The Social Distance Between Us (Paperback)
  • The Social Distance Between Us (Paperback)
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The Social Distance Between Us (Paperback)

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Paperback 400 Pages
Published: 04/05/2023
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Waterstones Says

The trailblazing author of the Orwell Prize-winning Poverty Safari delivers an eloquent and impassioned polemic about the remoteness of Britain's political class from the people whose lives their decisions most affect.

Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2023

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?

Publisher: Ebury Publishing
ISBN: 9781529103885
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 260 g
Dimensions: 194 x 126 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

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 - John Harris, Observer (Book of the Week)

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 - The Times

Breaks your heart and boils your blood - The Big Issue

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 - Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

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. - Susan Dalgety, The Scotsman

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