So when Joan Bakewell, a baroness and TV journalist, suggested that the BBC erect a statue of George Orwell outside its offices, a work commissioned by the George Orwell Memorial Trust, she was turned down flat, because the Beeb, that clearinghouse of every lefty trope, cliche, and fad, thought the author of 1984 too — wait for it — left wing.
“I met Mark Thompson at a BBC reception and mentioned the project. He said, ‘Oh no, Joan, we can’t possibly. It’s far too Left-wing an idea’,” she said.
Writing in today’s Daily Telegraph, Lady Bakewell said the BBC should “honour the greatest British journalist of his day” with a statue in the piazza outside the new Broadcasting House in Oxford Circus, central London.
A number of serving BBC journalists, including Andrew Marr and James Naughtie, have helped to raise more than £60,000 for it to be made.
Now Orwell was an atheist and a socialist, which you’d think would make him the poster boy for an outfit like the BBC. But in fact, when Orwell permanently stigmatized government-backed reportage, his Ministry of Truth, as propaganda of the most elastic kind, he had more than the old USSR in mind. In fact, Room 101, the torture chamber that elicits “heartfelt” loyalty, nay love, for Big Brother from dissidents real and imagined, was the name of a conference room at BBC headquarters.
Oh well. As the right-leaning Daily Mail argues: Orwell deserves better.