20 Pages

Conclusion: Britain towards the future

WithPeter Childs

IT W A S O B S E R V E D I N Chapter 1 that the very idea of ‘Britain’ has comeunder a number of forceful attacks. One of the current features noticeable alongside speculations over the end of Britishness is an increase in discussion of Englishness, spurred on by the rise in Celtic nationalisms over recent years. I say ‘increase’, because Englishness has always been a substantial topic. Idries Shah noted in The Guardian on 21 October 2000 that ‘the English are obsessed with themselves. One strongly cherished idea here is that people don’t think about themselves [as a nation]. But in my thirty year collection of press cuttings on a diverse range of subjects, those marked “England and the English” . . . are 20 times as numerous as any other category.’ However, the fact that Britain is at a crossroads seems to have resulted in a larger batch of publications than usual. Below is a list of just a few of the large number of books that have been published around the Millennium.