endless repetition of the same thing, under its laboured cleverness as simple and boring as ‘Great is Diana of the Ephesians.’ Every book that he wrote, every scrap of dialogue, had to demonstrate beyond the possibility of mistake the superiority of the Catholic over the Protestant or the pagan. But Chesterton was not content to think of this superiority as merely intellectual or spiritual: it had to be translated into terms of national prestige and military power, which entailed an ignorant idealisation of the Latin countries, especially France. Chesterton had not lived long in France, and his picture of it — as a land of Catholic peasants incessantly singing the Marseillaise over glasses of red wine — had about as much relation to reality as Chu Chin Chow has to everyday life in Baghdad. And with this went not only an enormous overestimation of French military power (both before and after 1914-18 he maintained that France, by itself, was stronger than Germany), but a silly and vulgar glorification of the actual process of war. Chesterton's battle poems, such as Lepanto or The Ballad of Saint Barbara, make The Charge of the Light Brigade read like a pacifist tract: they are perhaps the most tawdry bits of bombast to be found in our language. The interesting thing is that had the romantic rubbish which he habitually wrote about France and the French army been written by somebody else about Britain and the British army, he would have been the first to jeer. In home politics he was a Little Englander, a true hater of jingoism and imperialism, and according to his lights a true friend of democracy. Yet when he looked outwards into the international field, he could forsake his principles without even noticing he was doing so. Thus, his almost mystical belief in the virtues of democracy did not prevent him from admiring Mussolini. Mussolini had destroyed the representative government and the freedom of the press for which Chesterton had struggled so hard at home, but Mussolini was an Italian and had made Italy strong, and that settled the matter. Nor did Chesterton ever find a word to say about imperialism and the conquest of coloured races when they were practised by Italians or Frenchmen. His hold on reality, his literary taste, and even to some extent his moral sense, were dislocated as soon as his nationalistic loyalties were involved.
Obviously there are considerable resemblances between political Catholicism, as exemplified by Chesterton, and Communism. So there are between either of these and for instance Scottish nationalism, Zionism, Antisemitism or Trotskyism. It would be an oversimplification to say that all forms of nationalism are the same, even in their mental atmosphere, but there are certain rules that hold good in all cases. The following are the principal characteristics of nationalist thought:
Obsession. As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance. The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort. If the chosen unit is an actual country, such as Ireland or India, he will generally claim superiority for it not only in military power and political virtue, but in art, literature, sport, structure of the language, the physical beauty of the inhabitants, and perhaps even in climate, scenery and cooking. He will show great sensitiveness about such things as the correct display of flags, relative size of headlines and the order in which different countries are named(4). Nomenclature plays a very important part in nationalist thought. Countries which have won their independence or gone through a nationalist revolution usually change their names, and any country or other unit round which strong feelings revolve is likely to have several names, each of them carrying a different implication. The two sides of the Spanish Civil War had between them nine or ten names expressing different degrees of love and hatred. Some of these names (e. g. ‘Patriots’ for Franco-supporters, or ‘Loyalists’ for Government-supporters) were frankly question-begging, and there was no single one of the which the two rival factions could have agreed to use. All nationalists consider it a duty to spread their own language to the detriment of rival languages, and among English-speakers this struggle reappears in subtler forms as a struggle between dialects. Anglophobe-Americans will refuse to use a slang phrase if they know it to be of British origin, and the conflict between Latinizers and Germanizers often has nationalists motives behind it. Scottish nationalists insist on the superiority of Lowland Scots, and socialists whose nationalism takes the form of class hatred tirade against the B.B.C. accent and even the often gives the impression of being tinged by belief in symphatetic magic — a belief which probably comes out in the widespread custom of burning political enemies in effigy, or using pictures of them as targets in shooting galleries.
