Book Review: Who Are We Now: Jason Cowley

Lifestyle / Mon 12th Sep 2022 pm30 01:38pm

Who Are We Now by Jason Cowley

THE REVIEW of this book came about as Jason Cowley happened to be strolling past the reviewer’s house near Harlow Common.

We have known the editor of the New Statesmen for a number of years and have always been humbled when he name checks YourHarlow.

Jason’s own journey from Prentice Place to the editor of The New Statesman has more in common with the pioneers of Harlow.

Jason was brought up above Prentice Place and his time in Harlow is at the heart of a number of chapters.

There is a chapter on the battle to keep Osler House surgery open and what that meant for the idea ands spirit of Harlow New Town. Jason’s Auntie Connie became a cause celebre as part of the ill-fated campaign.

There is also a chapter on the “Brexit killing” and its place in our culture in 2016 and beyond.

Many of the other chapters are based on different incidents, different individuals and what they said about our country in 2022.

Gillian Duffy, The Imam of Finsbury Park, Patrick Hutchinson. After the first paragraph of each chapter, you say to yourself “I remember her/him” and then the chapter gives you an opportunity to reflect on what that incident said about 21st century England.

The conclusion seems to be that twenty two years into a century and there have been significant changes. Not as significant as the first twenty two years of the previous century. But then again, by the end of the war, we realised, but may not have admitted that Britain was done as a world power. There are some who are still fighting that battle. Perfectly illustrated in all the references to Brexit.

This is such a well written book and should be required reading for History and Politics students so that they may look back on the last twenty years and have a helpful guide to where we are heading.

But perhaps, it is should read by people who voted Leave in 2016 as they “didn’t want to be with all the other people”. Maybe we should asking them “who are you now?”

This is a very human book about the human condition in England in 2022. If there was ever an extra chapter, then we are witnessing it just now with the death of the monarch and the accession of a new one.

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4 Comments for Book Review: Who Are We Now: Jason Cowley:

2022-09-13 19:01:50

I remember the days spent with Jason and Alison at Auntie Connie's house when they visited. I was a friend of Jason's cousin Lisa!

David Forman
2022-09-13 22:04:24

Interesting reference to "Brexit Killing" that actually turned out to be a burly, intoxicated Polish man racially abusing a black British teenager with the N-word and a white British lad standing up for his black mate, but unfortunately using a bit too much aggression. An otherwise uplifting story of multiculturalism turned on its head to suit a metropolitan elite's stereotypical view of the white British working class voting for Brexit as a racist endeavour. No wonder the mainstream press swept the aftermath of that story under the proverbial carpet.

David Forman
2022-09-13 22:35:31

Correction: the mainstream media with the exception of this Sun article by the talented journalist Brendan O'Neill: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4487050/polish-death-not-brexit-hate-crime/

Chris Snow
2022-09-14 09:04:02

Recommend reading his 'Reaching for Utopia' book, which is also framed by his Harlow upbringing. Really thoughtful writing. Nice to know he still visits Harlow!

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