It seemed such a small, foolhardily ignorable venture. There was the news bursting with the hugest stories in decades—Trump, Brexit, the revival of fascism across Europe—and here was I, a journalist for The Guardian, focusing on some of the tiniest. My year, I’d decided, would be dedicated to meeting and writing about communities far from the centers of power. The ones who’d seen their factories shut 30 years ago and then, in the past decade, watched their friends and families devastated by historic spending cuts. These were often places too far from London to catch the attention of Westminster and the media, and too obscure for most Britons to care about. Preston, an hour away from Manchester. Plymouth, at the end of the trainline. ...

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