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Bad Laws: An Explosive Analysis of Britain's Petty Rules, Health and Safety Lunacies and Madcap Laws. [Paperback]

Philip Johnston
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

18 Feb 2010
We are snooped on, hectored and hounded by state nannies, in a state of interference from cradle to grave. We also have to put up with the unjustified and disproportionate use of fines and charges, bloody-minded parking restrictions and preposterous European directives. Philip Johnston exposes the Bad Laws - those irritating regulations and Whitehall idiocies that have made life in Britain a day-to-day nightmare and threaten to change the nature of this country. So, what s so bad? A snooper s charter that lets an army of council jobsworths look at your phone and email details. More CCTV cameras than anywhere in teh world - yet they fail to deter criminals. The world's biggest DNS crime database that contains the profiles of over a million innocent people. The threat of a visit from the police for having politically incorrect opinions. A ban on smoking so inflexible that it threatens the future of a great British institution - the pub. This is a great country with proud traditions - so why have we lost touch with the commonsense attitudes that once defined us?

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Bad Laws: An Explosive Analysis of Britain's Petty Rules, Health and Safety Lunacies and Madcap Laws. + The Assault on Liberty: What Went Wrong with Rights + You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (18 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849010102
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849010108
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


For thirteen years, a war has been waged on British liberties, traditions and even religious conviction. Philip Johnston sets out, with wit and style, the full horror of what has occurred. --Jeff Randall.

A robust call for the return of some good old fashioned legislative common sense --Metro (London)

About the Author

Philip Johnston has been with the Daily Telegraph for 20 years. He is currently assistant editor and lead writer and was previously home affairs editor and chief political correspondent. He lives in London.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful, passionate, timely book 26 Mar 2010
From the cover for this I thought it would just be another fun rant against political correctness, nanny statism and everything else that dogs our nation today (no bad thing in my view). But reading it I started to realise that it's actually an extremely impressive piece of research with an astonishing level of detail. I now feel very well-equipped to argue the case against government interference in areas where they simply don't belong. I've read Mr Johnston's Home Front columns for some years now and always enjoyed them, but when extended to book length it not only hits home, it actually leaves you spitting with rage!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Balanced Review of VERY Bad Laws 1 May 2010
This is one of those books that your stuggle to put down, particularly if you are 40 plus and remember with some affection 'the good old days'

The mess that the country is in requires some explanation and Philip Johnstone does this in a very clear and concise way that explains how decisions are made and why they are not properly thought through.

Anyone considering voting Labour should read this book as it does lay out quite clearly what went wrong with the Labour dream, although this is not (implied or otherwise) the books raison d'etre.

A damn good read and one I hope the new governement will take notice of.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading 23 Mar 2010
The last decade and a half has seen a volume of legislation that is unprecedented in human history, an event that has stemmed purely from government pettiness, intrusiveness and dangerous incompetence. Philip Johnston's argument is so comprehensive that it is pretty much irrefutable. Required reading in the run-up to an election. Shame the other lot haven't cottoned on yet.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad Laws 8 Jun 2010
I purchased this book on the back of favourable reviews on Amaozon and the press. Like the curates egg, its good in parts. Writing on Health & Safety, the author contends that training in the use of ladders defies common sense, not to mention poor use of resources. He then goes on to say that in one year, 13 people were killed using ladders, and 25,000 were seriously injured. The author considers the £200 it cost to implement ladder training poor value for money. When you factor in the cost to the NHS, as well as industrial injuries payments, ladder training would appear cheap at the price.

The author further argues that legislation has supplanted common sense. If the figures quoted above are anything to go by, there are a lot of people lacking in common sense. This is to take nothing away from the many valid points made in Bad Laws. But all too often, the author makes wide sweeping generalisations from specific points. Fine if you're looking for a bit of light hearted reading without the need to check facts. Not so fine if you're looking for some hard analysis of New Labour's tendency to replace thought with legislation.

Buy it for entertainment. Leave it aside if you're looking for a critical analysis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CRIMINALITY ON IT'S HEAD 23 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is mostly aimed at the absolute mess the labour party made of the criminal justice system.
It goes into detail on a number of subjects as to how they managed to criminalise the public while getting ever softer on real criminals. Making criminals of those who would not argue as they had something to lose, and would not fight back, in order to convince those same people tha they were getting tough on crime, immigration and anti-social behaviour.

It details the incompetant and knee-jerk politics of new labour and shows how they abused and destroyed the legal system for politcal point scoring. Making new laws to cover stuff that was already illegal so we thought they were doing something, amendin them several ttimes before they were even brought in, and in some cases replacing them before they were even active.
And, also how labour abused powers reserved for war time to bypass the house of lords time and time again.

Philip Johnston shows us how the law was used as a play thing to occupy the hundreds of thousands of civil servants with nothing to do other than dream up ways of controling the lives of the people.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The damage governments cause 22 Oct 2010
Firstly this book will make you depressed and angry (at least for those living in the UK).

Saying that, it should be read by all voters and future voters in the UK (and also other countries where Labour type governments rule).

Bad Laws primarily covers the 13 years of Labour rule in the UK and the multitude of laws, rules and regulation introduced during that time.

It tells the story of corruption, stupidity, bureaucracy, law and disorder. It's about the damage governments can cause through the misguided belief that more laws equals a better society.

The last chapter covers the huge amount of money required to maintain these laws and how we as taxpayers are forced to pay for this.

I suggest our current leaders, Nick Clegg and David Cameron, read this book. They will find they can save billions of pounds simply by doing a clean-up and repealing these useless laws.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lunatics are really in charge now! 26 May 2010
The title of Chapter One says it all: 'The Theft of Common sense'. We now have an established elite consisting of politicians and bureaucrats who spend their time micro- -managing everything (to justify their jobs), thereby not allowing any of us to use our common sense. The politicians react to any situation by passing new Laws, when all that
is often needed is the enforcement of existing Law. It is the classic 'Appearance versus
Reality' situation: it is easier to appear to be doing something rather than actually doing
what is necessary. Any action that is taken usually penalises the law-abiding majority while sometimes letting the minority of culprits escape.

To compound the problem we now have another tier of unelected politicians doing the same,
passing Regulations and Directives that often have no relevance to Britain - I mean, of course, those gravy-train passengers in Brussels. But it will get worse - a further tier of unelected bureaucrats is being stealthily created in the name of bringing democracy closer to us: the Regional Assemblies.
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