William Davies, This is Not Normal: The Collapse of Liberal Britain – Verso, August 2020
What just happened and how did we get into this mess?
Since 2016, the UK has been in a crisis of its own making; this is not the fault of Brexit but of a larger problem of our politics. The status of political parties, the mainstream media, public experts and officials have all been disrupted. Along the way, there have been shocking and exhilarating events: the unforeseen 2017 election result, the horrific details of Grenfell Tower and the Windrush scandal, the sudden rise and fall of the Brexit Party. As the ‘mainstream’ of politics and media has come under attack, the basic norms of public life have been thrown into question.
This Is Not Normal takes stock of a historical moment that no longer recognises itself. Davies tells the story of the apparently chaotic and irrational events, and extracts their underlying logic and long-term causes. What we are seeing are the effects of the 2008 financial crash, the failure of the British neoliberal project, the dying of Empire, and the impact of the changes that technology and communications have had on the idea of the public sphere as well as the power of information. This is an essential book for anyone who wants to make sense of this current moment.