I hate this trope about British “embarrassment” about their own history. The British are largely proud and/or ignorant of their own history. That’s basically the problem. https://twitter.com/nickeardleybbc/status/1298233236204793857
This public-school-masculinity-nonsense about a “bout of self-recrimination of wetness” is just another way to frame engagement identity with the past around identity and emotions, whilst claiming simultaneously that it’s all about Facts and History.
This is a past framed around what “we” did and where “we” went and what “we” achieved, a history framed entirely solipsistically through an Us projected backwards, that never thinks or cares about the Them, but also never attempts to think about who We were or are.
As a historian working on the recent history of my own nation I don’t think I identify any more with my historical subjects than if I were working on a different place in a distant period. But for these people — who claim to love history! — the identification is the point.
Boris Johnson doesn’t write about Churchill or Shakespeare because he loves History but because he sees them as figures he can claim, for his nation and for himself. It’s not historical scholarship, it’s projection.
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