Friday, September 30, 2005

This is simply sad

George Orwell wrote so many books to warn us about the evil of dictatorial societies that his name has become synonymous with them. I just read a story that the time spent right before his death he was busy trying to protect his family from the government. Not a physical threat to their life's, but the threat that the government would take all in the form of taxes and leave his wife and children penniless.
George Orwell, author and lifelong socialist, entered into a tax avoidance scheme on his deathbed as money began to flood in from the success of his final two books, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

He was seeking to escape the full weight of the Labour government's punishing surtax regime as all his royalties arrived in a short period and he feared leaving his widow and six-year-old son with a gigantic bill for death duties.

After Orwell died, his accountants underplayed the copyright value of those two great works, which between them have sold millions of copies in dozens of languages, by telling the Inland Revenue they were mere "topical bestsellers" with short sales lives.

They also diminished the taxman's expectations of the Orwell estate benefiting from the sale of film rights to both books with the bizarre reasoning that Hollywood might find them too anti-communist in tone and not want to offend the Soviet Union.

Papers relating to Orwell's tax records have only now come to light with the release at the National Archives in Kew of the Inland Revenue file for Eric Arthur Blair, the author's real name.
So he paid himself a small income from the books to lower his surtax. England likely views their social system as fair and equal. Not so when people have to hide and cheat to provide for their families. In a socialist nation, success is a punishable offense.

So the last victim of his books was almost the man's family.

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