It is a commonplace abroad, especially in Europe, that the British remain obsessed by the Second World War. There is no doubting the truth of this, nor is any end in sight. The Falklands war was revealed once again how rich are the rewards for British politicians able to harness the underground streams which flow ever onwards from 1940. Indeed, such is the British appetite for military heroics that even before that, the balcony antics of a handful of SAS men during the Iranian Embassy seige was celebrated over and over again as a major national achievement. In a climate where our newsagents’ shelves bulge with military pap it is hardly surprising that successive governments have been able to get away with ludicrously high levels of defence expenditure and our nuclear debates are conducted, on both sides, as if we count for far more than we actually do.
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