How Britain Really Works by Stig Abell review – the facts about a muddle of a country

Education, media, politics ... this pithy primer on what makes the country tick is a vital guide for the fake news era

People don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. Often, we don’t even know what we don’t even know. Many people are sure they understand parliamentary process, how a customs union works, or what goes on in schools, but when put on the spot find such things curiously hard to explain. What happens at a bill’s second reading? When would a person sit their Sats? These sound like pub quiz questions, but are surprisingly helpful in putting news in its proper context or simply understanding how the country ticks.

To say that How Britain Really Works fills in some of these gaps runs the risk of making it sound dull when it’s a wry, readable, even whimsical book. (Sometimes a bit too whimsical; the conceit of using the ...