AS THE annual Channel 4 reality television show Big Brother kicked off again last week, I thought how the author who invented the term must now be turning in his grave. In Hillingdon we are happy to claim as our own George Orwell, who wrote the book 1984 in which he invented the original BB.
He was a teacher in Uxbridge, at what later became the Frays Centre in Harefield Road - now replaced by flats - and also in Hayes, at what is now the Fountain House Hotel in Church Road.
Astonishingly, many things he prophesised 60 years ago have come about, from the surveillance of citizens (CCTV?) to the use of Newspeak, which in his book was invented to stop ideas that contradicted the Government's official line. We now call it 'spin'.
Dodgy government officials are nothing new, but the MPs' expenses scandal has also made us appreciate our own representatives, John McDonnell, John Randall and Nick Hurd, who have not snapped up second homes at our expense and filled them with plasma TVs.
However, I also think we must be wary of assuming any relative or friend employed by an MP is getting dosh for nothing. There is nothing devious in employing someone you know you can trust and can do the job well.
I wonder what George Orwell would have made of Britain's Got Talent?
Poor Susan Boyle, whom we revered for daring to be talented even though she was plain and unsophisticated, then knocked her down again because she was too ordinary.
Room 101 was also nicked from Mr Orwell's 1984; the room is meant to contain your worst nightmare and for his central character, Winston, it was rats.
For me, it would be opening the doors of Room 101 to find myself dumped in the middle of a reality show; Mr F says with nothing to read, he would go mad within 10 minutes.
Just thinking about being trapped 24 hours a day with a bunch of hyperactive, 'zany' bedfellows who think breaking wind or belching is high comedy, fills me with horror.
Perhaps they should fill this year's BB house with errant MPs - and charge them expenses for the privilege!