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British champion

Norman Davies has written an important history of the British Isles. But his analysis of the present situation is ill-considered. The fashionable view that Britain will wither away is wrong. The English, Welsh and Scots still share common interests and a British identity, for which Europe is no substitute

By Malcolm Rifkind   January 2000

The midnight isles, the Painted Isles, the Frontier Isles are just a few of the unfamiliar names which Norman Davies uses for that part of the world I have always thought of as the British Isles. To add to the confusion, he includes in his list of kings of England the improbable names of Guillaume le B?tard, Edouard I and Henri V. Furthermore, we are reminded that Britain was ruled by the Celts longer than it was ruled by anyone else; that Roman Britain was confined to about 30 per cent of these islands; and that England under the Normans…

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