Our new book, The Wake-Up Call, deals with a lot of big questions—the rise and fall of the West, the fate of global government, the growing democratic distemper. But it was written in a small world—the English countryside during lockdown, Rutland and Hampshire, to be precise. And it was haunted by a figure who combined big thoughts with very rural pastimes, a man born in the very English town of Malmesbury and who excelled in catching jackdaws with pieces of cheese: Thomas Hobbes.

A philosopher who died more than 300 years ago is hardly the most obvious guide to the world of the coronavirus. Yet a new Hobbes is exactly what the West needs right now.