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This is a call to arms.

The old tools of political analysis are obsolete – they have rusted and are no longer fit for purpose. We’ve grown lazy, wedded to the assumption that, after ruptures such as Brexit, the pandemic, and the rise of the populist Right, things will eventually go ‘back to normal’.

Award-winning political writer Matthew d’Ancona invites you to think afresh: to seek new ways of challenging political extremism, bombastic populism and democratic torpor on both Left and Right.

In this ground-breaking book, he proposes a new way of understanding our era and plots a way forward. With rigorous analysis, he argues that we need to understand the world in a new way, with a framework built from the three I’s: Identity, Ignorance and Innovation.


A book so rich in thought, wisdom and persuasion I find myself sharing the ideas within it with everyone I meet. Matthew d'Ancona tackles the (often febrile) subjects of our time with courage, moral clarity and sensitivity. His guiding narrative - that arguments must be aired, and uncensored - that pluralism of voices and perspective will bring the best freedom to choose well - raises questions of free speech, marginalisation, race and identity that are often unsettling but always electrifying. In the much-mourned absence of Christopher Hitchens, d'Ancona is fast becoming the voice of enlightenment for our bewildered age. We are lucky to have him.
Emily Maitlis
'No-one captures or explains the zeitgeist as well as Matthew d'Ancona - in fact he is the Zeitgeist Whisperer. This book nails completely the dominant forces shaping and currently breaking society with clarity, insight and, mercifully, some answers.'
Julia Hobsbawm, founder, Editorial Intelligence and author of The Simplicity Principle
'Identity, Ignorance, Innovation is a tonic for our times that blows open any complacency following Trump's defeat that the demise of populism and nativism is inevitable. In beautifully written prose, D'Ancona puts forward hopeful ideas and timely inspiration for a progressive politics to replace it.'
David Lammy
An urgent and exhilarating account of how populism, prejudice & polarisation have corrupted objective truth and public discourse. D'Ancona's sparkling prose provides an explanation of how we got here and, crucially, how we might get out. He clearly describes the profound dangers of seeing recent political events as temporary aberrations and cautions against complacently believing that normal service will soon resume. If civilised society is under attack, fighting back becomes a public duty. D'Ancona provides us with powerful weapons with which to do so.
James O'Brien