Bidisha in The Guardian:
Brexit, Trump, colonialism, Tommy Robinson, “incels”, identity politics: award-winning Guardian journalist Nesrine Malik’s new book stares into the heart of our current seething political volcano and gives it a cool hosing down. Her overall point is that we have not been ambushed by some sort of unpleasant surprise or hit a random crisis speed bump. Instead, we are experiencing a “culmination” of longstanding factors shored up by enduring “toxic delusions” that are “rehashing… themes that are decades old”. Whether it is Brexiters and Trump harking back to some mythical time of national power, peace and plenty, far-right activists bellowing about their human right to offend being impinged or columnists representing university students’ desire for more racially diverse syllabuses as a form of spoilt bullying,
Malik takes each claim, peels back its fallacies and exposes its roots. This is all the more necessary in an age where “views that had previously been consigned to the political fringes made their way into the mainstream via social and traditional media organisations that previously would never have contemplated their airing. The proliferation of media outlets meant that it was not only marginalised voices that secured access… but also those with more extreme and fringe views.” With careful analysis and a great historian’s expertise for synthesising a huge amount of information into a clear arc, she engages in a powerful and persuasive debunking exercise. The most successful chapters of We Need New Stories are the central four, which tackle claims that political correctness has run away with itself, free speech is under threat, identity politics has weakened the drive for true equality and that England’s greatness lies in its colonial past.