Dame Evelyn Dick: an interview

In this series of Way of the World reports by Peter Simple, I will be interviewing some of this country’s leading cultural figures. First, I have come to the county of Rutland to visit one of Britains most progressive education institutions. Starting out as Uppingham Infant School, it became Uppingham Academy, then Rutland Technical College, and is now Rutland Idle University. I am meeting its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Evelyn Dick. Click the button below to read the full report: Dame Evelyn Dick: an interview: full story ED: Professor Dame Evelyn Dick, actually.

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Heaven Sent

Way of the World was a satirical column which ran in The Daily Telegraph in the 1970s, written under the name of Peter Simple. It has recently been revived but is a bit bland by comparison. I will try to write in the original vein, starting with this WotW exclusive report on The World Beyond, which begins below. Use the button to read the full story. Heaven Sent: full story A Way of the World investigation has uncovered a spate of reports in local newspapers, all with a similar strange story. The protagonist has been lost in tragic or violent circumstances, presumed dead; but a few days later he reappears, unharmed, yet he refuses to explain what happened to him. But now, in a WotW exclusive, one man has agreed to tell his story, asking only for anonymity and a five-figure fee. He had disappeared in a snowstorm while climbing in the Cairngorms, but a week later he descended again. This is what he said.

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The Ministry of Truth

In Orwell’s dystopian world of 1984, the role of the Ministry of Truth is to reinterpret or delete facts and redefine words so that the citizen his/herself alters their memories and opinions to glorify Big Brother. A word is hijacked to mean its opposite - like ‘diversity and inclusion’ nowadays. And the Indian variant has been renamed the Delta variant, so that over time we forget its origin and, more importantly, Big Boris’s role in importing it to Britain (see May newsletter). The mere mention of ‘Indian variant’ and ‘Chinese virus’ have been classed as hate crimes (though they are factually accurate, unlike the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic name. In 1918 wartime governments censored news of the death toll in their own countries, so the only reports published came from Spain, a neutral country in the Great War).

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The Boris Variant

With the latest testimony from Dominic Cummings, the public and the media in the UK are finally realising they were lied to by government earlier in the pandemic. But the goverment’s defence is always that they are ‘being guided by the science’. And the scientific advice is always ‘based on the evidence’. Sounds reasonable. But suppose you were to read tomorrow that “to pay for the cost of the pandemic, the government has decided to disband the country’s armed forces, and sell off all military bases and equipment. However, a government spokesman reassured the public that ‘we will keep the situation under constant review, and we will not hesitate to recruit a new Air Force if we have clear evidence that the country is being bombed. Our focus is always on protecting the country and saving lives’.” That is the Evidence-Based (EB) approach we are seeing over and over again - the same sequence of excuses for inaction being parroted: “There is no evidence for…” “The evidence is ambiguous…” “Such measures would now have only a limited impact, and might actually be counter-productive…” until “We will introduce these measures on a precautionary basis…” and finally “Of course it’s very easy for people to complain with hindsight that we should have acted earlier…”

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Why this novel?

I started the novel “The Hammond Conjecture” as a change from the alternate-history novels such as “SS-GB”, “Fatherland”, “Dominion” et al, which all depict Britain after Germany had won the War as an unremittingly bleak and hellish, ‘1984’-style dystopia. It is also a reaction to the hagiography of Winston Churchill in those novels.

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