Gathering my essays written between the early part of the 1990s and the beginning of the next decade, Even as We Speak struck me at the time as the book which marked my departure from television (I made my last programmes in 2001) and the resumption of my course as a critic, though really it was a course I had never left. (“Hitler’s Willing Executioners”, perhaps the tent-pole cultural essay in the collection, was written while I was filming on location in Mexico City: not that I suggest that such an arrangement was ideal.) But I could now do more ambitious pieces, as was marked by the book’s Introduction, which I still hold to be the nearest I got to writing a panscopic political manifesto before I published Cultural Amnesia later in the decade. I should emphasise all over again that none of this was part of a plan. I worked by instinct, in the directions that my intuition drew me --- the task, as I saw it, being mainly to say what seemed to need saying, either because it was being said wrongly or not said enough. An increasingly strong imperative was the urge to preach liberal democracy. It had occurred to me that it might die through being taken for granted, and that it needed to have its virtues defended by those of use who remembered darker times.