The Social Affairs Unit

Print Version • Website Home • Weblog Home


Use the buttons below to change the style and font size of our site.
Screen version     Print version:   
Category: Modern society & cultural change

A Short History of Britain

short_hist_of_britain.gif
Jeremy Black, 2007
ISBN 978 1 904863 23 6
£10

A Short History of Britain covers an enormous sweep of time - from the mists of prehistory to the present day. And yet, as he surveys the countless years, Professor Jeremy Black - one of the UK's leading historians - never loses sight of his main theme: the trends that have made Britain what it is - exceptional. Not in any jingoistic way, but in the sense that, right from prehistoric times, the geography, the topography, the demography have all moulded the British character and contributed to the way we have evolved and to the way we are now. Of late, there has been a tendency in government and the media to dwell on those aspects of our being that are shared with other countries; but the history of other countries is not our history. And Britain's history readily stands comparison with the history of any other country. With its broadly chronological structure, A Short History of Britain does not shy away from dates, people and events. And, as such, it is a handy work of ready reference. But it is so much more than that. In his trademark pithy style, Jeremy Black brings an extra dimension to the history of our nation: he reminds us vividly what we should cherish about our past and, more particularly, what we are in such grave danger of losing.

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

The English at Table

The English at table (cover).gif
Digby Anderson, 2006
ISBN 1 904863 18 3
£16.99

The modern English congratulate themselves that their food is rather good - they claim that Britain has undergone a culinary renaissance. In The English at Table Digby Anderson surveys England's eating habits and finds that these claims are all nonsense. English food remains as bad as it has ever been. The English at Table documents the awfulness of English food and the shallowness of English food culture. The English at Table is illustrated by The Spectator's cartoon editor, Michael Heath.

Digby Anderson, earning himself the title "England's most violent cook", has written about food for The Spectator, National Review, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, and New York Times. He was also Director of the Social Affairs Unit from 1980 until February 2004.

"Parts of this book really do read as written by a monster".
Leading UK food publisher

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

The Politically-Correct Gospel

PC Gospel
Peter Mullen, 2006
ISBN 1 904863 17 5
£11.99

If the original gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written today, they would never get published. They are far too politically incorrect.

As part of his ministry, Rev’d Dr Peter Mullen - Rector of St. Michael’s, Cornhill and Chaplain to the Stock Exchange - has felt compelled to compile an updated Gospel that is relevant to the modern age. It is The Politically-Correct Gospel, the only gospel that could find a publisher in our enlightened age. This new gospel is accessible, inclusive and socially-engaged.

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

The Muslim and the Microphone: Miscommunications in the War on Terror


S. J. Masty, 2006
ISBN 1 904863 11 6
£20

At home and abroad, the war against terrorism can only be won in two ways - stop young Muslims from becoming terrorists, or get their friends, family and neighbours to inform the police. We are losing that war, and terrorist recruiters are winning - argues S J Masty - because the West bungles its communications to the Muslim world, often by accident but sometimes intentionally due to conflicting objectives. S J Masty, international expert in strategic communications and long-time observer of Islamic affairs, describes why the war is being lost, how Western messages alienate Muslim audiences. He recommends structural reforms in the way Western governments communicate in response to domestic political pressures, and how to improve content to stop making enemies needlessly.

"If you want to know why terrorism all too easily finds favourable terrain read S J Masty's excellent book."

Nick Danziger - author of Danziger's Travels and Danziger's Britain

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

From Rushdie to 7/7: The Radicalisation of Islam in Britain

from_rushdie_to_7-7.gif
Anthony McRoy, 2006
ISBN 1 904863 09 4
£20

From Rushdie to 7/7: The Radicalisation of Islam in Britain is the first book to offer an authoritative and comprehensive overview of what has led to the radicalisation of Islam in Britain. The book analyses the key events - including the Rushdie, Gulf and Bosnian crises, the second Palestinian intifada, 9/11 and the Iraq War - which have led to this radicalisation.

