I missed almost all of this, but caught the conclusion. Portillo’s point seems to be that the Great War eclipses the social and political upheaval that was happening in the years before, and in some cases the War inhibited change. This is in direct contradiction with one of the popular views of this war, that 1914 was a watershed between an idyllic Edwardian past, and brutal future. I really like Portillo on TV and Radio, wish he’d decided on that career when he left university!
1913: The Year Before on Radio 4.