"Now we are in a relative time of peace, yet you write of this century as being 'anguished.' 'Our anguished 21st century.' Given the long sweep of you life, when you look at the United States, or indeed, the UK's decision to leave the EU, what is your assessment of the way that powers are shifting ?"
Jan : "It's a mess and a muddle isn't it ? We're none of us sure, quite, of anything : a path to take or destination to aim at."
Mishal : "When you consider Brexit and the decision to leave the EU, you, a historian of the British Empire, what do you think it says about the UK's place in the world ?"
Jan : "I think it is complete abdication of our place in the world or, indeed, if we want that place in the world. We've turned into a totally different sort of nation altogether. So, nationally, I've never seen this country in such a pitiful muddle."
Mishal : "Can you see a route that might work, that doesn't lead to a pitiful conclusion ?"
Jan : "No. If you count 'pitiful' meaning 'less than ever place in the world', no, I think that is absolutely inevitable."
"The Japanese who had been reduced by then, chiefly, to to fighting their war by means of kamikaze air pilots, they'd' run out of those. They hadn't got kamikaze pilots any more, but they had this one great ship, which they decided to use as the ultimate kamikaze pilot, so to speak, and to send it into action against overwhelming American forces and sink itself in the course of its final action with the loss of almost all of the 3000 men on board."
It is with supreme irony that Jan's greatest work, which focused on the Britain at its zenith as the premier world power, should now in its nadir and "complete abdication" of its place in the world and a country in a "pitiful muddle", should write about the fate of the Yamato. It could well be a metaphor for the fate of Britain which is also involved in a suicide mission as it attempts to cleave itself from the European Union and win a victory in a senseless and unwinnable 'I Want My Country Back' War.