Monday, 25 September 2017

A wayward political journey

In spite of all of the evidence to the contrary, I still tend to think of individuals as staying fixed in a political sense, probably because I am myself and most of the the people I know personally are too. But of course such steadfastness/stupidity (delete according to choice) does not apply to many people, and some time ago I came across a striking example in the League of Nations Union papers at the London School of Economics of just how far an individual can travel politically. The Union was the type of rather well-meaning (but, with the benefit of hindsight, hapless) inter-war organisation that is likely to have attracted some acerbic comment from George Orwell: who should be listed as a rather generous donor in the 1922 Annual Report but Oswald Mosley - 'put me down for £50', he probably didn't say. That rather eccentric individual's political journey has been well researched, but this does show just how far people can shift.

There are two ways of looking at these political journeys: either people are so ideologically confused that they themselves don't know and understand what they profess to believe; or they are brave and original thinkers who nimbly react to changing political conditions and refuse to be contained by any orthodoxies. A tough one to decide: it could be the latter, except that the political journey always seems to be one way - rather a sign of simply having given up I fear.

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