GEORGE Monbiot’s new book, Out of The Wreckage: A New Politics For An Age of Crisis, should be of great interest to anyone with political ambitions to change their country – whatever country that is.

His core idea is that human beings crave powerful stories to make sense of their lives. No matter the facts they corral, any effective politics must have such a story. Monbiot says the most shaping ones are “restoration” tales – heroes coming to repair the collective damage left by identifiable villains.

The post-war welfare state comes to repair the damage of the Second World War. The free-market New Right of Reagan and Thatcher comes to repair the choking anti-individualism of the welfare state. So is there the opportunity, amidst the current madness, for a new “restoration story”?

There’s no doubt that the SNP has benefitted from such stories. Their record of “progress” and “competence” faces down the disorder of the effects of Tory governments – not to mention the triple-facedness of the Scottish Labour party, across a series of ill-starred leaderships. More on that later.

But Monbiot is most interesting as an X-ray on Corbynism. What is the exact disorder that Corbyn’s version of the Labour Party offers to repair? The English and Welsh Brexit majority clearly wanted to “restore” a sovereignty. This was expressed positively (a Britain free from Europe) and negatively (a Britain less challenged by immigration).

Stumblingly at first, but with more strategic nous later on, what Corbyn has grasped is that there is a deeper disorder behind the events of the last few years – which certainly implies restoration. This is the financial crash of 2008 – and more importantly, the power elite’s doubly diabolical response to it.

Firstly, its main architects – the neoliberal financiers and their political apologists – didn’t just escape responsibility for their crimes, but profited further from it. And secondly, those same elites imposed “austerity” on the populace, to bear the cost of the former’s sins. Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake is probably the purest expression of the popular disgust at the harsh social consequences of that austerity.

Monbiot’s take on the last snap UK General Election is that the Corbyn offer wasn’t just being “oppositional”, but “propositional”. Policies like ending tuition fees, taxing the richest more, and returning key industries to state ownership – which raids both from the SNP’s recent policy larder, and the Bennite statism of the 70s – are clear offers to fix the evident brokenness.

And with their acceptance of the Brexit result, the Corbynites are even nicking some of the clothes of national self-determination that fuelled the SNP, the Scottish Greens and the indy movement.

They’re “taking back real control” to “rebuild the [British] nation”. So there’s a whole lotta “restoration” going on here.

Yet the most striking element of Monbiot’s thoughtful book is just how much of his plan has been not just been anticipated, but actively developed, over the last decade of indy-party government in Scotland.

To start with his overall thesis, it would be hard not to describe what happens up here as a “politics of belonging”. For Monbiot, this means a politics that primarily roots itself in local connections and conditions, and values activities that benefit the locality first.

This localism is a way to rebirth a spirit of altruism and mutual aid, says Monbiot. It allows the expression of a sociable human nature that can better reject the appeal to selfish individualism that has marked Thatcherism and its variants over the last 30 years.

These empowered localities would give themselves power by establishing “commons”. These are resources owned neither by the state or the market, but actively managed by communities, and focussed initially on taxing and regulating land.

Ok, where do we start? The glorying in “our wee bit hill and glen” – found in our incorrigible national anthem – is itself the product of the first stirrings of modern Scottish nationalism in the 1960s. Much Scottish arts and culture has been dominated by tropes of the local and the particular (in language or geography), defining itself against larger and more unaccountable systems.

But it’s the militancy of Scottish land activism, and the way it has shaped the policies of the Scottish Parliament (as opposed to Westminster), that seems like a complete prefiguring of Monbiot’s vision.

The recently established Scottish Land Commission aims to identify how large landownership can be broken up. And Scottish land legislation allows community buy-outs, like Eigg, Gigha and the South Uist estate, including most recently the village of Findhorn from the Novar estate.

Monbiot is a good man, but it’s depressingly predictable that recent Scottish history in this merits only the most glancing references in his book. The Welsh think-tank Common Cause gets an index mention, but not the Scottish think-tank Common Weal. The latter have been publicly philosophising about the importance of community empowerment, and proposing structures that can bring resources down to that level, since 2013. Common Weal’s “Our Land” campaign in 2015-16 is a textbook example of how to mobilise sectors of society around a big idea about local power – but Monbiot seems utterly unaware of it.

So indy-minded (even just constitutionally minded) Scots would recognise Monbiot’s super-localist politics of belonging very well. The rich community life of Scotland, reasonably supported by government policy, partly redresses the everyday alienations, the stresses and unhappiness, produced by neoliberalism – and has done so for decades.

But it doesn’t appear to me that CorbLab has any deep feeling for such a politics, at least as it might resonate in the polity where it most needs to – which is England.

One might identify hopeful signs. Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s support for proportional representation at a UK level (though his leader, and most of his party are opposed) would at least give those intrinsic localists, the Green Party, a proper Westminster representation. (Though it’s still the case that the best route to any island-wide constitutional reform is not to give the UK Labour Party an absolute majority – meaning a strong SNP vote in Scotland.)

Yet supposedly “mobilising” forces like Momentum, or their cultural wing The World Transformed, are only lightly express local interests and specifics. They’re running under the Bernie Sanders model of what Monbiot calls “Big Organising”. This involves national campaign priorities, and a huge empowering of activists to promote those goals.

I find this a contradiction in the Monbiot book. In one part, he hymns the way that community politics creates many diverse points of soft entry for citizens – particularly those alienated by the old ways of party-politics. But in another part, Monbiot wants to lash these awoken ones to automated telephone banks, delivering pre-set campaign scripts in order to “effect wider regime change”.

What I think Monbiot can’t see is the way that an empowered localism might draw strength from geography. “Scotland small? Our multiform, our infinite Scotland small?” wrote Hugh MacDiarmid from the 1970s. There needs to be an equal sense of “multiform, infinite England” before his politics of belonging will really begin to resonate there.

The Brexit vote came largely from those living in the small and medium-sized towns between the big cities. Places which (as my music touring across these islands over the years tell me) have been almost completely beached by recent capitalism.

The Corbyn call to “restore” what has been tested to near-destruction may be the “big story” that captures the mood of any coming General Election. But there is so much more repair work to do in England’s stressed and unpleasant lands (see the Anywhere but Westminster films of journalist John Harris to evidence this). The febrile nature of political sentiment these days will not be addressed by just another bravura, top-down “narrative”.

I’m not a fan of anyone “putting indy on the backburner”. But what the Monbiot book does point to is the importance of the relatively greater closeness between local community and national government in Scotland (though there’s still a huge amount to improve).

If focusing on the so-called ministerial “day job” involved as much local empowerment as possible, then the consequent well-being would be the best possible fuel for the next indy appeal. If you feel your place truly “belongs” to you, then maybe your whole country should too.

George Monbiot’s new book, Out of The Wreckage: A New Politics For An Age of Crisis (Verso), is out now