George Osborne is writing an “urgent and impassioned book” for William Collins about the threat of rising nationalism across the world, which will also serve as a “rallying cry to save capitalism and Western democracy”.
The former chancellor, who lost his position in the cabinet when Theresa May became Prime Minister in July, will draw on his experience of the “motivations, contradictions and internal conflicts that shaped UK government policy for the past six years” in the book, along with the referendum campaign and how the events of June 2016 unfolded.
William Collins has acquired World English language rights to the title through agent Andrew Wylie, provisionally named The Age of Unreason by the Rt. Hon George Osborne MP.
Arabella Pike, publishing director of William Collins, said: “This book is far more than a memoir of George Osborne’s time in government. Whilst it will draw lessons from his defeats and analyse his triumphs, the book will be above all a rallying cry to save capitalism, western democracy and to map our future course towards a fairer society – one that affords the benefits of capitalism to all. It is a book to address the biggest issues of our age - The Age of Unreason - and sets out plans to give more people capital in capitalism, control over their work, their communities and their money. The book could not be more timely or important.”
Osborne said his book would be about “the future”.
“I want to apply the lessons I've learnt in victory and defeat to the urgent challenge of this Age of Unreason," he said. "Capitalism and democracy is in crisis. The west is in retreat. The forces of populist nationalism and prejudice are on the rise, amplified by new technology. The likes of Donald Trump say to people: ‘what the hell have you got to lose?’. The answer is: ‘a lot’. Peace, prosperity and security. It's time to say so. It's time for the defenders of open societies and free markets to fight back."
The book has been inspired by Osborne’s view that capitalism is in deep crisis, and his belief that growing populist nationalism across the world “threatens the bonds that keep our societies prosperous, strong and united”.
“Across the globe support for free markets, globalisation and liberal democracies is in steep decline,” William Collins said. “In this ‘Age of Unreason’ experts are denigrated while prejudice is celebrated. The simplistic cries of anti-market populism resonate with those who have been left behind in a new landscape of technological change, near-zero interest rates and recovery from financial crisis. Insecurity is fuelled by mass migration, with more displaced persons across the world than at any time since the end of World War II. New social media amplifies these fears and gives voice to extremes.”
As chancellor of the exchequer from 2010-2016, Osborne was an "active participant in the West's struggle to respond to these challenges" the publisher said, and he will draw on these experiences in the book.