Monday, 2 January 2017

Guest Review: Such Little Accident by Mike Robbins

Such Little Accident: British democracy and its enemies by Mike Robbins
Published by Third Rail on the 30th November 2016.

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Guest review by Rebecca Gransden
Rebecca Gransden is a wonderfully imaginative author and her novel anemogram was one of my Top Twenty books of 2016. You can find out more about Rebecca and her writing on her own website,

Rebecca's rating: 5 of 5 stars

“When the people shall have nothing more to eat,” said Rousseau, “they will eat the rich.” But the rich are rather good at getting the poor to eat each other instead. In this provocative novella-length essay, Mike Robbins looks at how the British electoral system, social media, bullying by business, and a growing gap between rich and poor have led to deep fissures in British society. These have been exploited by those with an agenda of their own. As a result, democracy is now fragile. To repair it, we must look hard at the way information cycles through our society, and how our opinions are formed.

Rebecca says: A nourishing essay dealing with the predominant points of interest brought forth by recent trends, focusing here mainly on the UK but branching out to pertinent reflections on events stateside also. Brexit and Trump have confused many, whether surprised or not, and I’m no different. Outside of these flashpoint events, the general malaise of disconnection and division leaves everything appearing like we are between stations. There is a paralysis in feeling overwhelmed, and I don’t blame those who choose to tune out, even though it is more important now than ever to not do that.

Robbins takes a condensed look at the basis of thinking with regard to democracy; the potential pros and cons, how the principle has been regarded and debated through history, and what place it is left in after recent challenges. His thoughts ultimately turn to the fragility of the current democratic system, a system demonstrated in similar versions globally, all facing urgent threats.

Divided into distinct sections, Robbins presents a well thought out musing on some of the reasons for the current situation. Those who are not especially interested in politics but want to receive a balanced review of how we got here will find an essay of clear speaking and ordered argument. The ground covered for such a short piece is extraordinary, and I was heartened by the depth of consideration given to each area selected for comment. I found the portions directed towards the mistrust of expertise and scientific consensus, and the role of news reporting and echo chamber politicking especially interesting. I could go on endlessly about my own take on these, and so much more that Robbins has included, but my main aim with this review is to encourage others to pick this up, and have a bit of a think for themselves.

Wherever you align yourself politically, there is much to be gained from reading considered and informed responses of this kind. I hope Robbins distributes this as widely as possible, pamphleting with gusto if need be, as I’m sure that his measured appraisal will be appreciated by many.

Thank you Rebecca!

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