Instability. The intensity with which they are held does not prevent nationalist loyalties from being transferable. To begin with, as I have pointed out already, they can be and often are fastened up on some foreign country. One quite commonly finds that great national leaders, or the founders of nationalist movements, do not even belong to the country they have glorified. Sometimes they are outright foreigners, or more often they come from peripheral areas where nationality is doubtful. Examples are Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, de Valera, Disraeli, Poincare, Beaverbrook. The Pan-German movement was in part the creation of an Englishman, Houston Chamberlain. For the past fifty or a hundred years, transferred nationalism has been a common phenomenon among literary intellectuals. With Lafcadio Hearne the transference was to Japan, with Carlyle and many others of his time to Germany, and in our own age it is usually to Russia. But the peculiarly interesting fact is that re-transference is also possible. A country or other unit which has been worshipped for years may suddenly become detestable, and some other object of affection may take its place with almost no interval. In the first version of H. G. Wells's Outline of History, and others of his writings about that time, one finds the United States praised almost as extravagantly as Russia is praised by Communists today: yet within a few years this uncritical admiration had turned into hostility. The bigoted Communist who changes in a space of weeks, or even days, into an equally bigoted Trotskyist is a common spectacle. In continental Europe Fascist movements were largely recruited from among Communists, and the opposite process may well happen within the next few years. What remains constant in the nationalist is his state of mind: the object of his feelings is changeable, and may be imaginary.
But for an intellectual, transference has an important function which I have already mentioned shortly in connection with Chesterton. It makes it possible for him to be much more nationalistic — more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest — that he could ever be on behalf of his native country, or any unit of which he had real knowledge. When one sees the slavish or boastful rubbish that is written about Stalin, the Red Army, etc. by fairly intelligent and sensitive people, one realises that this is only possible because some kind of dislocation has taken place. In societies such as ours, it is unusual for anyone describable as an intellectual to feel a very deep attachment to his own country. Public opinion — that is, the section of public opinion of which he as an intellectual is aware — will not allow him to do so. Most of the people surrounding him are sceptical and disaffected, and he may adopt the same attitude from imitativeness or sheer cowardice: in that case he will have abandoned the form of nationalism that lies nearest to hand without getting any closer to a genuinely internationalist outlook. He still feels the need for a Fatherland, and it is natural to look for one somewhere abroad. Having found it, he can wallow unrestrainedly in exactly those emotions from which he believes that he has emancipated himself. God, the King, the Empire, the Union Jack — all the overthrown idols can reappear under different names, and because they are not recognised for what they are they can be worshipped with a good conscience. Transferred nationalism, like the use of scapegoats, is a way of attaining salvation without altering one's conduct.
Indifference to Reality. All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The Liberal News Chronicle published, as an example of shocking barbarity, photographs of Russians hanged by the Germans, and then a year or two later published with warm approval almost exactly similar photographs of Germans hanged by the Russians(5). It is the same with historical events. History is thought of largely in nationalist terms, and such things as the Inquisition, the tortures of the Star Chamber, the exploits of the English buccaneers (Sir Francis Drake, for instance, who was given to sinking Spanish prisoners alive), the Reign of Terror, the heroes of the Mutiny blowing hundreds of Indians from the guns, or Cromwell's soldiers slashing Irishwomen's faces with razors, become morally neutral or even meritorious when it is felt that they were done in the ‘right’ cause. If one looks back over the past quarter of a century, one finds that there was hardly a single year when atrocity stories were not being reported from some part of the world; and yet in not one single case were these atrocities — in Spain, Russia, China, Hungary, Mexico, Amritsar, Smyrna — believed in and disapproved of by the English intelligentsia as a whole. Whether such deeds were reprehensible, or even whether they happened, was always decided according to political predilection.
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia. Huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English russophiles. Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own antisemitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness. In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one's own mind.
Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered. He spends part of his time in a fantasy world in which things happen as they should — in which, for example, the Spanish Armada was a success or the Russian Revolution was crushed in 1918 — and he will transfer fragments of this world to the history books whenever possible. Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning. Events which it is felt ought not to have happened are left unmentioned and ultimately denied(6). In 1927 Chiang Kai Shek boiled hundreds of Communists alive, and yet within ten years he had become one of the heroes of the Left. The re-alignment of world politics had brought him into the anti-Fascist camp, and so it was felt that the boiling of the Communists ‘didn't count’, or perhaps had not happened. The primary aim of propaganda is, of course, to influence contemporary opinion, but those who rewrite history do probably believe with part of their minds that they are actually thrusting facts into the past. When one considers the elaborate forgeries that have been committed in order to show that Trotsky did not play a valuable part in the Russian civil war, it is difficult to feel that the people responsible are merely lying. More probably they feel that their own version was what happened in the sight of God, and that one is justified in rearranging the records accordingly.
Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder and harder to discover what is actually happening. There can often be a genuine doubt about the most enormous events. For example, it is impossible to calculate within millions, perhaps even tens of millions, the number of deaths caused by the present war. The calamities that are constantly being reported — battles, massacres, famines, revolutions — tend to inspire in the average person a feeling of unreality. One has no way of verifying the facts, one is not even fully certain that they have happened, and one is always presented with totally different interpretations from different sources. What were the rights and wrongs of the Warsaw rising of August 1944? Is it true about the German gas ovens in Poland? Who was really to blame for the Bengal famine? Probably the truth is discoverable, but the facts will be so dishonestly set forth in almost any newspaper that the ordinary reader can be forgiven either for swallowing lies or failing to form an opinion. The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied. Moreover, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to feel that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him. All nationalist controversy is at the debating-society level. It is always entirely inconclusive, since each contestant invariably believes himself to have won the victory. Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connection with the physical world.

I have examined as best as I can the mental habits which are common to all forms of nationalism. The next thing is to classify those forms, but obviously this cannot be done comprehensively. Nationalism is an enormous subject. The world is tormented by innumerable delusions and hatreds which cut across one another in an extremely complex way, and some of the most sinister of them have not yet impinged on the European consciousness. In this essay I am concerned with nationalism as it occurs among the English intelligentsia. In them, much more than in ordinary English people, it is unmixed with patriotism and therefore can be studied pure. Below are listed the varieties of nationalism now flourishing among English intellectuals, with such comments as seem to be needed. It is convenient to use three headings, Positive, Transferred, and Negative, though some varieties will fit into more than one category:

Positive Nationalism

(i) Neo-toryism. Exemplified by such people as Lord Elton, A. P. Herbert, G. M. Young, Professor Pickthorn, by the literature of the Tory Reform Committee, and by such magazines as the New English Review and the Nineteenth Century and After. The real motive force of neo-Toryism, giving it its nationalistic character and differentiating it from ordinary Conservatism, is the desire not to recognise that British power and influence have declined. Even those who are realistic enough to see that Britain's military position is not what it was, tend to claim that ‘English ideas’ (usually left undefined) must dominate the world. All neo-Tories are anti-Russian, but sometimes the main emphasis is anti-American. The significant thing is that this school of thought seems to be gaining ground among youngish intellectuals, sometimes ex-Communists, who have passed through the usual process of disillusionment and become disillusioned with that. The anglophobe who suddenly becomes violently pro-British is a fairly common figure. Writers who illustrate this tendency are F. A. Voigt, Malcolm Muggeridge, Evelyn Waugh, Hugh Kingsmill, and a psychologically similar development can be observed in T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, and various of their followers.
(ii) Celtic Nationalism. Welsh, Irish and Scottish nationalism have points of difference but are alike in their anti-English orientation. Members of all three movements have opposed the war while continuing to describe themselves as pro-Russian, and the lunatic fringe has even contrived to be simultaneously pro-Russian and pro-Nazi. But Celtic nationalism is not the same thing as anglophobia. Its motive force is a belief in the past and future greatness of the Celtic peoples, and it has a strong tinge of racialism. The Celt is supposed to be spiritually superior to the Saxon — simpler, more creative, less vulgar, less snobbish, etc. — but the usual power hunger is there under the surface. One symptom of it is the delusion that Eire, Scotland or even Wales could preserve its independence unaided and owes nothing to British protection. Among writers, good examples of this school of thought are Hugh McDiarmid and Sean O'Casey. No modern Irish writer, even of the stature of Yeats or Joyce, is completely free from traces of nationalism.
