English ambivalence in the 1940's produced economic and social stagnation to the extent that the Labour Party had very little political clout. On one hand they were heavily unionized, fighting for fair wages and a safer workplace, and on the other they advocated Socialist theories; ultimately those two added up to British Capitalism. The two political theories cannot mix, because unions at heart are driven by the wants of individuals and represented through chosen leaders, rather than a planned structure developed and executed by a central government, which is true Socialism. The unions undercut central governments through creating micro-governments, but verbally advocated a classless, non-economic society. The English perceived the disparity, but no real social change occurred despite the inefficiency, joblessness, and homelessness, the majority of people simply resisted change.
Are the English unique? Look at modern America with its overspending problem and its polarized liberal and conservative parties (and the assumption that if you're not a part of either one, you're naive), and pop-media-influenced politics. Most Americans recognize these issues, but are just as resistant to change as the English were in the 40's. The major difference is that we have a unified social theory--democracy--and the English didn't. They valued Democracy, but were confused as to the means of obtaining it, unlike America, who chose Capitalism and moved forward with that one system.
Ironically, WWII "turned Socialism from a textbook word into a realizable policy." (p. 332) England had a touch of laziness in non-war time which manifested in their addiction to the status of an Aristocracy, alongside their more thoughtful bend toward Democracy. Their dissonance made them ineffective idealists. The Labor Party Socialists were thrust into reality though, through being tugged on one side by the Communist Party and the other by the Fascists. "War is the greatest of all agents of change. It speeds up all processes, wipes out minor distinctions, brings realities to the surface." (p. 333) Two opposing truths surfaced: they loved their country but hated their class system. (Personally, that makes their Patriotism based in insanity, but it's not like they had an ego about this issue). WWII caused these two maxims to do battle, and it turned out that their love of country was a higher priority than their love of class system. Orwell says on p. 333: "The swing of opinion is visibly happening, but it cannot be counted on to happen fast enough of its own accord. This war is a race between the consolidation of Hitler's empire and the growth of democratic consciousness." Their revolution was an intellectual civil war.
Due to the sensitivity of the time, Orwell advocates reform instead of revolution because you can't change a regime during war. Ultimately, it was England's day of reckoning. They'd wasted so much time and resources, that when faced with war they not only had to fight brutal Nazis but they had to settle their own accounts, which needed major reconciling. Page 347: "The final ruin of England could only be accomplished by an English government acting under orders from Berlin. But that cannot happen if England has awakened beforehand." Orwell witnessed the English change first-hand--which almost didn't happen whatsoever--but it's a pity a world war had to occur for them to finally get it.
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