I’ve just finished reading Democracy For Sale by Peter Geoghegan. It’s a fascinating and forensic analysis of the corrupting effect of dark money on British politics, and it left me thoroughly saddened: the toxic combination of big money and big tech is having a ruinous effect, and I don’t see a light at the end of this particular tunnel.
It’s a compulsively readable, carefully researched account of how a malignant combination of rightwing ideology, secretive money (much of it from the US) and weaponisation of social media have shaped contemporary British (and to a limited extent, European) politics. And it has been able to do this in what has turned out to be a regulatory vacuum – with laws, penalties and overseeing authorities that are no longer fit for purpose.
Written in crisp, vivid prose, Democracy for Sale is a dense but compelling narrative that takes us from the backstreets of Washington DC to Viktor Orbàn’s Hungary. Above all, it is a call to arms, and everyone who is concerned about our democracy should read it.
While Geoghegan remains an optimist, he does not hide the scale or urgency of the challenge. “Like the climate, democracy is fast reaching a tipping point,” he warns.