‘It is a great night. It is the end of socialism.’ Margaret Thatcher, 10 April 1992 Twenty years on from 1992and the effects are still being felt. Some of these are so global in their scale that they can not be ignored. It was, for example, the year when the Maastricht Treaty was signed, setting in train the process of creating a single European currency, and when Yugoslavia imploded in a series of brutal civil wars, an event that brought into being the doctrine of liberal interventionism, still depressingly evident in Afghanistan today. It was also, less obviously, the year when a generation finally turned its back on politics. These were the people born a few years either side of 1960 – the biggest demographic bulge in British history – whose adult political experience was of a seemingly permanent Conservative government. Disillusioned by the unexpected victory of the Tories in the 1992 general election, this generation turned its attention instead to capturing the commanding heights of national culture. For a brief period, it was successful, creating a cultural renaissance that reshaped the identity of the country. In the process, however, it sowed the seeds of its own destruction, while its absence from politics ceded the field to a group of homogenised professional politicians, who were allowed to emerge unchallenged. This is the story of that generation, refracted through some of the key cultural moments of 1992. Alwyn W. Turner is the author of a number of acclaimed books on modern British culture, including Crisis? What Crisis?: Britain in the 1970s, Rejoice! Rejoice!: Brtain in the 1980s, Halfway to Paradise and The Biba Experience.
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Published March 22, 2012
by Aurum Press.