From the Great Depression to the pandemic, a new history of British democracy, revealing how politics is transformed through fear.
Over Britain’s first century of mass democracy, politics has lurched from crisis to crisis. How does this history of political agony illuminate our current age of upheaval?
To find out, journalist Phil Tinline takes us back to two past eras when the ruling consensus broke down, and the future filled with ominous possibilities – until, finally, a new settlement was born. How did the Great Depression’s spectres of fascism, bombing and mass unemployment force politicians to think the unthinkable, and pave the way to post-war Britain? How was Thatcher’s road to victory made possible by a decade of nightmares: of hyperinflation, military coups and communist dictatorship? And why, since the Crash in 2008, have new political threats and divisions forced us to change course once again?
Tinline brings to life those times, past and present, when the great compromise holding democracy together has come apart; when the political class has been forced to make a choice of nightmares. This lively, original account of panic and chaos reveals how apparent catastrophes can clear the path to a new era. The Death of Consensus will make you see British democracy differently.