In his film, The Attic, Adam Curtis argued that Margaret Thatcher became so deeply attached to a romanticised view of the nation’s past that it undermined her understanding of contemporary reality. History, Heritage and Tradition in Contemporary British Politics makes much the same argument in the opposite way; it details how, since the Thatcher era, party politics has drawn heavily on the rhetoric of the past for purposes that are reductively presentist. The book, in short, poses the question ‘what did the “End of History” era do to the ways in which British party politics interacted with history’? Two chapters ‘ideology and temporality’ and ‘structures of memory’ are used to orientate the three extended case studies that chart the rise of political ‘presentism’ in the Conservative Party, during the rise of Social...

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