Humanity’s reliance on stories is one of our greatest strengths, and greatest weaknesses according to Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari.

Currently much of the western world, especially the US and UK, are in the grip of a powerful story – neoliberalism.

When internalised and normalised, neoliberalism leads to people feeling an “artificial sense of separation from other people and from the ecology that supports all life”. Its promotion of fake “competition” also leads to greater inequality.

People feeling disconnected, and high levels of inequality, has lead to the flourishing of a separate political class. Noisy suits, free of political conviction, clutter our TV screens. E.g David “why do you want to be Prime Minister?” “Because I think I’d be rather good at it.” Cameron.

There have always been shady politicians and established democracies usually cope with them. But in recent years, as we’ve seen with the rise of Trump, and the Brexit vote – something has changed.

What’s changed is that the art of political persuasion has become much closer to a data-driven science. Now, politicians, disconnected from the masses, are willing to blatantly lie, and use data-driven psychological warfare against voters to please their billionaire donors.

Stories are at the heart of the manipulation of the masses. Our biased, vulnerable brains are bombarded with misinformation, and then simplistic soundbites about building walls, “taking back control” and voting for a “strong and stable” leader are used to reach and bamboozle us.

So: IDEAS FOR BETTER LIVING,’s new project, will explore and document the ideas we need to defend ourselves against manipulative lying populist politicians.

The series begins with Yuval Noah Harari warning us to be aware that capitalism and nationalism are just stories. And stories can be rewritten.