One of the most extraordinary things about England is that
there is almost no official censorship, and yet
nothing that is actually offensive to the governing class gets into print.

BRITISH PRESS CIRCUS DOGS

Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip,
but the really well-trained dog
is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.

AS I PLEASE, by George Orwell
Tribune, July 7, 1944

OrwellCollectedLetters CircusDogsPress

"...I see that Lord Winterton, writing in the Evening Standard, speaks of the 'remarkable reticence (by no means entirely imposed by rule or regulation) which Parliament and press alike have displayed in this war to avoid endangering national security' and adds that it has 'earned the admiration of the civilized world'.

It is not only in war-time that the British press observes this voluntary reticence. One of the most extraordinary things about England is that there is almost no official censorship, and yet nothing that is actually offensive to the governing class gets into print, at least in any place where large numbers of people are likely to read it. If it is 'not done' to mention something or other, it just doesn't get mentioned. The position is summed up in the lines by (I think) Hilaire Belloc:

You cannot hope to bribe or twist
Thank God! the British journalist.
But seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there's no occasion to.

No bribes, no threats, no penalties just a nod and a wink and the thing is done. A well-known example was the business of the Abdication. Weeks before the scandal officially broke, tens or hundreds of thousands of people had heard all about Mrs Simpson, and yet not a word got into the press, not even into the Daily Worker, although the American and European papers were having the time of their lives with the story. Yet I believe there was no definite official ban: just an official 'request' and a general agreement that to break the news prematurely 'would not do'. And I can think of other instances of good news stories failing to see the light although there would have been no penalty for printing them.

Nowadays this kind of veiled censorship even extends to books. The M.O.I.* does not, of course, dictate a party line or issue an index expurgatorius. It merely 'advises'. Publishers take manuscripts to the M.O.I. and the M.O.I. 'suggests' that this or that is undesirable, or premature, or 'would serve no good purpose'. And though there is no definite prohibition, no clear statement that this or that must not be printed, official policy is never flouted. Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip. And that is the state we have reached in this country thanks to three hundred years of living together without a civil war.

*MINISTRY OF INFORMATION (present day Senate House of University College of London and the model of the Ministry of Truth)

WAR WRITTEN BY WINNERS and ORWELL'S TRIBUNE WAR WRITINGS

Austria arrests British Holocaust denier (said Auschwitz gas chambers a hoax; Jews died from typhus not gas) & David Irving an acclaimed historian (accused of anti-semitism for saying Jews are enemies of free speech). CBC/BBC, Nov 23, 2005

HOLOCAUST DENIER DEPORTED

ORWELL'S PUBLISHING PROBLEMS

GULLIVER DISCOVERS HISTORY FALSIFIED (world misled by prostitute writers)

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
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