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Politics has never been more unpredictable. Radical populists and insurgents have turned politics-as-usual on its head. Rebel explores how we got here, where we are heading and what we can do about it.
Douglas Carswell argues that these insurgencies are a reaction against the emergence of a political and economic oligarchy that has subverted our democracy and stifled our market system. 'Politics,' he writes, 'is a cartel. Like the economy, it is rigged in the interests of a few.' This leaves our liberal, democratic order – the mechanism that has allowed a historically unprecedented proportion of humanity to flourish – facing a twin assault: oligarchs on the one hand, radical populists on the other.
Reassessing history and politics, Rebel puts forward a bold new thesis: we are not the first to face such a threat. Oligarchic cartels have clogged the arteries of nations and economies throughout history, triggering radical insurgencies in protest. But all too often the radicals have strengthened the hand of the oligarchs: the Roman, Venetian and Dutch republics all succumbed to cartels. 'Anti-oligarch radicals,' the author notes, 'have often made the oligarchs seem the more attractive option.' So, too, today, he suggests.
In the face of these twin threats, Carswell mounts a robust defence of the liberal, democratic order. Drawing on his first-hand experience in taking on – and beating – the established political parties, he proposes a profound reform of politics and capitalism to free us from the cartels, listing the practical steps needed to make this revolutionary change happen.
About the author(s)
Douglas Carswell grew up in Uganda. After working in television and the City, Carswell stood against Tony Blair at the 2001 General Election. The MP for Clacton since 2005, he is the author of The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain (with Daniel Hannan) and The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy.