Tag: Protests

What Happened to the Good Old British Bobby?

by James Moreton Wakeley One of the most sublime hymns to England is to be found at the end of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. Returning from the bitter battles of the Spanish Civil War, wounded in the neck, and having narrowly avoided further bodily harm in the bloodily fratricidal politics of the doomed Spanish Republic, Orwell looks forward to returning to a land at peace. To an idyll of "railway-cuttings smothered in wild flowers" and "slow-moving streams bordered by willows", inhabited by a gentle folk wearing bowler hats whose streets are adorned with "posters telling of cricket matches and Royal weddings". Fighting in the ranks of an international socialist movement though Orwell was, Homage to Catalonia is replete with such heartfelt musings on England. First among such sentiments is the notion that the police are nothing to be feared. Unlike the highly-politicised and faction-riven police forces of Republican Spain, or other such continental gendarmeries, Orwell saw the British bobby as a cheery friend of the honest citizen, who polices with consent rather than through force, and who would only go so far to arrest someone if they had, or were strongly suspected to have, broken the law. Saturday night’s footage from the vigil held in honour of Sarah Everard makes this image as remote from our age as the rest of Orwell’s ...

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