The make-up of Britain has seen far-reaching change in the last ten years. Yet do the British understand these changes? Or rather do the English? Devolution in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has sharply focussed the question there, but in metropolitan England there is only a gradual realisation that the English are affected too.
In his characteristically perceptive yet entertaining style Hannan reviews the politicians' love of invoking Britishness, from Major to Brown; the role of newspapers and the broadcast media in telling us what it means to be British; the use of Britishness by nationalist political parties; the effects of devolution on Labour's ability to govern the country as a whole; who pays to keep the various parts of Britain running; the place of the royal family (and class) in twentieth century Britain.
In total, Hannan asks the question; what principles should underlie the democratic running of Britain and its constituent parts and how should the parliamentary system change as those parts devolve?
Patrick Hannan is a writer, broadcaster and journalist. During his career he has been Industrial Editor of The Western Mail and for thirteen years he was the BBC's Welsh Political Correspondent. As a television producer he has made documentaries for BBC2, BBC Wales and HTV. For many years he has been a regular writer and presenter for Radio 4. He has been a newspaper columnist and has contributed to a wide variety of publications as well as being the editor of two books on broadcasting in Wales.