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Foreigner at home

Britain is a fascinating and diverse country but you wouldn't guess that from the London papers

By Gideon Rachman   February 2001

It is always disturbing when someone sees straight through you. Ian Hargreaves, the former Independent editor, did it to me in 1997-just after I had been appointed Britain editor of The Economist. Informed that all my previous writing experience had been as a foreign correspondent, Hargreaves said: “Former correspondents always think they can write about Britain as if it’s a foreign country. But you can’t do that for a domestic audience.” I felt suitably squashed.

Three years on I’ve been thinking about Hargreaves’ comment. In certain respects, he was clearly right: a British audience will not be amazed by that…

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