The New Politics of the People
A gripping and urgent insider's tour based on exceptional access to the radical political movements that are transforming Britain’s future.
"One of the most important and compelling books I've ever read, by one of Britain's most gifted writers. If you want to understand why we are in this crisis, listen to the voices all too often airbrushed from the political conversation" OWEN JONES
Now We Have Your Attention makes sense of what is happening in British politics by taking a radically different perspective: the people’s.
From a warehouse in Manchester to a pub in Essex, from the outskirts of Glasgow to a racecourse in Durham, Jack Shenker uncovers the root causes of our current crisis and the future direction of British politics through the lives of ordinary individuals. Taking us deep into communities hollowed out by austerity and decades of economic disadvantage, among a generation crippled by precarious work and unaffordable housing, he shows where the chaos at Westminster ultimately springs from – and how disillusionment with it is fuelling a passionate engagement with politics of a completely different kind: local, personal, effective and utterly fearless.
Joining a ‘McStrike’ protest on a roundabout in Cambridge and a gathering of the London Renters’ Union in the aftermath of Grenfell, meeting hard-right bloggers in Newcastle and climate change protesters in Brighton, Shenker draws on exceptional access to campaign groups, activist movements and grassroots gatherings throughout the country – including unique access to Momentum, who have re-radicalised the Labour party from the outside in – to introduce us to the citizens and leaders of tomorrow: people who are changing things for themselves.
Inspiring and terrifying in equal measure, Now We Have Your Attention uncovers a revolutionary transformation in attitudes and behaviour, and a future that will shape us all.
“One of the most important and compelling books I've ever read, by one of Britain's most gifted writers. If you want to understand why we are in this crisis, listen to the voices all too often airbrushed from the political conversation" OWEN JONES”
“An exploration of a nation in distress, touching on many of the key fractures that have opened in British society [and] the energy and vision of activists seeking to build something different … skilfully compiled through the first-hand stories of the protagonists … told with great sensitivity and empathy … deeply moving … [George Packer’s] The Unwinding is the closest comparison. Shenker is an excellent guide and an elegant writer … urgent' WILLIAM DAVIES, Guardian”
William Davies, Guardian
“For Jack Shenker, understanding the Brexit vote and the transformation of party politics means looking for answers where others have failed to tread... The author’s passion – and the defiance of his subjects – is infectious. You have to applaud him for finding the untold stories behind the rolling omnishambles that is British politics in 2019”
Dan Hancox, Observer
“A beautifully written piece of cultural analysis … does an excellent job of providing deep historical context … Shenker has a powerful ability to tell stories that are resonant and arresting … Hope is what makes Now We Have Your Attention distinctive. Shenker finds many groups that … are doing what only social movements can do: dramatically widen … the range of ideas deemed acceptable in public discourse and policy debate”
Joan C. Williams, Times Literary Supplement
“Jack Shenker’s elegantly written book not only describes how the calamity of Britain today was long in the making, it outlines a future about which one can reasonably feel hope" PANKAJ MISHRA”
“With scrupulous probing and sensitive interpretation, this penetrating inquiry lays bare the malaise of deindustrialization and austerity in Britain... The picture that unfolds is shocking, but also inspiring, with rays of hope that a better future may be within reach”
“Compelling… [Now We Have Your Attention is] a significant democratic intervention”
Jon Cruddas, Prospect
“Its central feature is its attentiveness – to people and to places often overlooked. In a work that chronicles inspiring acts of resistance, the care that defines Shenker’s prose feels like its own quiet act of solidarity… The new politics of the people, as the book’s subtitle puts it, may not yet have any definite form: it is emergent rather than dominant, contested, vulnerable. But it is the best hope we’ve got. And in Jack Shenker’s book, it has a document equal to its ambitions and to its fortitude”
Tim Schneider, Red Pepper