If you are the sort of person who loves discussing politics over a bottle of wine, you will enjoy this book. Steve Richards draws upon his close experience of western politics over many years to analyse and explain the recent seismic shifts in the political landscape. His commentary compares the situation in the UK, US and several Western European democracies to offer a theory of what lies behind the apparent chaos.

The book looks at the individuals and groups who have risen to power, who claim to be ‘outsiders’ rather than part of the political establishment. Richards challenges whether this representation – of these groups as outsiders- is valid. He considers the factors that have contributed to their rise, not only their appeal to voters but also the prevailing circumstances prior to their ascent which have paved the way for their success.

He explores the reasons for the apparent disconnect between voters and those seen as the political establishment and has interesting things to say about globalization and immigration. He also discusses the aftermath of 2008’s financial crisis and the reliance of mainstream political parties to occupy the centre ground, rather than coming up with new approaches to different issues.

His views on the role and behaviour of the media are well expressed with many examples. The impact he believes this group has had on electoral outcomes is both fascinating and concerning.

If there is anything to criticise in this book, it is the editing; or rather the lack of it, which means it could be more structured. However, the conversational, meandering tone does makes it perfect fodder for one of those late evening debates amongst friends which so many of us enjoy.

Rachel Tunicliffe

By Rachel Tunnicliffe, Partner and Head of Trusts Wills and Estates at Raworths

Steve Richards is appearing at Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival on Sunday 22nd October at 6.30pm. Find out more and book now.