REAL life in the 21st century is increasingly feeling like something from the pages of 1984.

Examples of doublethink, Orwell’s nightmarish weapon of indoctrination, are piling up as the right-wing in Britain and America launch an increasingly deranged attack on the liberal values we have complacently taken for granted for years.

Orwell painted a picture of a dystopian dictatorship in which language is used to transform concepts to mean the direct opposite of how we have traditionally understood them. Hence Big Brother slogans such as War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, some of which might strike a chord with those of us aghast at some of the recent comments by members of the Tory front bench.

Suella Braverman in particular has shown a twisted genius at putting together statements which contradict very obvious truths.

The two most recent examples include her depiction of anti-war demonstrations as “hate marches” and her insistence that the police are biased in favour of what she called “pro-Palestinian mobs”, which will come as a surprise to protesters who have felt the rough edge of police tactics at what might loosely be described as left-wing events. Anyone remember kettling?

It should come as a surprise to no-one that these outrageous suggestions come as Britain is divided more deeply than at any time since the Iraq War. The UK political establishment is more at odds with a substantial proportion of the population over the situation in Gaza than I’ve seen for two decades.

The Iraq analogy is a good one.

More than a million people marched in protest at Tony Blair’s incomprehensible decision to join George W Bush’s illegal misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the invasion went ahead regardless, at a cost of thousands of lives and irreversible damage to Britain’s international reputation.

It’s salutary to remember at the time the dire warnings Blair and his unquestioning supporters on the Labour front bench pulled out to justify the actions. Saddam Hussein was poised to use weapons of mass destruction, they insisted. As part of the “proof” they ponied up “evidence” supporting the existence of these weapons which was later shown to have been cribbed from an article by a graduate student.

The National:

Blair (above) told us that if we could see the information he had on his desk – which of course we couldn’t because it was “classified” – we would be convinced of the clear and present danger posed by Iraq. We were even warned we were 45 minutes away from a possible chemical attack.

All this, of course has been revealed as nonsense. No weapons of mass destruction were found. All the evidence that supposedly convinced Blair of their existence is now in the public domain and is generally seen as unconvincing. The “45-minute attack” claim was simply not true and in fact a conflation of stories and involved only battlefield weapons.

The case for the war was nothing more than cobbled-together propaganda. Labour are now doing their damnedest to convince us that this shameful episode was a very long time ago and did not involve the current leadership – but some of us will never forgive or forget.

READ MORE: Douglas Murray slammed for 'disgusting' attack on Humza Yousaf

Our government at Westminster is now involved in a similar propaganda war to convince us that those who oppose the slaughter in Gaza are apologists for and supporters of Hamas and are antisemitic. They are aided in this task by the fevered atmosphere of social media and the seeming impossibility of verifying so many of the claims coming from that area.

We have heard horrific claims of Hamas beheading babies. True? Who knows. Our Prime Minister seems to have bought into the unproven theory that a blast at a Gaza hospital was not caused by Israel. The Gaza health ministry says 471 people died in the blast. US intelligence says it appeared to be “several dozen”. A US intelligence report estimates the number to be “probably at the low end of the 100-00 spectrum”.

The only unarguable truth is surely that it is too high.

Rishi Sunak says UK intelligence services have concluded that the blast was caused by a rocket fired by a Palestinian militant group. I don’t know the truth. How can I? I do know that the UK intelligence services said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. I do know they are not infallible.

The slew of reports from the area are similarly difficult to trust. The BBC yesterday adopted the practice of “embedding” a reporter with one side in a conflict, in this case Jeremy Bowen, with the Israel Defence Forces in Gaza. Its report states that the BBC had editorial control of the report but that the section with the IDF “has been viewed by them”.

The National: PCC Donna Jones, Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Its headline claim is that the IDF showed the BBC what it said was a Hamas weapons factory below a home “in which children lived”. This seems to me to be a clear attempt to justify Israeli action in Gaza and to shift the blame for the deaths of children from Israel to Hamas.

Can Bowen know for sure the veracity of what the IDF told him they were showing him? If not, is it worth showing such obviously partisan “information”? The report I read on the BBC website before writing this sentence had no quote from Hamas or any expert view on how trustworthy it was. The reader had no way of deciding its value.

According to the most recent figures, more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air strikes in the last month – including thousands of women, children and the elderly, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The accuracy of the figures has been vouched for by Unicef.

Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have marched in protest at Israel’s actions. In the UK the huge demonstrations have included London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Whatever your views on the situation in Gaza surely you find it unacceptable that a British home secretary should call these protesters hate-mongers.

READ MORE: 'We're pro-Palestine protesters – this is why we targeted Holyrood'

There’s been a noticeably difference in political reactions north and south of the Border, sometimes even within the same party. Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer have both refused to join calls for a ceasefire, infuriating 18 frontbenchers, prompting the resignation of one, and clashing with the views of Labour’s leader in Scotland, Anas Sarwar.

First Minister Humza Yousaf’s dignified plea for humanity – even as members of his own family faced the possibility of dying in Gaza – showed true leadership by standing in stark contrast to his political opponents.

The National: Humza Yousaf

Yesterday, a Sky News poll showed that more people in Britain sympathise with Palestinians than with Israel, although half still think that anti-war demonstrations in London should not be allowed to go ahead on Armistice Day. That still shows a yawning chasm between the attitudes of the UK’s political class and most of the people they are supposed to represent.

Both of the main parties at Westminster look seriously out of step with the public. It’s not clear how this will play out at the General Election.

The Tories are almost certain to be kicked out of power, not primarily because of their attitude to Gaza and their resistance to supporting a ceasefire, although those hardly help. Boris Johnson, in the very definition of irony, was in the headlines this week after accusing Sunak of “drifting to defeat”, which is a bit rich from a former prime minister who oversaw a catastrophic fall in popularity and had to resign facing censure and a by-election trouncing. But you have to admit he’s not wrong when he says the Conservatives offer nothing to rally around – but when has it been otherwise?

Labour are even more out of step with their own followers.

The backlash that Starmer is facing is substantial and growing. Shadow minister Imran Hussain’s resignation could open the floodgates for more. Fifty Labour councillors had previously resigned over the issue.

The longer the Israeli bombardment continues, the more the death toll mounts. As Palestinians yesterday followed IDF instructions to evacuate using a designated safe road there were reports of dead bodies along the route.

READ MORE: Scottish Parliament motions tabled calling for ceasefire in Gaza 

Meanwhile, Israeli tanks were advancing on the Al-Quds hospital area, where around 1400 are sheltering, unable to be moved because roads are damaged road.

Increasingly it is looking like Westminster political leaders are sanctioning genocide while we look on helpless to prevent more slaughter. It’s impossible to know at this stage what the humanitarian and political consequences might be.

But history tells us that when politicians become divorced from public opinion it is usually the public who are right. When we look back today at the case for the war against Iraq we see it clearly for the nonsense it was. When we look back in 20 years at the murdered children, the brutal destruction of an entire overpopulated city and the unremitting assault on innocent civilians we’ll almost certainly think the world went cruelly mad.