Iron Britannia

Anthony Barnett

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On April 2 1982 Argentine forces seized the British-dependent Falkland Islands. Within 48 hours a British task force was sailing for the South Atlantic. One in five Britons opposed this war; but Argentina’s surrender 74 days later set Margaret Thatcher on course for her second election victory.
Anthony Barnett’s Iron Britannia, first published in 1982, turned down the din of war and diagnosed something rotten in the British state. This new edition offers a new extended preface by Barnett, addressing UK foreign policy post-Falklands; plus additional texts Barnett wrote at the time.
‘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 makes a variety of telling points… Most tellingly of all, the concept he puts forward of ‘Churchillism’, the rhetoric of national unity which overrides party and class considerations.’ Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Times Literary Supplement
‘Done with almost Swiftian vigour. I warmly recommend it.’ John Fowles, Guardian


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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