Peter Hitchens’s book is a plangent lament for the old Britain, the land of warm beer and lengthening shadows on the village cricket pitch; but it can also be read as an obituary for the old Daily Express. When Hitchens joined the paper, in 1977, it was still the voice of grumpy suburban reactionaries. Now it is edited by a founder of Spare Rib magazine and owned by a Blairite. Even the word Daily has been dropped from the title. Hitchens is the sole survivor of Fleet Street's Mary Celeste, raging against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
No wonder he feels that the country is going to the dogs. And he knows who or what is responsible for this sorry state of affairs: the Bloomsbury Group, Wallis Simpson, council estates, Dutch elm disease, Elvis Presley, Lady Chatterley's Lover, working women, Beyond the Fringe, That Was The Week