'Up with your hands!' yelled a savage voice.
A handsome, tough-looking boy of nine had popped up from behind the table and was menacing him with a toy automatic pistol, while his small sister, about two years younger, made the same gesture with a fragment of wood. Both of them were dressed in the blue shorts, grey shirts, and red neckerchiefs which were the uniform of the Spies. Winston raised his hands above his head, but with an uneasy feeling, so vicious was the boy's demeanour, that it was not altogether a game.
'You're a traitor!' yelled the boy. 'You're a thought-criminal! You're a Eurasian spy! I'll shoot you, I'll vaporize you, I'll send you to the salt mines!'
Suddenly they were both leaping round him, shouting 'Traitor!' and 'Thought-criminal!' the little girl imitating her brother in every movement. It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters. There was a sort of calculating ferocity in the boy's eye, a quite evident desire to hit or kick Winston and a consciousness of being very nearly big enough to do so. It was a good job it was not a real pistol he was holding, Winston thought.
Mrs Parsons' eyes flitted nervously from Winston to the children, and back again. In the better light of the living-room he noticed with interest that there actually was dust in the creases of her face.
'They do get so noisy,' she said. 'They're disappointed because they couldn't go to see the hanging, that's what it is. I'm too busy to take them. and Tom won't be back from work in time.'
'Why can't we go and see the hanging?' roared the boy in his huge voice.
'Want to see the hanging! Want to see the hanging!' chanted the little girl, still capering round.
George Orwell, 1984
I have previously argued that England has achieved the difficult goal of exceeding America in batshit-crazy alterations to public life in response to the Great War on Terror.
They're not slowing down.
More than 2,000 10 and 11-year-olds will see a short film, which urges them to tell the police, their parents or a teacher if they hear anyone expressing extremist views.
The film has been made by school liaison officers and Eastern Division’s new Preventing Violent Extremism team, based at Blackburn.
It uses cartoon animals to get across safety messages.
A lion explains that terrorists can look like anyone, while a cat tells pupils that should get help if they are being bullied and a toad tells them how to cross the road.
Then a badger tells them to answer police questions without invoking rights, and a budgerigar ask them to email a copy of their parents' web browsing history to the appropriate ministry.
Their parents are already being trained to inspect their neighbor's trash cans and report people who are vague about their holiday plans, so they ought to be prepared to help Junior with his homework on this one. Fortunately, since schoolchildren and their parents have such a well-developed sense of what views are extremist, there's no danger of abuse or wasted time.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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