My friend and fellow tax justice campaigner Dan Hind has a new book out. It's called The Magic Kingdom.
Normally I would not comment on a book until I had read it all - and I only bought this last night and have only got 25% through it but the haste is for three reasons.
The first is that as the opening salvoes of what promises to be a long and dispiriting election campaign are fired it's good to read some real political thinking about the context in which this is being staged - and Dan offers that.
Second, whilst you may not agree with what Dan says - and it is radical stuff - just seeing things from a new perspective is always powerful. He has already got me ruminating. That's unsurprising: this is original thinking.
Third, as an ebook this is 99p this week. And yes that means it's a Kindle price. The devil is being dealt with. Let's live with that reality. I'd recommend it strongly at that price.
This is the blurb as I have not got time to write my own this morning, although I would add that I think this undersells it. What I've read is riddled with good quotes.
Anyone who knows anything about Britain knows that it is a democracy and a constitutional monarchy. The trouble is, it is neither. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is one of the most exotic nations on earth. In the republican form of government a defined public exercise sovereign power. Most modern states describe themselves as democratic republics. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is an anomaly, in that formal sovereignty is still denied to its people. In The Magic Kingdom Dan Hind explores what the republican tradition has to offer the British at a time of deep political, social and economic dislocation. He considers what innovations are necessary if liberty is to be secured in current conditions. His argument will surprise many who consider themselves republicans. It will upset those who benefit from the current arrangements. It offers a way forward for those who can no longer tolerate steepening inequality and its associated ills. Existing republican institutions have not been able to deliver public control of the state. If substantive democracy is to be possible in large and complex societies, the systems of communication, subsidy and credit must be made subject to popular oversight and control. In a disarmingly calm manner, Hind shows how this can be done, by minor adjustments to the existing institutions. Perhaps, unlikely as it sounds, Britain will provide the venue for the world's first truly republican society.