“A genuinely important book… something we all really need to read.”
Screenwriter Chris Dolan’s thoughts on Dismembered: How the attack on the state harms us all certainly made for a succinct introduction.
Dismembered comes from veteran journalists Polly Toynbee and David Walker, who have collaborated on several books of British politics.
Discussing the book in front of an audience of all ages, Ms Toynbee and Mr Walker put forward a harrowing story of the systematic dismantling of British society by an ideologically-
driven and morally-bankrupt Conservative party.
Ms Toynbee and Mr Walker advised that the book does not cover Scotland strongly, let alone Shetland, but noted that some of the issues and questions they are trying to address go beyond any one area, issue, or party.
Much of the book was drawn from visiting and talking to public service workers on the frontline of austere cuts, victims of a government bent on reducing the machinery of the state to its smallest possible form.
Some of the stories they came across would be funny if they weren’t so depressing, such as how dozens of trainee tax officers from Newcastle were bussed to Heathrow to pretend to be busy Border Force agents on the day of the Home Secretary’s visit.
Despite painting a picture of a once-strong liberal society on its knees, both Ms Toynbee and Mr Walker felt that the message was overall quite hopeful and optimistic, with public opinion shifting towards a more caring society, at odds with the government’s vision.
The book is, if anything, a call to arms against the deliberate cruelty of the government, and an ideology that has grown in the Conservative party for decades, now coming to bloom and
bearing toxic fruit.
Ms Toynbee said that she realised the audience were probably there because they agreed largely with the book and its authors. “If you buy the book, will you pass it to someone who won’t agree,” she said.
The rabble that formed at the book stall outside would suggest that many took this to heart.
By Alex Garrick-Wright