Gifts that Keep On Giving

BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

― George Orwell, 1984

‘Just imagine’, a particular kind of civil servant drooled in 1985, ‘if we could create a message capturing device with which we could trace miscreants and get to know what they were planning and thinking’.

‘Even better than that,’ his colleague retorted, ‘we could watch the press getting up to all sorts real-time and merely nudge them with a reminder or two into writing headlines for us. Think how much that would save the bagman on lunches at White’s and fat brown envelopes!’

‘Ah what a dream!’ the civil servant chuckled, ‘imagine all that lurid kompromat! Old Boy, do you think you could pass me that file on Corbyn, the Labour Commie MP? It’s next to your pouch. You know him? That scruffy bearded wretch who took up the Derer invitation and went motorbiking around the DDR with his black girlfriend? I fancy having a good laugh – over my next smoke’.

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‘Just imagine’, a particular kind of civil servant drooled in 1995, ‘if we could create a message capturing device with which we could trace all known miscreants and get to know what they were planning and  thinking’.

‘Even better than that,’ his colleague answered, ‘we could manipulate nodes into echo chambers distorting all proportion, so followers felt like they were somehow important, even being taken seriously! A marvellous opportunity for dezinformatsiya. Think how much we could save on black bag jobs. And here’s a bonus – we can bin those dull birds on the flaps & seals teams’.

‘Ah what a dream!’ the civil servant sniggered, ‘imagine the Marxist Hard Left, the animal rights loonies and the firebrand mullahs thinking they have significant numbers of admirers! What fun we could have playing them all off against each other! Cousin, do you think you could pass me those NUM bank statements? Over there on that floppy next to the Flemings pile, marked Isle of Man Private Stash. I fancy having a good chuckle at our less than cunning anti-capitalist comrades – over my next ciggie’.

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‘Just imagine’, a particular kind of civil servant drooled in 2005, ‘if we could create a message capturing device with which we could trace all known and unknown miscreants and get to know what they were planning and thinking’.

‘Even better than that,’ his colleague answered, ‘we could design it to provoke anger and other emotions and thus build an indelible record of error. Social credit via the backdoor! We could insert ghouls, professional trolls and honey potters into the network and make miscreants’ lives a bloody misery’.  

‘Ah what a dream!’ the civil servant sneered, ‘rather than having to delve into effective politicians’ knicker drawers and coughing up nuggets, we could fill their knicker drawers ourselves! On drunken Friday nights they’ll stupidly message us over dick pics and make all kinds of career-ending declarations! We’d end up with such malleable residue – a generation of useless and characterless politicians! What amusement we could have with people thinking their private messages won’t be seen! Mate, do you think you could pass me the Savile file? It’s over there on that disc next to Yentob’s bank statements. I fancy having a larf – over my flat white’.

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‘Just imagine’, a particular kind of civil servant drooled in 2015, ‘if we could create a message capturing device with which we could trace all known, unknown and potential miscreants and get to know what they were planning and thinking’.

‘Even better than that,’ his colleague answered, ‘we could draw them out into visible, seemingly actual yet virtual rooms inside of which they’ll be real-time scheming. A kind of Paltalk metaverse hotel of multiple canvases where mannerism algorithms are so advanced they immediately identify all actors and their crimes are all recorded’.

‘Ah what a dream!’ the civil servant smirked, ‘imagine all those giveaways! Provocateurs and window dressers will have a field day! Lad, do you think you could pass me the pen drive on Jon Lansman? It’s part of the Co-op one. Have you ever seen a Communist developing so many properties? I fancy having a ganders – over my beetroot smoothie’.

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“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Dominic Wightman is Editor of Country Squire Magazine.