Orwell imagines a kind of impossibly cosy past — the past as a sort of farmhouse kitchen with hams hanging from the rafters, a smell of old dog. As a Socialist, he should have been wary of the past. Once you start to yearn for kindly policemen, clean air, noisy free speech in pubs, families sticking together, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, the fug of the old music hall, you end up by touching your forelock to the squire. … There’s a part of Orwell that fears the future. Even when it’s Socialist, progressive, just, egalitarian. He wants to oppose the past to it, as though the past were a real world of solid objects.