Courageous Restraint

‘What is important is not what the creator
of an idea of genius may mean, but what this idea
becomes in the mouth of whomever transmits it.’
Adolf Hitler


The BBC has allowed Will Self to go freerange on ‘A Point of View’ yet again…. a questionable deceit from the BBC which uses such platforms to push ideas it cannot openly endorse in its own right under the ‘impartial’ BBC brand.

Self has a go at undermining George Orwell, dismissing him as the ‘Supreme Mediocrity’.


As Orwell predicted:

Considerations of prestige made it desirable to preserve the memory of certain historical figures, while at the same time bringing their achievements into line with the philosophy of Ingsoc. Various writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Byron, Dickens, and some others were therefore in process of translation: when the task had been completed, their original writings, with all else that survived of the literature of the past, would be destroyed.


Orwell is despised for his popularity…a popularity, like Kipling’s, based on his plain, simple, common use of language that whilst conveying complicated messages is simple and clear for the reader, a popularity based on not being afraid to scorn and criticise those in power whilst standing up for the man in the street.

Orwell is more popular than Will Self could ever hope to be.  That is probably all the explanation you need to understand his attack on Orwell…but we’ll credit him, humour him, as genuinely having some intellectual concerns about Orwell as he seeks to consign him to Room 101.

Why might that be a good idea for a left leaning BBC?  Orwell, despite being a ‘lefty’ is more than happy to criticise the left and draw attention to its ‘Supreme nastiness’ reminding us that…..

England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution.


Self of course lives up to that ‘duty to snigger’ by having a pop at Orwell, thereby confirming, rather than undermining, Orwell’s insight.

Self’s attempt at undermining has shallow foundations, if that’s possible. He bases his whole extravagant, convoluted concoction on a single line, the meaning of which Self contrives to butcher until it fits his narrative.


“It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.”


Self declares that language is not constructed but a spontaneously evolving outburst of joyous communion that enables us to interact with other cultures and peoples as we merge and mix words and meanings from around the world to remake English into an multi-ethnic mashup no longer ‘owned’ by the English…but oh so much more expressive, beautiful and thrillingly alien than the staid clarity and correctness of proper grammar and spelling.

All tosh of course….spoken language has always been different to the written, and especially formal language used in official documents or speech….a formality necessary if all are to understand.


Self takes issue with that:

Orwell – it’s said by these disciples – established once and for all in this essay that anything worth saying in English can be set down with perfect clarity such that it’s comprehensible to all averagely intelligent English readers.

The only problem with this is that it’s not true….


Trouble is…it is true.

There needs to be a universal, official version of any language to enable all those diverse people to communicate…something the BBC doesn’t seem to understand.

The Arabs know it…spoken Arabic being considerably different across the Middle East and North Africa whilst written Arabic is the same and readable by all who can read Arabic.

Even in Britain ‘English’ has always varied enormously in words and dialect in various regions and towns.  Go to Bolton and you’d be hard pushed to follow what’s being said (and that’s the original natives not the ‘settlers’)…but their newspapers are the same as in London.

Orwell isn’t saying language doesn’t change  in the natural flow of events, what he is saying is that effort should be put into preventing those with vested interests intent on political intrigue from manipulating language to suit their own purposes and to reverse a decline in language that results in a loss of easy clarity and understanding.

Language of course does have a natural growth, but it is also shaped consciously by us for our own purposes….the Left being past masters at reinventing and redefining words and language to reinforce their politics…..’Gay’ for instance, or ‘people of restricted growth’, ‘Black’, and definitely not ‘Person of colour’, chairperson, the ‘religion of peace’, terrorist/freedom fighter etc etc etc

We could of course quote Orwell in support of that…. political language was generally intended:…

“to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”


But Self doesn’t agree….he likes the natural, organic growth of language as an explanation for change…

Well, in fact, as Noam Chomsky’s work on universal grammar established to the satisfaction of most (although the idea of a universal innate grammar goes all the back to Roger Bacon), language very much is a natural outgrowth of the human brain, which is hardwired for its acquisition and use.


