Iron Britannia

Anthony Barnett
Date Published
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On 2 April 1982 Argentine forces seized the British-dependent Falkland Islands. Within 48 hours a British task force sailed for the South Atlantic. One in five Britons opposed this war; but Argentina’s surrender 74 days later assured Margaret Thatcher’s re-election. Iron Britannia, first published in 1982, peered through ‘the fog of war’ to diagnose something rotten in the British state. This 2012 edition offers a new preface by Anthony Barnett, dissecting post-Falklands UK foreign policy.

‘Barnett makes a variety of telling points… [especially] the concept he puts forward of ‘Churchillism’, the rhetoric of national unity which overrides party and class considerations.’ Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Times Literary Supplement

‘A furious, sometimes gleeful and often witty polemic against the decaying British political system which the conflict revealed.’ Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books


Anthony Barnett is the founder of openDemocracy, which he edited from 2001 to 2006. An activist and writer, he was the first co-ordinator of Charter 88, the campaign for a democratic British constitution, from 1988-1995, and co-directed the Convention on Modern Liberty in 2009. After Iron Britannia he wrote Soviet Freedom (1988) and This Time (1997) and he has co-authored…

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