A personal journey through a nation whose character is being lost to the homogenising forces of globalisation and a top-heavy state
‘I occasionally say of a book that it is important, and that everyone should read it; this time I say so more emphatically than ever.’ - Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian, Paperback of the Week
In 2003, I wrote a book which looked at how economic globalisation was flattening historic cultures and human independence from Brazil to Indonesia. Then I came back home, and saw precisely the same thing happening to my own country. I wanted to find out why, and what the impacts were and what could be done.
Real England was the result. I spent another nine months travelling the highways and waterways of my home nation, visiting and speaking with people as I did so. I went to threatened street markets and squatted cafes, privatised city centres and occupied boatyards, ancient orchards and giant shopping malls, and I built up a picture of a nation losing its identity and the people fighting back against this trend.
Real England made made something of an impact. It was quoted in speeches by David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury and it led to me getting involved in any number of related projects, from talking to London think tankers about English identity to being invited by the director of the play Jerusalem to talk to the cast about the issues the book raises, and write an article for the programme.