From Rushdie to 7/7 explains how this radicalisation created the environment for the 7/7 bombings. The book also explains the various religious and ideological bases for Islamic attitudes to jihad and democracy.

From Rushdie to 7/7 also offers a comprehensive overview of Islamic groups in the UK. It explains the different standpoints and histories of groups from the Muslim Council of Britain via the Muslim Association of Britain to Hizb ut-Tahrir and the supporters of Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri Muhammad.

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

Mr Blair's Messiah Politics: Or what happened when Bambi tried to save the World

mrblair.jpg
Richard D. North, 2006
ISBN 1 904863 10 8
£11.99

Mr Blair’s Messiah Politics: Or what happened when Bambi tried to save the world shows how a personal sense of mission led Tony Blair to concentrate power in his own hands as he re-imagined Britain from top to bottom – before going on to save the world.

In seeking to fight third-world poverty, tackle climate change and topple tyrannies, Blair has framed goals that truly merit the term ‘messianic’.

Blair’s Messiah Politics mixed idealism with ballot-box cunning. Bemused and outwitted, the media became a tool of the PM. New Labour’s careerist party ceded power to the great vote-winner. The electorate was charmed by his disingenuous earnestness. The institutions of state became subservient to the whims of Number 10.

Along the way, we have seen an actor-manager play the ardent campaigner, the world-weary statesman, the Therapist-in-Chief. Manager, missionary, military leader: these roles have all suited Tony Blair.

This book shows us how to avoid a future Tony Blair: the public needs to be sceptical of personal power; MPs need to reassert their authority; Civil Servants need to rediscover their allegiance to the Crown. By these simple measures, we can guard against Messiah Politics, whether Blair’s or anyone else’s.

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

Decadence: The Passing of Personal Virtue and its Replacement by Political and Psychological Slogans

decadence.jpgDigby Anderson, 2005
ISBN 1 904863 04 3
£20

Britain, Europe and the United States are decadent societies in a special sense of that word. They have traded in an old morality that served them well throughout their civilisation for a new, experimental quasi-morality. The old morality had well-known virtues, courage, love, fairness, honesty and prudence. The new ‘virtues’ are equality, anti-discrimination, environmental concern, self-affirmation, a ‘caring’ attitude, and a critical mindset.

The old were genuine virtues; they required specific behaviours of individuals. The new are quasi or bogus virtues. Some, such as equality, are political policies rather than features of personal conduct. Environmentalism is an arena in which virtue may be exercised not a virtue themselves. Transparency in business is a way of revealing virtue not a virtue. Some are slogans: they make rhetorical appeals to moral indignations. Others such as self-affirmation would once have been regarded as a vice.

One of the best known bad exchanges is that of Aladdin’s lamp. Aladdin’s princess wife, not knowing his old, dusty lamp is a magic one is persuaded to exchange it for a bright new one. The exchange of a dusty, old but well-proven morality for a bright, new quasi-morality is an even worse deal. This book shows how good the old one was and how empty the glittering new one is. But there is something worse than the new set of quasi-virtues, and that is the exchange itself. The princess gave away Aladdin’s lamp in ignorance of its magic powers. Our society has given up its priceless set of virtues in the face of ample evidence of their goodness and practicality. Indeed, it may be that it is this very goodness with which society is so uneasy. A shiny bauble morality is so much easier to live with.

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

Rich is Beautiful: A Very Personal Defence of Mass Affluence

Rich is beautiful cover
Richard D. North, 2005
ISBN 1 904863 02 7
£20

In the last ten years there has been a torrent of writing which deplores the Western economic model and the Consumer Society. Will Hutton, Naomi Klein, George Monbiot, Joseph Stiglitz and many others have made their names accusing the neo-liberal world of brutalising the well-off and poor alike.

In Rich Is Beautiful: A very personal defence of Mass Affluence, Richard D North takes on this assault and – drawing on a huge range of material – defends Western life. Where it fails, he says, it is because citizens fail in their manners and morals - they are not sufficiently grateful for the great advantages capitalism, industry, science and democracy have brought them.