(iii) Zionism. This the unusual characteristics of a nationalist movement, but the American variant of it seems to be more violent and malignant than the British. I classify it under Direct and not Transferred nationalism because it flourishes almost exclusively among the Jews themselves. In England, for several rather incongruous reasons, the intelligentsia are mostly pro-Jew on the Palestine issue, but they do not feel strongly about it. All English people of goodwill are also pro-Jew in the sense of disapproving of Nazi persecution. But any actual nationalistic loyalty, or belief in the innate superiority of Jews, is hardly to be found among Gentiles.

Transferred Nationalism

(i) Communism.
(ii) Political Catholicism.
(iii) Colour Feeling. The old-style contemptuous attitude towards ‘natives’ has been much weakened in England, and various pseudo-scientific theories emphasising the superiority of the white race have been abandoned(7). Among the intelligentsia, colour feeling only occurs in the transposed form, that is, as a belief in the innate superiority of the coloured races. This is now increasingly common among English intellectuals, probably resulting more often from masochism and sexual frustration than from contact with the Oriental and Negro nationalist movements. Even among those who do not feel strongly on the colour question, snobbery and imitation have a powerful influence. Almost any English intellectual would be scandalised by the claim that the white races are superior to the coloured, whereas the opposite claim would seem to him unexceptionable even if he disagreed with it. Nationalistic attachment to the coloured races is usually mixed up with the belief that their sex lives are superior, and there is a large underground mythology about the sexual prowess of Negroes.
(iv) Class Feeling. Among upper-class and middle-class intellectuals, only in the transposed form — i. e. as a belief in the superiority of the proletariat. Here again, inside the intelligentsia, the pressure of public opinion is overwhelming. Nationalistic loyalty towards the proletariat, and most vicious theoretical hatred of the bourgeoisie, can and often do co-exist with ordinary snobbishness in everyday life.
(v) Pacifism. The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to the taking of life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. Moreover they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defence of western countries. The Russians, unlike the British, are not blamed for defending themselves by warlike means, and indeed all pacifist propaganda of this type avoids mention of Russia or China. It is not claimed, again, that the Indians should abjure violence in their struggle against the British. Pacifist literature abounds with equivocal remarks which, if they mean anything, appear to mean that statesmen of the type of Hitler are preferable to those of the type of Churchill, and that violence is perhaps excusable if it is violent enough. After the fall of France, the French pacifists, faced by a real choice which their English colleagues have not had to make, mostly went over to the Nazis, and in England there appears to have been some small overlap of membership between the Peace Pledge Union and the Blackshirts. Pacifist writers have written in praise of Carlyle, one of the intellectual fathers of Fascism. All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty. The mistake was made of pinning this emotion to Hitler, but it could easily be retransfered.

Negative Nationalism

(i) Anglophobia. Within the intelligentsia, a derisive and mildly hostile attitude towards Britain is more or less compulsory, but it is an unfaked emotion in many cases. During the war it was manifested in the defeatism of the intelligentsia, which persisted long after it had become clear that the Axis powers could not win. Many people were undisguisedly pleased when Singapore fell ore when the British were driven out of Greece, and there was a remarkable unwillingness to believe in good news, e.g. el Alamein, or the number of German planes shot down in the Battle of Britain. English left-wing intellectuals did not, of course, actually want the Germans or Japanese to win the war, but many of them could not help getting a certain kick out of seeing their own country humiliated, and wanted to feel that the final victory would be due to Russia, or perhaps America, and not to Britain. In foreign politics many intellectuals follow the principle that any faction backed by Britain must be in the wrong. As a result, ‘enlightened’ opinion is quite largely a mirror-image of Conservative policy. Anglophobia is always liable to reversal, hence that fairly common spectacle, the pacifist of one war who is a bellicist in the next.
