Spring is the third instalment of Ali Smith’s Brexit-inflected “seasonal quartet”. The first, Autumn, appeared in October 2016, a mere four months after the referendum; Spring’s publication date is the day before the UK was originally due to leave the EU. Each novel introduces a new set of characters, but all three portray a present-day Britain suffering from austerity, bureaucracy, climate change, capitalism, technology and xenophobia. All three also travel backwards and forwards throughout the 20th century, creating a patchwork of individual and cultural memory and forgetfulness that sets linear time against cyclical time.

Autumn and Winter shared a certain optimism familiar from Smith’s earlier works: a belief that humans can change, that love … More

Much has been written about Britain’s trailblazing post-1970s privatization program, but the biggest privatization of them all has until now escaped scrutiny: the privatization of land. Since Margaret Thatcher took power in 1979, and hidden from the public eye, about 10 per cent of the entire British land mass, including some of its most valuable real estate, has passed from public to private hands. Forest land, defence land, health service land and above all else local authority land for farming and school sports, for recreation and housing has been sold off en masse.

Why? How? And with what social, economic and political consequences? The New Enclosure provides the first ever study of this … More