Hutchinson Heinemann, 2024

ISBN: ‎ 978-1529153064

Reviewed by Ian Mowll
As the title says, this book is about reclaiming the story of England – in particular, forging a new narrative that embodies the diversity of our nation whilst drawing on our history. The author makes the point that ‘being English’ has been, to a certain extent, hijacked by the right wing and this needs to change. A new story is important because it can inspire us to take pride in our country and make it more equal and compassionate.

I have a lot of time for Caroline Lucas. Her background in literature means that she can draw from our rich heritage and root her ideas in the past where the writings promote equality and compassion. Also, she is an outsider in politics so she can offer much needed fresh thinking. Added to this her insightful and common-sense approach means that she brings many important ideas to the table.

Green politics promotes, where possible and appropriate, local involvement. Because of the fault lines that have developed in the United Kingdom’s union, the author suggests that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales may split away or become independent, and England will be on its own. Whatever one’s views about this, this can be seen as an opportunity to reclaim English identity and make it relevant to the modern world.

Not surprisingly, the author talks about constitutional issues and how the voting process can be improved to make our political system more democratic.

My only disappointment with the book is, that when the question is asked, ‘what is this new story?’, the author does not offer anything substantial but says that is up to our wider society. In fairness, new stories come from the depths of cultures, often through writers, poets, painters, musicians and other artists. It needs time to germinate, grow and flourish.

I am encouraged by the author’s positive and insightful approach – whilst acknowledging and facing some of the damaging past of the British Empire, there is much to celebrate in English history. It may be, that with enough energy and passion, we are set for a new era in the English story.