That’ll be the Noam Chomsky who wrote ‘Manufacturing Consent‘, a book relaying the manipulative practises used to get us to do what ‘authority’ wants us to do, the Noam Chomsky who said this…

The right to lie in the service of power is guarded with considerable vigour and passion.

There is a complicated system of illusions and self deception that are the given framework for most discussion and debate. And if you don’t happen to take part in this system of illusions and self-deception, what you say is incomprehensible.

Here are some brief notes that lay out his thoughts on the subject of language and its misuse to enforce or encourage a certain line of thought…..

Politics and language…words can convey concepts beyond their meaning.  Words can be made to mean what you want them to mean.
Language can be misused to enforce ideology…war department/defence department.
Phrases can be used to block all thought and understanding, to indoctrinate and control thought…freeworld, national interest, free enterprise, mercenaries, terrorists, freedom fighters.

Well meaning intellectuals and opinion formers who get it wrong by creating a system of doctrines and beliefs that undermine independent thought.

Use of emotive language.
You can use language to shape, form and control our perceptions and understanding of reality….manufacture their consent…they think they are  telling you what to do but in fact you have manipulated their thoughts to align them with your own policies.  Public’s role is merely to ratify these decisions.

So yeah…Noam Chomsky…good choice to back up Self’s musings on the organic growth of language….not.


Here a university tries to control our thoughts and ‘eliminate the prejudices of a society’ by changing the language it uses:

The idea that ‘among the things that language perpetuates are the prejudices of the society in which it evolves’ is still central to our understanding.

In its responsibility for all members of the University community, the University aims to eliminate sexist and other discriminatory language from all University publications and discourage the use of such language in published and unpublished material and in the speech of its staff and students.



Here again is that use of language to control thought and perceptions in action:

The Power of Language to Create Culture
Culture change in nursing homes is incomplete without language change.

Learning from other fields, we have seen how words matter and can be sources of both good and harm. What a person is called creates expectations about their behavior and sets the limits on how much growth and individual identity is deemed possible by those who serve them. Our analysis of the traditional terms that have characterized speech in the aging services work place reveals culturally embedded ways of talking that infantilize, subordinate, marginalize and otherwise dishonor elders. We present many examples of changed vocabularies that reflect the values of some of the new cultures developed to combat these tendencies. These cultures reflect new assumptions about elders and their roles in society, and as such replace dehumanizing language with language that communicates honor, inclusion, partnership and equality of elders and those who serve them.


So it can be seen that Orwell was right….language can be created and manipulated deliberately and is not purely a natural ‘outgrowth of the human brain, which is hardwired for its acquisition and use’ as Self proposes.



Then we get to the paydirt, the real reason Self and the BBC try to twist the knife into Orwell…race and multi-culturalism….Orwell is dismissed as a racist little Englander harking back to a non-existent golden age……we must instead glory in the corruption of the English language inflicted upon us by those of different heritage….

The trouble for the George Orwells of this world is that they don’t like the ways in which our tongue is being shaped. In this respect they’re indeed small “c” conservatives, who would rather peer at meaning by the guttering candlelight of a Standard English frozen in time, than have it brightly illumined by the high-wattage of the living, changing language.

Orwell and his supporters may say they’re objecting to jargon and pretension, but underlying this are good old-fashioned prejudices against difference itself. Only homogenous groups of people all speak and write identically. People from different heritages, ethnicities, classes and regions speak the same language differently, duh!



Orwell’s answer to that might be:

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.


As the language changes your society changes.


Can’t say you weren’t warned by Orwell…..

“The Principles of Newspeak”

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of IngSoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression  to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.

Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispenses with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum. Newspeak was founded on the English language as we now know it, though many Newspeak sentences, even when not containing newly created words, would be barely intelligible to an English-speaker of our own day.




