The BBC has declined to erect a statue to the author George Orwell in its reception lobby on the basis that Orwell was “far too left wing”. It’s a strange definition. His political career embraced working with the Spanish Trotskyist POUM during the Spanish Civil War, whose activities have been clearly documented as sabotaging the Republican government and acting as agent provocateurs linked to Spanish fascism. In whose interests did he work?
After the Second World War he wrote virulently anti-Communist fiction and invented the term Cold War. In the 1990s MI5 security service documents released under the 30-year civil service rule identified Orwell as an MI5 agent spying during the 1940s and up to his death on any journalist, author or writer deemed to be pro-Soviet or Communist.
No wonder the BBC felt compromised about having a statue to Orwell in its reception lobby. How would those who lambast the BBC for bias have squared that circle? ■