Eric Arthur Blair, alias George Orwell (1903-1950) was
a dirty socialist atheist Britain's best-known anti-authoritarian writer. Many ideas and phrases from his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four have entered the English language, especially "Big Brother is watching you," and, "some animals are more equal than others."
His work on diverse other topics is also notable; despite countless attempts by neoconservatives to claim him as one of their own, he was one of many left-wing writers and journalists who fought against the Spanish Falangists led by Francisco Franco in Spain as a member of the Trotskyist POUM militia (he recorded this in his memoir Homage to Catalonia), and also he worked as a policeman in Burma; there, he criticized British imperialism in his novel Burmese Days.
Although he was already not very enamored with communism before his stint in the Spanish Civil War, while serving therein he witnessed atrocities committed by the Stalinist faction in the Spanish Civil War against their own allies. Thus, he returned from the war a committed anti-Communist and advocate of democratic socialism; at one point he drew up a list of people he suspected of being Soviet infiltrators to use in British anti-communist propaganda efforts. His negative view of Stalinism influenced his two best-known novels; Animal Farm being an obvious allegory for Stalin's Soviet Union and Nineteen Eighty-Four, which also criticizes fascism and imperialism.
Another well-known Orwell book was Down and Out in Paris and London, in which he exposed the unsanitary and rough working conditions in France's fine restaurants and in Britain's homeless shelters. He continued this theme with The Road to Wigan Pier, detailing the conditions of workers in the north of England and advocating for a broad-tent form of socialism that did not exclude workers or the lower middle class.
Orwell's ideas on Britishness and socialism still resonate today, more than 60 years after his death; indeed John Major, the 1990s Conservative Prime Minister, quoted him once when attempting to define what was worth preserving in the country.