In This Review

Greater: Britain After the Storm
Greater: Britain After the Storm
By Penny Mordaunt and Chris Lewis
Biteback Publishing, 2021, 352 pp.

A former public relations professional, Mordaunt is now a rising cabinet minister in the United Kingdom’s Conservative government. She and her co-author call on British politicians to set forth a “clear well-executed national plan” that they promise will quell public polarization and dissatisfaction. Yet the plan they promote is internally contradictory and ducks tough tradeoffs. The government should do more, they say, but since it is hopelessly inefficient, tasks should be offloaded to private charities. Powerful business and financial firms are hollowing out the state, but economic growth requires low taxes and light regulation. Brexit is a triumph for traditional British democracy, and tighter alliances with English-speaking peoples (mostly the Americans) would solve many problems, yet relations with the United Kingdom’s largest trading partner, the EU, receive not a word. Such inconsistencies are papered over with enthusiastic praise of what Mordaunt believes to be the eternally courageous, generous, resourceful, and self-effacing virtues of the British people. Despite the book’s chipper optimism, a deeper cultural conflict simmers below the surface. When Mordaunt extols the success of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s electoral appeal to middle America, hints at crafting a version of his agenda for the United Kingdom, and speaks of “empowering the silent majority,” she offers a glimpse of an ominous possible future for the Conservative Party.