Seeing is a kind of political fable: the night after the election, an unnamed European government finds that 77 percent of the population of the capital city has cast blank votes. Alarmed, they declare a mistake and organize a second election (complete with reconnaissance agents stationed casually in line at voting booths to intercept any information about the supposed blank-vote conspiracy), and everything seems perfectly normal except for the now 83 percent of capital-city voters who cast blank ballots into the box. The government interprets this action as an “attack on democracy” and reacts with a steady stream of increasingly restrictive measures, none of which seem to do a bit of good or extract a modicum of information. Beginning by declaring a state of emergency and suspending all constitutional rights in the city (a change none of the citizens seem to notice), they progress to sending intelligence agents into the populace (no one is interested in talking about the blank votes), and detaining a random sampling of citizens whom they hold indefinitely for interrogation (everyone refuses to say who they voted for). As the citizens’ dignified non-participation holds steady, the government gets more and more ruffled, eventually choosing to abscond absurdly in the dead of night with all its officials, police, paperwork, assistants, computers and assorted detritus and declaring a state of seige on the capital city, forbidding anyone to enter or leave before the government has received a tearful apology from the city at large.
This wonderful satire is just the thing for those people who believe that the standard of public life has gone down the gutter, that the world is ruled by fools and knaves, that choosing between political parties is like trying to tell the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, that our masters are platitudinous windbags who can’t be trusted or respected and are only intent on hanging on to power, forever watching their backs while telling the benighted populace a pack of lies in order to stay in office, and, moreover, for those who are able to tolerate long sentences (a little like this one) in paragraphs that snake over three, sometimes four or even five pages.
The Irish Free State (Irish: Saorstát Éireann Irish pronunciation: [sˠiːɾˠsˠˈt̪ˠaːt̪ˠ eːɾʲən̪ˠ]) (6 December 1922 – 1937) was the state established as a dominion under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand.On the day the Irish Free State was established, it comprised the entire island of Ireland, but Northern Ireland almost immediately exercised its right under the treaty to remove itself from the new state.
”MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, We, your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Senators and Commons of Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, having learnt of the passing of the Irish Free State Constitution Act, 1922, being the Act of Parliament for the ratification of the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, do, by this humble Address, pray your Majesty that the powers of the Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State shall no longer extend to Northern Ireland.”
The Irish Free State effectively replaced both the self-proclaimed Irish Republic (founded 21 January 1919) and the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland. W. T. Cosgrave, the first President of the Irish Free State had led both of these “governments” since August 1922.
The Irish Free State came to an end in 1937, when the citizens voted by referendum to replace the 1922 constitution. It was succeeded by the sovereign, modern state of Ireland.
A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess. A satire portraying a future and dystopian Western society with (based on contemporary trends) a culture of extreme youth rebellion and violence: it explores the violent nature of humans, human free will to choose between good or evil, and the desolation of free will as a solution to evil. Teenage gangs, enraged by the docile, clockwork society that they find themselves living in, are constantly on the rampage. The main character, Alex, is a fifteen year old boy who revels in Beethoven as much as he loves his nightly episodes of violence and rape. Burgess experiments with language, writing in a Russian-influenced argot called “Nadsat” used by the younger characters and the anti-hero in his first-person narration. According to Burgess, the novel was a jeu d’esprit written in just three weeks. He bemoaned the fact that the book had been taken as the source material for a 1971 film that was perceived to glorify sex and violence.
The brutality and gang violence of A Clockwork Orange was inspired by a terrible incident during a blackout in London at the height of the Second World War, where Burgess’ pregnant wife Lynne (Llewela Jones), was assaulted, raped and robbed by a group of American soldiers. Subsequently she suffered a miscarriage and the couple lost their first child.
The book was written as a form of catharsis and a severe warning about a future where the state controls the way we think, and everyone is turned into good, little citizens . . . without the power of choice.