By coincidence, from the Telegraph today:

The self-loathing of the British Left is now a problem for us all

We cannot give in to despair. Instead we could listen again to George Orwell, who once said that, however silly or sentimental, English patriotism is “a comelier thing than the shallow self-righteousness of the left-wing intelligentsia”. Orwell wrote those words seventy years ago. It is time we paid attention, and turned the tide.






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36 Responses to Courageous Restraint

  1. dave s says:

    I heard some of Self’s lecture – purely by chance as it was on in the car.
    It was impossible to take seriously and it was broadcast, I suppose , to earn a few quid and annoy Self’s disliked conservatives.
    If ever a man sounds privileged and upper middle class it is him.
    It is the clarity of Orwell that he seems to so dislike.
    I assume he also dislikes the Authorised Version of the Bible, The American Declaration of Independence, the 1689 Bill of Rights, the writings of Cobbett and Paine, the Book of Common Prayer and all those clear and well written texts that have underpinned our civilisation for so long.
    Oscar Wilde- another writer who wrote clearly and simply but could convey the most complex ideas to any of us called the Selfs of this world those who have been made stupid by education.


    • ROBERT BROWN says:

      Lovely….” made stupid by education”…….priceless and deadly accurate….Self is nothing but a washed up, hangdog faced ex- heroin junkie, worthy of nothing but exile in a substance induced fantasy land….


      • chrisH says:

        Russell Brand, Will Self and Howard Maks…the Holy Trinity of the Creative Arts Commissariat there at the BBC.
        Hopefully if we all take their drugs and lifestyle, we`ll feel no pain-not even notice…when Medhi Hasan, Anjem Choudhury and George Galloway provide their thirty rials worth.
        Islam-Labour-Drugs-BBC-Savile and Sons….can you see what it is yet, gyzen gals(ululation…Savile was the first , let me say…or was it a bad Johnny Weismuller impression…worth a Late Review huh?)


    • chrisH says:

      Course they do…no wriggle room, no room for Cherie Blair or Ming Campbell to slither in their slurry.
      They HATE clarity…hence Bin Ladens death being a “source of international concern”


      • chrisH says:

        Have just listened to Self on IPlayer.
        Got to say that I`m impressed, that he provides a masterclass in Kulturkampf “logic”…such as it is.
        Self and his chums crave diversity…and hate conformity.
        It`s bipolar with no middle ground…they would rather sign the oldest Tory into a Dignitas clinic , that dare to think that-well actually, some principles, ideas and morals have served the normal white Englishman quite well for some time now.
        Islam rather frowns on “diversity”…but , under a veil; Self thinks that a Frys Turkish Delight is his for the taking…he`s that bitter about Orwell having an adjective of his own that warns us what Will and Yasmin have planned for us.
        Who`s going to tell Will that Islams conformity agenda and Cult of the Supreme Mediocrity is going to wipe him out earlier than the rest of us…but that`d be cool.
        Clearly “The Drugs Don`t Work”…and neither does Will Self.
        But at least he could not have been clearer about the Lefts bile, it`s willingness to throw its shit into the wind turbines and spray the rest of us in their virtue.


      • Peter B says:

        I wasn’t concerned by it. In fact the reaction of everyone around me when the news was announced was to give a loud cheer and applaud. Of course, I was at Camp Bastion at the time.


  2. The Beebinator says:

    BBC cleaner shows what Will Self’s dressing room look like after he had left



  3. graphene fedora says:

    Will Self can quote Chomsky until the cows come home, the reality is that when multiculturalism came too close to home he swiftly moved two of his sons from comprehensive education to private school; not a lot of Multicultural London English on the curriculum there, I’ll wager.
    When reality seeps into the brains of the well-heeled metropolitan ‘progressives’ they regress to their default position – privilege. The word ‘hypocrisy’ can never do them justice.
    As to his novel ‘Umbrella’, an acquaintance of mine attended Self’s book-signing event in Oxford; a very intelligent, articulate woman who, sadly, knows a great deal about mental illness & its treatment from hard experience. During questions she told him in no uncertain manner that his book was exploitative, inaccurate & sensationalist. Cue a shifty, surly expression from the man whose name is destined to outshine Orwell’s, in the Self household, anyway. Next question, please!