(ii) Anti-Semitism. There is little evidence about this at present, because the Nazi persecutions have made it necessary for any thinking person to side with the Jews against their oppressors. Anyone educated enough to have heard the word ‘antisemitism’ claims as a matter of course to be free of it, and anti-Jewish remarks are carefully eliminated from all classes of literature. Actually antisemitism appears to be widespread, even among intellectuals, and the general conspiracy of silence probably helps exacerbate it. People of Left opinions are not immune to it, and their attitude is sometimes affected by the fact that Trotskyists and Anarchists tend to be Jews. But antisemitism comes more naturally to people of Conservative tendency, who suspect Jews of weakening national morale and diluting the national culture. Neo-Tories and political Catholics are always liable to succumb to antisemitism, at least intermittently.
(iii) Trotskyism. This word is used so loosely as to include Anarchists, democratic Socialists and even Liberals. I use it here to mean a doctrinaire Marxist whose main motive is hostility to the Stalin regime. Trotskyism can be better studied in obscure pamphlets or in papers like the Socialist Appeal than in the works of Trotsky himself, who was by no means a man of one idea. Although in some places, for instance in the United States, Trotskyism is able to attract a fairly large number of adherents and develop into an organised movement with a petty fuerher of its own, its inspiration is essentially negative. The Trotskyist is against Stalin just as the Communist is for him, and, like the majority of Communists, he wants not so much to alter the external world as to feel that the battle for prestige is going in his own favour. In each case there is the same obsessive fixation on a single subject, the same inability to form a genuinely rational opinion based on probabilities. The fact that Trotskyists are everywhere a persecuted minority, and that the accusation usually made against them, i. e. of collaborating with the Fascists, is obviously false, creates an impression that Trotskyism is intellectually and morally superior to Communism; but it is doubtful whether there is much difference. The most typical Trotskyists, in any case, are ex-Communists, and no one arrives at Trotskyism except via one of the left-wing movements. No Communist, unless tethered to his party by years of habit, is secure against a sudden lapse into Trotskyism. The opposite process does not seem to happen equally often, though there is no clear reason why it should not.

In the classification I have attempted above, it will seem that I have often exaggerated, oversimplified, made unwarranted assumptions and have left out of account the existence of ordinarily decent motives. This was inevitable, because in this essay I am trying to isolate and identify tendencies which exist in all our minds and pervert our thinking, without necessarily occurring in a pure state or operating continuously. It is important at this point to correct the over-simplified picture which I have been obliged to make. To begin with, one has no right to assume that everyone, or even every intellectual, is infected by nationalism. Secondly, nationalism can be intermittent and limited. An intelligent man may half-succumb to a belief which he knows to be absurd, and he may keep it out of his mind for long periods, only reverting to it in moments of anger or sentimentality, or when he is certain that no important issues are involved. Thirdly, a nationalistic creed may be adopted in good faith from non-nationalistic motives. Fourthly, several kinds of nationalism, even kinds that cancel out, can co-exist in the same person.
