From the American Revolution to Dunkirk, the Reformation to the Weimar republic – leading historians help us understand the forces at play in our divided world
“Fromage not Farage”, “I’ve Seen Better Cabinets at Ikea”: the signs at the Put It to the People march were particularly British in their humour. The present crisis in the United Kingdom is, however, no laughing matter. It reflects very real social and political problems and deep divisions about the future of the country. The argument over remain or leave is also between the winners and losers in globalisation.
In the 1960s former US secretary of state Dean Acheson said Britain had lost an empire and was yet to find a role. For a time it appeared Britain could be the pivot of Europe and the Atlantic world. Britain would be part of Europe on its own terms but also have a special relationship with the United States, with the British acting, as Harold Macmillan said, as the Greeks to the Americans’ Romans. Membership of the European Union has disappointed many and the special relationship is today as flimsy as the friendship between Donald Trump and Theresa May. So where does Britain go now?