With great wit, North argues that we fail ‘the system’, ‘the system’ doesn't fail us.

What's more, the Third World needs lots more ‘neo-liberal’ capitalism.

This book also addresses the latest complaints from soft-left ‘liberals’:

  • That we are getting less happy as we get richer;
  • That we are suffering from ‘Status Anxiety’;
  • That we have too much choice.

Richard D. North says this is all nonsense. In the modern world, almost everyone has unparalleled opportunities to live the ‘deliberate’ or the ‘examined’ life, just as philosophers down the ages have hoped we might.

Drawing on movies, TV shows and popular culture - and much hard data too, North powerfully argues that the soft-left ‘liberal’ world of media, academia and politics have created much of the misery they blame on capitalism.

“This book takes on an impossible task. It defends the greed and materialism of the present age and says that it is good - for everybody (what people used to call the Trickle Down Effect, or what I called the ‘Champagne Fountain Effect!’). If you want to see the indefensible argued with vigour, Richard D. North is your man. And he’s funny. He is our very own P J O'Rourke.”

Peter York, co-author, The Sloane Ranger Handbook.

"Logical yet impassioned, utterly politically incorrect yet splendidly right, Richard D. North has broken one of the great taboos of modern society in this inspiring, liberating book."

Andrew Roberts

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

All Oiks Now: The unnoticed surrender of Middle England


Digby Anderson, 2004
ISBN 1 904863 00 0
£9.95

Once Middle England was as immovable as a rock. It was a minority but a sizeable one. Now, however, as far as public life is concerned, it has surrendered to the oiks

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

The Right to Joke


Christie Davies, 2004
RESEARCH REPORT 37
ISBN 0 907631 21 5
£6

Argues that those who support the censorship of jokes massively exaggerate their impact

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

The War on Wisdom. Wisdom versus expertise in facing life’s problems

Edited by Digby Anderson, 2003
ISBN 0 907631 98 3
£15.95

Western civilization is built on wisdom, the best that its past generations have thought. That wisdom is now under attack and if this assault succeeds – because Western society is built on wisdom – Western society will, as have all other great civilizations, fall.

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

Not Fit to Fight: The cultural subversion of the armed forces in Britain and America

book_notfittofight.gif
Edited by Gerald Frost, 1999
ISBN: 0 907631819
80 pages, £11.95

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

Faking It - The Sentimentalisation of Modern Society

book_faking-it.jpg
Edited by Digby Anderson & Peter Mullen, 1998
ISBN 0 907631 75 4
217 pages, £15.95

‘The more people who read this book the better’ Sunday Telegraph

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

Come Back Miss Nightingale: Trends in professions today

Edited by Digby Anderson, 1998
ISBN: 0 907631797
110 pages, £11.95

• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

Loyalty Misplaced - misdirected virtue and social disintegration

book_loyaltymisplaced.gif
Edited by Gerald Frost, 1997
ISBN 0 907631 70 3
125 pages, £12.95

A discussion of the fissiparous tendencies in modern society, suggesting a range of contributory factors
• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

Gentility Recalled - ‘mere’ manners and the making of social order

Edited by Digby Anderson, 1996
ISBN 0 907631 66 5
206 pages, £12.95

‘Addresses some real problems’ The Guardian
• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

This Will Hurt - the restoration of virtue and civic order

book_thiswillhurt.gif
Edited by Digby Anderson, 1995
ISBN 0 907631 63 0
183 pages, £15.95

‘Reflects a strong trend in public debate, a move away from the economic preoccupations of the 1980s to concern for the social fabric… It is a merit of This Will Hurt that the authors confront the difficulties involved.’ Sunday Telegraph
• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book

The Loss of Virtue - moral confusion and social disorder in Britain and America

book_lossofvirtue.gif
Edited by Digby Anderson, 1992
ISBN 0 907631 50 9
258 pages, £12.95

‘Cogent, brave and timely’ Catholic Herald
• Category: Modern society & cultural change
Order this book