Bloody Nasty People, by the New Statesman's Daniel Trilling, has been longlisted for the Orwell Prize.
Here's his competition for the book prize:
Carmen Bugan Burying the Typewriter (Picador)
Marie Colvin On the Front Line (HarperPress)
Chrystia Freeland Plutocrats (Penguin)
Ben Goldacre Bad Pharma (4th Estate)
Ioan Grillo El Narco (Bloomsbury)
Richard Holloway Leaving Alexandria (Canongate Books)
Pankaj Mishra From the Ruins of the Empire (Allen Lane)
Paul Preston The Spanish Holocaust (HarperPress)
Raja Shehadeh Occupation Diaries (Profile Books)
Clive Stafford Smith Injustice (Harvill Secker)
A. T. Williams A Very British Killing (Jonathan Cape)
In his review of Daniel's book in the New Statesman, Labour MP Jon Cruddas wrote:
This is a cracking book that respectfully weaves together testimonies and stories – of people and places – with national political formations, examining them alongside the deeper economic and cultural questions posed by globalisation. Especially strong is the analysis of the cross-currents at play in the 1993 Isle of Dogs council by-election victory of Derek Beackon.... Despite our post-Olympic glow, Trilling’s book is a useful reminder of our Balkanised political landscape.
Here's an extract from the book, published in the New Statesman last year:
That evening, the far right finally managed to provoke a riot in the Asian-inhabited area of Glodwick. As national media descended on Oldham, Griffin used the opportunity to position himself as the voice of the town’s disaffected whites. He was invited on to Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme Today, drawing strong criticism from anti-fascists for breaking the BBC’s long-standing policy of “no platform” for fascist politicians. In interviews, Griffin pushed a racist interpretation of events, advocating Northern Ireland-style “peace walls” to keep communities separate. In keeping with the BNP’s new rhetoric, he claimed it was not the Asians’ colour that was the problem, it was their culture – specifically their Muslim religion:
“[Muslims are] the biggest problem at present, for several reasons, because they have the highest birth rate, which means their communities need living space – that’s what the ethnic cleansing is about. They have political corruption in their own countries, and when they have a chance to get council places they are there for graft. Most important of all is that Islam is an aggressive religion.”
At the general election, against a background of widespread apathy (a record low turnout nationally, and down by 18 per cent in the northwest), Griffin came third with 16.4 per cent of the vote. He used the night of the count for some further posturing, appearing on the platform with a gag around his mouth and a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Gagged for Telling the Truth”. It appeared to have the desired effect. As one woman told the Times, “I voted BNP and I don’t worry who knows it. Everyone in the street voted for them. This morning I feel like someone is actually fighting for the white people of Oldham, for their rights.”
Jean Seaton, director of the Prize, said:
Anybody reading newspapers this last year would think that British journalism was in a parlous state, but the entries for the Orwell Prize tell a different story. The entries were a stunning display of professional investigative brilliance. All of the judges were inspired by just how much good journalism is going on in Britain. This year’s longlisted books show just how carefully they have to be crafted. The range of writing, the passion of the research and the variety of manners in this marvellous set of books show a confident important writing culture. Go out and read them.
The shortlist will be announced on April 17, and the winners on May 15. Good luck Daniel!