1984 clock moves back to 23 June 1983

I set the time on my 1984 clock initially at 1st July 1983:


I think our recent referendum in the UK exposed a few of the nastier processes that were leading people to censor discussion of sensitive issues such as immigration, and the increasing contempt of some leaders for ordinary people. It also made many people more aware of the division caused by name-calling that fed self-censorship and I believe some learning from that will foster kinder future campaigns and more open discussion. People will have learned that name-calling and no-platforming areas of discussion is counterproductive. Freedom of speech is a little healthier today than a few days ago.

Brexit wasn’t about 1984 but the campaigning increased awareness in people of how leaders behave, the increased engagement in democracy, erosion of barriers to discussion and especially the potential consequences if you don’t bother to vote. Regardless of the outcome, which I think is wonderful in any case, it has increased resilience of the UK against the forces of 1984. It has also caused similar ripples in other countries that will bring increased awareness of dark forces.

In recognition of that, setting it back a week to not-entirely-coincidentally the day of the referendum seems appropriate.

The 1984 clock now shows 23 June 1983.

2 responses to “1984 clock moves back to 23 June 1983

  1. I hope you are right but very much think you have completely got it wrong. The Brexit vote is about “smallness.” It is about “ignorance.” Right after the results what were Britons asking Google? “What is the EU?” Ignorance makes for bad decisions. And Cameron has gambled away a most important association with Europe to appease a faction within his own party and UKIP that is not pluralistic, anti immigrant, and anti Europe. I always remember a line in “Shirley Valentine” where an English tourist remarks to his friends while visiting Greece, “the problem with Greece is too many Greeks.” That to me sums up the EU leave vote.


    • I think in any vote, very few people truly have thought through all the issues involved on either side. In something like this vote with so much uncertainty, everyone was ‘ignorant’ of the full consequences of either choice, but I accept that the level of ignorance varied to the extremes, with some not even understanding the difference between Europe and the EU. Close votes like this one are pretty random, since some people change sides for the most trivial of reasons.
      I profoundly disagree with the second part of your analysis. It was never about a faction in any party – that was merely a symptom of a very long and strong trend of increasing disaffection with the EU across the country and across parties, coupled to increased frustration with the real everyday consequences of extremely high immigration, and we saw that in the result that outside of London. ‘Faction’ is certainly not a proper way to describe representatives of a profound feeling of over half the population, bearing in mind that many who wanted to leave probably voted remain due to fear of the uncertainty, and sounds more like the condescending terms frequently used by the ‘elite’ to dismiss the views of the great unwashed masses whom they despised, and that ‘elite’ is exactly what this was about. People wanted the control of the country back from that condescending ‘elite’. The majority in almost all of England wanted to leave.
      It has never been about racism except for a small minority. The British are probably the least racist people on the planet – even when levels of racism were at their highest decades ago, the vast majority of Brits had no problems with immigrants. People from everywhere have been welcomed here, especially India, Pakistan and China, long before we started seeing EU immigration or the migrant crisis, and the only expectation of them is they they fit in. Recent problems are caused by overpopulation, severe stresses on infrastructure, public services, and in some cases such high concentrations of immigrants that locals felt their own cultures were being squeezed out. Islam presented a different problem once large communities started to isolate themselves rather than integrate.
      The outcome from this will be very positive for both the UK and other EU countries. Already the EU is doing the introspection they should have done before, and questioning whether the charge to a USE was appropriate, thinking that they ought to see how they can respond better to what people actually want. Everyone is waking up to the potential of a domino effect too, with the opportunity it presents to rebuild a Europe of separate sovereign countries with friendly relations to do trade and cooperate without forcing change that few want. Hardly anyone in Britain hates Europeans and the full expectation is that divorce will be followed by living as best friends, not enemies. Immigration will continue too, but we will choose people from all the world and all races according to ability instead of race, not have to reduce immigration of high calibre Indians to make space for low skilled Europeans.


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