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The Social Distance Between Us by Darren McGarvey
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The Social Distance Between Us

How Remote Politics Wrecked Britain

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Narrator Darren McGarvey

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Length 15 hours 28 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

Britain is in a long-distance relationship with reality...

From poverty and policing, homelessness and overrun prisons to Grenfell and hostile environments, Britain has long been failing those who need our help the most. There is arguably one unifying theme that links all these afflictions: proximity. Proximity is how close we are to the action and how that affects how we assess, relate to and address whatever that action happens to be. Almost every job requires a level of experience and training with the notable exception of the most powerful people in the country - our political class.

So this is a book about the distance, whether geographical, economic, or cultural, between those who make decisions and the people on the receiving end of them. The distance between the affluent and the poor, how their interests and values diverge, and the assumptions they make about each other's experiences and intentions in the absence of any meaningful interaction. How even those with the noblest aims, inadvertently cause harm as a result of their social remoteness and fail to advance anybody's interests but their own misguided ones.

Could Britain's problem be, not that there is a lot of inequality, but that for generations, a small group of people, who know little about it, have been charged with discussing, debating, and sorting it out? At what point do we look for answers, not to the people who are hardest up, but the apparently educated and sophisticated, whose dominance of Britain's institutions has been virtually unbroken for centuries?

Praise for Darren McGarvey:


'The standout, authentic voice of a generation' Herald

'Utterly compelling' Ian Rankin, New Statesman

'Brilliant' Russell Brand

'An absolutely fascinating individual' Owen Jones

'Offer[s] an antidote to populist anger that transcends left and right... articulate and emotional' Financial Times

'McGarvey is a rarity: a working-class writer who has fought to make the middle-class world hear what he has to say' Nick Cohen, Guardian


ยฉ Darren McGarvey 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022

Darren McGarvey grew up in Pollok, Glasgow. He is a writer, hip-hop artist, broadcaster and campaigner. His bestselling and acclaimed first book Poverty Safari was awarded the Orwell Prize for political writing in 2018.

Darren McGarvey grew up in Pollok, Glasgow. He is a writer, hip-hop artist, broadcaster and campaigner. His bestselling and acclaimed first book Poverty Safari was awarded the Orwell Prize for political writing in 2018.

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Reviews

Vital and indispensable. Documents how we succeeded in creating a 21st century ruling class who - in their complacency, their lack of engagement, their blinkered ideology and dead-hand managerialism - are themselves, now, the principal source of the social problems they so confidently locate elsewhere, and which they therefore cannot even begin to solve An essential read for every politician, civil servant, councillor, charity worker, police officer and teacher. [An] angry, but controlled, expose of the wide gap between Britain's decision-makers and those most affected by their thoughtless, stupid or selfish actions. This is McGarvey at his best, asking discomfiting questions of many-most?-of his readers and also pointing out that class inequality is endlessly reproduced by people who either do well out of it or are too institutionalised to see what is in front of them. The quality of McGarvey's reporting and storytelling is first-rate... he makes no end of astute points Breaks your heart and boils your blood An Orwell for today's poor... By the end readers will be left in no doubt about the fact that our society is still riven by class inequality Expand reviews
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