1996 . . . examines the year as it panned out in the UK not just in politics but in music, light entertainment and sport.
It was the zenith of a decade which will go down as remarkably untroubled by modern standards; following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, prior to 9/11, in which political conditions of peace and apparent economic prosperity created an overall mood of frivolity, postmodern anti-seriousness and a desire to get back to sunnier times before the grim onset of the strife-ridden 70s and 80s. 1996 could be seen in the UK as a subconscious recreation of the year 1966; the England football team seeking similar glory at Wembley Stadium in euro ’96, Tony Blair representing the white heat of an incoming Labour government after many years of Tory rule a la Harold Wilson, Oasis’s absolute dominance a throwback to the monomania surrounding The Beatles.
However, the author argues, this mood of retrograde optimism was a distraction, the feeling of prosperity a delusion, one compounded by the notion that now the End Of History had arrived, so had the old oppositions of Left And Right; that we were entering post-political times. They were nothing of the kind, as the future we find ourselves in today confirms.