The key issue for most commentators was the reversion to an ‘Our Island Story’ narrative. This was a history book for children written by Henrietta Marshall in 1905 where British history was understood only in terms of the events that took place within the territorial bounds of the nation. What ‘Our Island Story’ misses, however, is that at the height of the British Empire in the early twentieth century, the UK governed over at least one quarter of the Earth’s land territory and over one fifth of its total population.
The idea that this broader context is irrelevant is to present a parochial, distorted vision of our collective past. How we represent the past is central to the politics of the present. It should be no surprise that the promotion of such a narrow and exclusive history brings narrow-minded policies in its wake.