I am currently working on my first solo book, published by Verso and provisionally titled “Owned: How our lives became assets (and how to reclaim them).” The book makes the case that the ‘winners’ in the UK and global economy tend to amass wealth by owning things, rather than by doing things. As the economy has been oriented around the interests of these ‘landlords’, we ourselves have become dependent on them to go about our daily lives. If we want to achieve good lives for all within ecological limits, we urgently need to reclaim control through democratic ownership solutions which put meeting human needs ahead of extracting rent.
By telling the stories of people already working to do this – from community land trusts to fan-owned football clubs, childcare co-ops to global knowledge networks – the book will paint a picture of what a democratically owned economy might look like. But it will also seriously engage with the challenges of scaling these solutions, arguing that only a new social contract between state and community can hope to displace the power of the landlords and build an economy fit for us to live in.
People Get Ready!
My first co-authored book, “People Get Ready!” (authored with Joe Guinan, O/R Books 2019), focussed on the challenges that would face an incoming radical government with a commitment to transforming the UK economy. Whilst the book was written for a specific political moment, when a Corbyn-led Labour government seemed a realistic possibility, many of the issues it raises – from capital markets turbulence to civil service reform – are of wider relevance to governments of both left and right in our era of ongoing crisis and instability. People Get Ready! was named one of the Guardian’s top politics books of 2019, and was also covered by the Evening Standard and the Economist.
I am represented by the James Lockhart agency.
In recent years I have been a regular contributor to Guardian Opinion, and have also written occasionally for the Independent, openDemocracy, Tribune, Red Pepper and the Verso blog. Most of my writing work is on pause at the moment as I focus on transitioning back into work following an extended period out of action with long covid. You can find the full archive of my articles for these publications at the links above.
I hugely enjoyed being one of Autonomy’s first writers in residence, and am very grateful to them for giving me a unique space to explore many of the ideas and themes covered in my upcoming book. You can view the full series of six short essays on asset ownership here.
I am also a regular contributor to journals such as Renewal (where I am a contributing editor) and Political Quarterly. A full list of my most recent journal articles is below.
Labour’s ‘Everyday Economy’: Why, how and for whom? (Political Quarterly Nov 2022)
The Conservatives’ political economy: ‘State rentier capitalism’ or old wine in new bottles? (Renewal 30/2, with Laurie Macfarlane)
‘A Mood in the Air … Like 1945’: Democratic socialism and the post-Corbyn Labour Party (Political Quarterly Apr 2021)
Political economy and Labour’s factionalism (Renewal 29/2)
My blog houses general musings on life, politics, spirituality, long covid and everything in between.