All the way through I have said, ‘the nationalist does this’ or ‘the nationalist does that’, using for purposes of illustration the extreme, barely sane type of nationalist who has no neutral areas in his mind and no interest in anything except the struggle for power. Actually such people are fairly common, but they are not worth the powder and shot. In real life Lord Elton, D. N. Pritt, Lady Houston, Ezra Pound, Lord Vanisttart, Father Coughlin and all the rest of their dreary tribe have to be fought against, but their intellectual deficiencies hardly need pointing out. Monomania is not interesting, and the fact that no nationalist of the more bigoted kind can write a book which still seems worth reading after a lapse of years has a certain deodorising effect. But when one has admitted that nationalism has not triumphed everywhere, that there are still peoples whose judgements are not at the mercy of their desires, the fact does remain that the pressing problems — India, Poland, Palestine, the Spanish civil war, the Moscow trials, the American Negroes, the Russo-German Pact or what have you — cannot be, or at least never are, discussed upon a reasonable level. The Eltons and Pritts and Coughlins, each of them simply an enormous mouth bellowing the same lie over and over again, are obviously extreme cases, but we deceive ourselves if we do not realise that we can all resemble them in unguarded moments. Let a certain note be struck, let this or that corn be trodden on — and it may be corn whose very existence has been unsuspected hitherto — and the most fair-minded and sweet-tempered person may suddenly be transformed into a vicious partisan, anxious only to ‘score’ over his adversary and indifferent as to how many lies he tells or how many logical errors he commits in doing so. When Lloyd George, who was an opponent of the Boer War, announced in the House of Commons that the British communiques, if one added them together, claimed the killing of more Boers than the whole Boer nation contained, it is recorded that Arthur Balfour rose to his feet and shouted ‘Cad!’ Very few people are proof against lapses of this type. The Negro snubbed by a white woman, the Englishman who hears England ignorantly criticised by an American, the Catholic apologist reminded of the Spanish Armada, will all react in much the same way. One prod to the nerve of nationalism, and the intellectual decencies can vanish, the past can be altered, and the plainest facts can be denied.
If one harbours anywhere in one's mind a nationalistic loyalty or hatred, certain facts, although in a sense known to be true, are inadmissible. Here are just a few examples. I list below five types of nationalist, and against each I append a fact which it is impossible for that type of nationalist to accept, even in his secret thoughts:
BRITISH TORY: Britain will come out of this war with reduced power and prestige.
COMMUNIST: If she had not been aided by Britain and America, Russia would have been defeated by Germany.
IRISH NATIONALIST: Eire can only remain independent because of British protection.
TROTSKYIST: The Stalin regime is accepted by the Russian masses.
PACIFIST: Those who ‘abjure’ violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.
All of these facts are grossly obvious if one's emotions do not happen to be involved: but to the kind of person named in each case they are also intolerable, and so they have to be denied, and false theories constructed upon their denial. I come back to the astonishing failure of military prediction in the present war. It is, I think, true to say that the intelligentsia have been more wrong about the progress of the war than the common people, and that they were more swayed by partisan feelings. The average intellectual of the Left believed, for instance, that the war was lost in 1940, that the Germans were bound to overrun Egypt in 1942, that the Japanese would never be driven out of the lands they had conquered, and that the Anglo-American bombing offensive was making no impression on Germany. He could believe these things because his hatred for the British ruling class forbade him to admit that British plans could succeed. There is no limit to the follies that can be swallowed if one is under the influence of feelings of this kind. I have heard it confidently stated, for instance, that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution. One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool. When Hitler invaded Russia, the officials of the MOI issued ‘as background’ a warning that Russia might be expected to collapse in six weeks. On the other hand the Communists regarded every phase of the war as a Russian victory, even when the Russians were driven back almost to the Caspian Sea and had lost several million prisoners. There is no need to multiply instances. The point is that as soon as fear, hatred, jealousy and power worship are involved, the sense of reality becomes unhinged. And, as I have pointed out already, the sense of right and wrong becomes unhinged also. There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when ‘our’ side commits it. Even if one does not deny that the crime has happened, even if one knows that it is exactly the same crime as one has condemned in some other case, even if one admits in an intellectual sense that it is unjustified — still one cannot feel that it is wrong. Loyalty is involved, and so pity ceases to function.
