Some thoughts on the common toad (post election)

Here is something I re-read this morning to re-ground me in the face of the May 5th Canadian election. Since only 40% of the 60% of eligible voters who cast ballots on Monday voted for the Harper (Reform) conservative party; that means 24% of eligible voters gave majority control of parliament to the most autocratic political party to contest an election in Canada since fascist parties were common in the 1930s.  What’s worrying is less that this Harper government is right-wing but that it has already shown itself to have so much contempt for democratic structures and for the rights of citizens.

So in the face of this depressing election, a bit of George Orwell to lighten your mood:

“I think that by retaining one’s childhood love of such things as trees, fishes, butterflies, and — to return to my first instance — toads, one makes a peaceful and decent future a little more probable… At any rate, Spring is here, even in London N.1, and they can’t stop you enjoying it. This is a satisfying reflection. How many a time I have stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can’t. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or holiday camp, Spring is still Spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.”

–“Some Thoughts on the Common Toad,” by George Orwell; published in April of 1946.

The entire essay is good and available online.

….and there are great excerpts from other Orwell essays at this wonderfully-named website:

There is also helpful analysis of the Canadian election by Judy Rebick (and others) at

And also: very helpful and illuminating coverage of media bias and the effect of media endorsements during this past 5 weeks coverage of Canada’s election:,_2011


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