After decades of institutional stasis, British politics is in flux. Shock election results, Brexit, constitutional chaos, new parties, leaders and governments fill the airwaves, while the pundits we traditionally rely upon to navigate the political terrain on our behalf are throwing up their hands in confusion. Most commentators continue to fixate on the personalities and parlour-games at Westminster – the earthquakes and volcanoes on the surface – rather than asking how and why the tectonic plates beneath are shifting so dramatically. To understand the roots of our current chaos, and the fierce struggles over what will emerge from it, a different approach is urgently needed.
Jack Shenker’s latest book, ‘Now We Have Your Attention: The New Politics Of The People’, is an alternative map of the tumult. From Essex to Newcastle and Kensington to Oldham, from a dank club night in Brighton to a shabby shop-front in Glasgow, almost four hundred miles north, Shenker travels deep into the lived experiences of individuals and communities right across the country to uncover the ways in which the old politics is falling apart, and the spaces in which rival futures are being fought for. Featuring some of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic new political movements he reveals how the collapse of a paradigm that has structured our world for forty years fuelling political engagement of a completely different sort: local, personal, effective and utterly fearless.
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