The national front

Dark days for Britain: London, Burning, by Anthony Quinn, reviewed

Not long ago, a group of psychologists analysing data about national happiness discovered that the British were at their unhappiest in 1978. Reading Anthony Quinn’s enjoyable novel set in that year and early 1979, it’s not difficult to see why. In case you’ve forgotten, strikes were spreading like wildfire. The National Front were reaching a peak of popularity. Most alarming of all, the Provisional IRA were expanding their bomb attacks on mainland Britain. There were compensations. Kate Bush’s whiny lament ‘Wuthering Heights’ was released in 1978, and there was a new Pinter at the National Theatre (Betrayal). Punk rock was going commercial. One of the characters in London, Burning turns