The 2016 Brexit vote was in part a plea and protest from Britain’s regions against metropolitan hegemony. Ordinary towns felt forgotten and disenfranchised. In this pithy book, the Tory thinker David Skelton looks at how this loss of faith in the social contract can be mended. He identifies a populace that is no longer centrist in its views and how a mixture of initiatives, from community-based social reform and private enterprise, to greater devolution and reindustrialisation, can put things right. His is a call for revamped One Nation Conservatism.
Biteback Publishing, 304pp, £12.99
Prayer for the Living
Ben Okri ranges widely in this collection of 23 stories. His cast of characters includes a murderer, a man in the mirror, a prison door and even Okri himself. The settings meanwhile take in London and Byzantium, Lagos and the Andes. An air of magic hovers over many of the tales – a doll’s house that comes alive, a tulip salesman who seems to resemble one of his flowers – while others have the familiar cadences of fairy tales. Some are very short, a scenario rather than a story, while others develop their otherworldliness more fully. What really makes a tale, Okri shows, is how it is told.
Head of Zeus, 240pp, £14.99
Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation
The 2008 financial crash was not an aberration but the inevitable result of a system in which banks had become the masters rather than the servants of the economy. In her incisive debut book, Grace Blakeley charts the historical origins of the crisis and outlines a vision of a democratic socialist alternative. Today’s left must draw inspiration not from New Labour, she contends, but from the early Thatcherites of the 1970s and lead a counter-revolution. For those who relish, or fear, that prospect, Blakeley’s book is essential reading.
Repeater Books, 300pp, £10.99
This article appears in the 20 Nov 2019 issue of the New Statesman, They think it’s all over