  4. chrisH says:

    Now which trumped up Poly of old is Selfie a Kulturkampf Lekturer at,these days?
    Think it`s Brunel…bit further from the normal Beeb-friendly agents of compliance like Wezzie Uni(Westmista!..wordUp!)…but Willies worth the bandwidth to swallow Chomskys Thesaurus, and shit pellets of Marx…more Howard than Karl, but , hey that`s what years of drugs do to you.
    Orwell saw Selfie trilling up on a spade in Animal Farm…a gothic popinjay smelling of old dope, and thinking that sniffing his students burkas once they`ve gone is “cultural championing”.
    Will Self..Will Gompertz…where`s there a Will, there`s a way onto the BBC…but Shakespeare can be kept for the prep schools, as the effete elite get “The Book of Moron”…or “Dave” as Will calls him.
    F888 the f*** Off BBC….Orwell wrote Animal Farm and warned us all of what you`d be doing to the language , given time…he worked at the BBC, and knew full well of the Communist suckups who wanted the nation wrapped up for Uncle Joe..only these days it`s Uncle Yusuf…a Rotherham School Guv`nor, I understand.


  5. AngusPangus says:

    To many on the Left, Orwell is the lowest of the low, being himself a leftie who had the audacity to criticise the Left. An apostate.

    So universally well-respected and resonant are his writings, that a new word was forged from his name: Orwellian. Will Self has little hope of similar recognition, unless perhaps by association with Selfishness.


    • John Bosworth says:

      Excellent post, Alan, but with respect I am forced to correct Angus Pangus. Surely Mr Self does have a word forged after him. Is he not the epitome of the narcissist’s weapon of choice – the selfie?


  6. JimS says:

    Shit shit shit.

    Self would love that; verb, adjective, noun, all in one meaningful, ‘vibrant’ Black American English sentence.


    • Mustapha Sheikup al-Beebi says:

      With my apologies to the defunct group ‘Ni##az With Attitude’, … … “FOCK DA BBC, MAN!”


  7. Banquosghost says:

    Others more verbose and informed than I can and do deconstruct and show the pitiable ramblings of Self and his colleagues of hatred, Yasmine, Polly etc.

    I simply want to say that Will Self is a grade A, 100% cockwit whose sixth form dribble should not given a national platform by the BBC.

    I await the riposte such as eloquently shown by Alan above to be given equal prominence by our never impartial TV tax collector.


  8. DB says:

    Orwell: “England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution.”

    Channel 4 anchor Jon Snow on Radio 4’s Making History, 12/08/2014 (12.35 in) :

    “What we’d really like to see in Europe – some of us – is the withering of the nation state and the development of the region… Can you imagine how difficult it is to be English? I don’t actually want to say that I’m English. I’m British. English is an uncomfortable concept to me.”


    • Banquosghost says:

      Then why doesn’t the weasel fuck off somewhere else to peddle his racial hatred of the English?

      Imagine if he had said this about, for example, being Scottish? He would be sued backwards by the deep fried lot.


      • DB says:

        And of course none of the other bien pensants called him out on it. The smug lefties in the audience sniggered, just as Orwell said.


    • dave s says:

      The proper English never ever consider saying rubbish like that. It would be beyond their comprehension.
      Why would anyone insult their nation and by implication their ancestors?
      Only the self hating intellectuals Orwell so disliked.
      The real English will never accept a statement like Snow’s.
      No wonder the left has been so keen to corrupt education and so keen to betray .
      To make our children as decadent and as rootless as they are.


    • jeff says:

      Hearing this ghastly, self loathing old lefty is English certainly embarrasses me!


