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Surveys show a lack of trust in political actors and institutions across much of the democratic world. Populist politicians and parties attempt to capitalise on this political disaffection. Commentators worry about our current 'age of anti-politics'. Focusing on the United Kingdom, using responses to public opinion surveys alongside diaries and letters collected by Mass Observation, this book takes a long view of anti-politics going back to the 1940s. This historical perspective reveals how anti-politics has grown in scope and intensity over the last half-century. Such growth is explained by citizens' changing images of 'the good politician' and changing modes of political interaction between politicians and citizens. Current efforts to reform and improve democracy will benefit greatly from the new evidence and conceptual framework set out in this important study.


‘It is not at all easy to write an important book on such an important topic. But that is precisely what we have here - and, reassuringly, it is both an optimistic book and one strongly grounded in the empirical evidence. It should be required reading for all politicians - good and not so good alike - and for all of us invited periodically to choose between the good and the not so good amongst them.’

Colin Hay - Sciences Po, Paris

'Anyone interested in the future of representative political systems in Britain and other advanced democracies will find a lot to chew on in The Good Politician. It is accessible enough for the general reader but rich enough to allow for multiple deep, academic readings. It is hard to imagine the book being dislodged as the best account of anti-political sentiment in Britain for many years to come.'

Peter Allen Source: LSE Review of Books

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