The reason for the rise and spread of nationalism is far too big a question to be raised here. It is enough to say that, in the forms in which it appears among English intellectuals, it is a distorted reflection of the frightful battles actually happening in the external world, and that its worst follies have been made possible by the breakdown of patriotism and religious belief. If one follows up this train of thought, one is in danger of being led into a species of Conservatism, or into political quietism. It can be plausibly argued, for instance — it is even possibly true — that patriotism is an inoculation against nationalism, that monarchy is a guard against dictatorship, and that organised religion is a guard against superstition. Or again, it can be argued that no unbiased outlook is possible, that all creeds and causes involve the same lies, follies, and barbarities; and this is often advanced as a reason for keeping out of politics altogether. I do not accept this argument, if only because in the modern world no one describable as an intellectual can keep out of politics in the sense of not caring about them. I think one must engage in politics — using the word in a wide sense — and that one must have preferences: that is, one must recognise that some causes are objectively better than others, even if they are advanced by equally bad means. As for the nationalistic loves and hatreds that I have spoken of, they are part of the make-up of most of us, whether we like it or not. Whether it is possible to get rid of them I do not know, but I do believe that it is possible to struggle against them, and that this is essentially a moral effort. It is a question first of all of discovering what one really is, what one's own feelings really are, and then of making allowance for the inevitable bias. If you hate and fear Russia, if you are jealous of the wealth and power of America, if you despise Jews, if you have a sentiment of inferiority towards the British ruling class, you cannot get rid of those feelings simply by taking thought. But you can at least recognise that you have them, and prevent them from contaminating your mental processes. The emotional urges which are inescapable, and are perhaps even necessary to political action, should be able to exist side by side with an acceptance of reality. But this, I repeat, needs a moral effort, and contemporary English literature, so far as it is alive at all to the major issues of our time, shows how few of us are prepared to make it.
1945
_____
1) Nations, and even vaguer entities such as Catholic Church or the proleteriat, are commonly thought of as individuals and often referred to as ‘she’. Patently absurd remarks such as ‘Germany is naturally treacherous’ are to be found in any newspaper one opens and reckless generalization about national character (‘The Spaniard is a natural aristocrat’ or ‘Every Englishman is a hypocrite’) are uttered by almost everyone. Intermittently these generalizations are seen to be unfounded, but the habit of making them persists, and people of professedly international outlook, e.g., Tolstoy or Bernard Shaw, are often guilty of them. [back]
2) A few writers of conservative tendency, such as Peter Drucker, foretold an agreement between Germany and Russia, but they expected an actual alliance or amalgamation which would be permanent. No Marxist or other left-wing writer, of whatever colour, came anywhere near foretelling the Pact. [back]
3) The military commentators of the popular press can mostly be classified as pro-Russian or anti-Russianm pro-blimp or anti-blimp. Such errors as believing the Mrginot Line impregnable, or predicting that Russia would conquer Germany in three months, have failed to shake their reputation, because they were always saying what their own particular audience wanted to hear. The two military critics most favoured by the intelligentsia are Captain Liddell Hart and Major-General Fuller, the first of whom teachs that the defence is stronger that the attack, and the second that the attack is stronger that the defence. This contradiction has not prevented both of them from being accepted as authorities by the sme public. The secret reason for their vogue in left-wing circles is that both of them are at odds with the War Office. [back]
4) Certain Americans have expressed dissatisfaction because ‘Anglo-American’ is the form of combination for these two words. It has been proposed to submite ‘Americo-British’.[back]
5) The News Chronicle advised its readers to visit the news film at which the entire execution could be witnessed, with close-ups. The Star published with seeming approval photographs of nearly naked female collaborationists being baited by the Paris mob. These photographs had a marked resemblance to the Nazi photographs of Jews being baited by the Berlin mob. [back]
6) En example is the Russo-German Pact, which is being effaced as quickly as possible from public memory. A Russian correspondent informs me that mention of the Pact is already being omitted from Russian year-books which table recent political events. [back]
7) A good example is the sunstroke superstition. Until recently it was believed that the white races were much more liable to sunstroke that the coloured, and that a white man could not safely walk about in tropical sunshine without a pith helmet. There was no evidence whatever for this theory, but it served the purpose of accentuating the difference between ‘natives’ and Europeans. During the war the theory was quietly dropped and whole armies manoeuvred in the tropics without pith helmets. So long as the sunstroke superstition survived, English doctors in India appear to have believed in it as firmly as laymen. [back]
THE END
____BD____
George Orwell: ‘Notes on Nationalism’
First published: Polemic. — GB, London. — May 1945.
Reprinted:
— ‘England Your England and Other Essays’. — 1953.
Text copied with thanks from http://orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/ 
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