The Enchanted Glass: Britain and Its Monarchy by Tom Nairn - review by Francis Wheen

Francis Wheen

Off With Their Heads

The Enchanted Glass: Britain and Its Monarchy


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During the abdication crisis of 1936, Edward VIII decided to retaliate against the Baldwin government by 'planting' his point of view – including his opinion of certain ministers – in a newspaper. The politician he chose as a go-between in this operation was John Strachey, a left-wing socialist. And the publication he selected was The Week, a radical scandal-sheet edited by the Communist Claud Cockburn.

The surprising thing about this little story is that it isn't in the least surprising. The British Left and British Royalty have been conducting a strange love affair for more than half a century. Witness the reaction when a delegate at the 1923 Labour Party conference politely proposed 'that the

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