  9. stuart says:

    there are alot ugly looking sneering self hatering white self superior liberal leftists like will self in this country,jon donnison is another example,the bbc loves them types,just loves them,i hate and despise them because they are the reason why we have terrorists threatening are country and muslim paedophiles ramapaging around grooming white schoochildren for is the likes of will self and his mates who will always excuse and appease the behavior of people who want to do harm and wreck are country, and boy are they doing a fine job at that at the moment,will self,just a ugly, misery guts, bellyaching.sleep inducing leftist bore.


  10. Rob in Cheshire says:

    Sounds like poor old Will is back on the skag.


  11. DB says:

    I see comments are closed on that Sean Thomas article, as they are for the one by Dan Hodges. Tom Chivers, one of the Telegraph’s increaaing number of lefties, is on comment duties today:

    The sad pathetic irony of a once great conservative newspaper giving a lefty the power to close comments on articles about lefties & political correctness because those comments are politically incorrect.


    • Guest Who says:

      It’s the airy ‘I couldn’t be bothered…’ claim that is so gloriously two-faced.

      He gets to play king for the day and can’t figure a better way to excuse turning into a tinpot dictator censor the moment things stray from his defined path?

      Cowardly? No. Just as predictably bent as a nine bob note once power has been clawed.


    • CaptainPeacock says:

      Good point. What the heck has happened to the Telegraph? Not the paper I once knew and loved. Fortunately, it is now behind a paywall.


      • Philip says:

        Surely Not. Do you mean the vanquished Murdoch Times? The Telegraph is still open online and quote worthy – I tend to use the RSS feeds like this:

        The Times has become cringingly pro establishment and that bloody ‘Paywall’ is self defeating but it does still employ often good guest writers and journalists (unlike the BBC).

        Incidentally that Will Self is married to Camella Canvendish (I think) who writes for the Times. Self is also friend of old Times cartoonist ‘Scarf’. Personally I think Will Self (I presume that is the one quoted above) is a self obsessed moron (I admit to buying one of his political socio-economic books predicting a hundred years on Conservatism) he is left of Milliband on a scale of 0-1 miserable as he is, insufferable bore.


    • JimS says:

      Dan Hodges said:
      “I don’t know why we have a specific problem of Muslim integration. I’m not sure anyone does. But I suspect one of the reasons is no one has really taken the time or effort to formally try and find out. And now we have to take time.”

      Maybe if he took the time to read the Koran or a bit of history he might find out. It isn’t a given that other cultures value freedom, democracy and free speech. [Hint: That is why those cultures are different and why multi-cultural integration is an oxymoron].


      • Ralph says:

        We’ve had immigration from cultures that are substantially different from the base British one without similar failures to integrate but only now has doing so become acceptable. We have to be multicultural rather than expecting those who come and live here to adopt our culture.


  12. scuttlebuck says:… whining galloway looks ok to me


  13. Backwoodsman says:

    Excellent piece, Alan. I admire your going to the trouble of exposing Self at length. I simply glanced at his article and thought ‘ smug leftie no-mark in jelousy shocker’.


  14. Mark II says:

    Self – how appropriately named he is.
    What Orwell predicted with Newspeak was that it would make certain concepts inexpressible as the language did not contain the word to do it – the reality is that this was achieved instead with PCspeak, where you self-censor for fear of being labelled a racist/sexist/denier etc.
    The end result is the same – no ideas contrary to the orthodoxy are heard.


  15. clamjouster says:

    Every 5 years or so I read my favourite two dystopian novels that are 1984 and Atlas Shrugged. I’m reading 1984 at the moment and for the first time I feel I am living in a world which is really beginning to resemble aspects of Winston Smiths life.

    There has been a massive all out twin pronged onslaught on our way of life performed by the Left and Islam. It is ironic that the Left enabled and encouraged Islam to colonise and brutalise us but failed to realise that Islam wouldn’t stop at us but would ultimately devour them as well.

    The doublethinking lefties that are a cancer in our untrustworthy institutions across the country must be purged before its too late. Hopefully enough people are now switched on to the perilous future we face if we remain inactive and will galvanise us to fight back to save our way of life.


