Politics is broken, the system rotten to the core. That's the defining belief of our era and it's one for which nobody quite yet has a satisfactory explanation, let alone a cure. But, according to Tamasin Cave and Andy Rowell's timely new book on the lobbying industry, much of the rage and despair many Britons feel over mainstream politics can be traced to something fairly simple. It is not sleaze, spin, the end of deference, the flaws of first-past-the-post or even the failings of this generation of leaders. It is that government has lost touch with the little guy because, in their words, "sharp-elbowed lobbying by corporate interests has forced the people out of government". The central argument of A Quiet Word is that big business has so successfully scared politicians away from tackling the big issues – climate change, a shrinking tax base, sugar-fuelled obesity, banking reform – that they are reduced to tinkering at the edges, in a way that completely fails the masses. If we could just reduce the volume on those expensive lobbyists pleading the corporate case, politicians would once again hear the 99% who can't afford to hire such fancy advocates.