Big Brother On Orwell
The UK Secret Service files on one Eric Blair have just been made public. They were worried he was a commie. Summary:
The file essentially consists of reports of Orwell's activities between 1929 and his death in 1950. It gives some insight into Orwell's financial position while in Paris and includes a 1929 MI6 report to the Special Branch on his activities there, and various subsequent Special Branch reports. One of these by police Sergeant Ewing, from January 1942 (serial 7a), asserts that:
"This man has advanced Communist views, and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at Communist meetings. He dresses in a bohemian fashion both at his office and in his leisure hours."
A Service officer rang Ewing's Inspector to challenge this view (minute 9). Wartime enquiries as to Orwell and his wife's suitability for employment as a journalist and with the Ministry of Food were all approved. It is of some interest to note the part Orwell's answers to a published Left magazine survey had in convincing the Service that Orwell should not be considered a Communist. The file includes a copy of Orwell's passport papers and original passport photographs.