  16. Richard says:

    I didn’t have the pleasure of hearing Self’s programme, but this is one of the best posts I have ever seen on this site. The corruption of language for the benefit of the elite and dissembling politicians is one of the evils of our time – arguably even the most important evil, since it enables the creation and propagation of so much else.

    Co-incidentally I re-read ‘1984’, ‘Animal Farm’, one or two essays and Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ over the last Christmas break. I had forgotten just how good Orwell was. (In other words, bollocks to Self; I’ll make my own mind up you sneering, supercilious little twat)*. His use of the metric system and all that it implied at the time he wrote 1984 was brilliant. It is also a subtlety which I’m sure must be lost on today’s generation. When Smith is finally banged up, the real criminals in the cell with him are contemptuous of authority and the all-seeing telescreen; just as the real criminals today don’t give a toss about authority while that same authority goes about its business of curtailing the freedoms of the rest of us. How did Orwell see that coming? I don’t know. But I formed the opinion that our glorious leaders don’t read Orwell and Huxley as warnings, but as handbooks.

    Best wishes all.

    *I wonder if he understands that?


  17. Philip says:

    Richard. ‘1984’ I am afraid is not bad enough for what is about to happen to us in November 2014. The BBC is the finest state Quango of secretive Governments. Blame it on the bias. It (BBC) openly admits to being dominated by ‘left wing thinking’ and yet it is never stopped by MP’s in parliament or governments despite major financial corruption, sexual perversity, nepotism at high cost to the burdened UK taxpayer. It does actually have a clear ‘Common Purpose’ (Chris Patten – a former BBC Trustee – administered inside the BBC domain) whilst ‘others’ remain hidden outside the BBC such as David Cameron) and supported by EU based BilderBerg group (includes Kenneth Clark and Ed Balls to name but two Euro proponants that share the same antiquated view of a ‘one world’ super state.

    The BBC has experience running the UN AGENDA 21 show (which includes discredited global warming) both in the UK and America by stealth (both administrations) in key areas of futures; such as ‘education’ and ‘governance’ mirrored in the US and EU legislature. (see Chapman US video link below and compare with EU or UK direction of travel*).

    When we all joined the ‘Common Market’ (EEC in 1984) (Edward Heath. Con) it was simple. But it was also (admitted by EU President Junckers recently) was a big political lie. The success of Blairs Labour accelerated the program in the UK culminating in The Lisbon Treaty of 2008 (signed by Gordon Brown Lab.) it was a full surrender of all UK sovereignty the ‘key-phrase’ you’ll hear is the ambiguous term ‘Sustainable Development’ which is the misnomer. Another concern is that the EU will abolish English ‘common law’ rights after 1st November 2014 if not immediately, soon * (i.e No Magna Carta! (all English references may be censored or blocked).

    Just in case you are NOT aware of the implications of this insidious Lisbon treaty it is called QMV…’On 1st November 2014 the full effect of Lisbon will be realised when the UK loses it right to veto 43 legal areas ranging from defence policy, criminal law, justice, foreign aid, energy, EU budget, free movement etc. The EU will change to Qualified Majority Voting.’ (QMV).
    For the full monty of Englands ‘closure’ see here.

    That is why we cannot trust the main parties to tell the truth – as they allow the BBC to continue despite all the case historical of sexual and financial abuses it’s a supply of cheap media fodder for masses of England and a ‘World Service’ of propaganda.

    It gets worse but you’ll have to read THIS book ‘Democracy in a Federalised Europe ‘ to realise the scale of the of eventual surrender. Any hope of democracy within the EU is a pipe dream (it’s not on the BBC or EU agenda and it won’t happen under QMV either).

    Our last hope. The next election on EU referendum is the defining moment for patriots to save what left of England’s identity and home of democracy (as defined by the Magna Carta) will be no more. We will be conquered and helpless.


  18. Guess Who says:

    “”The people will believe what the media tells them they believe.”

    Clearly Mr. Self thinks he has found the perfect vehicle in the BBC.

    He may be disappointed.