The February edition of History Today will carry an article by me on ‘Surveillance: a new British tradition’. It contrasts our acceptance of all kinds of government intrusion into our affairs today with Britain’s proud and national identity-defining anti-espionage tradition until recently. I wrote it some time ago, and it’s purely by chance that it will be appearing at a time when people may be more willing to accept domestic espionage, in the face of very real Islamist threats (Paris, 7 January). I think I’ve made it clear that I’m not necessarily advocating the same degree of ‘spylessness’ today, and I hope it won’t be taken that way. My main point is that ‘national identity’ can’t be founded on ‘history’, but is bound to change, with circumstances, through time.