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Bog-Standard Britain: How Mediocrity Ruined This Great Nation [Hardcover]

Quentin Letts
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Oct 2009
No one would attack equality, would they? Well, Quentin Letts just might. He’s on the rampage again; this time he’s gunning for the folk who want to crush individualism in our nation of once indignant eccentrics. For Letts, equality’s been defiled by ethnic-grievance gangs and harpies of feminist orthodoxy, by risk-averse jackboots of town-hall bureaucracy with quotas and creeds. He’s furious that fair damsel Liberty has been whored by best-practice brigades and by municipal bores insistent that everyone has a prize and no culture dominates. Letts’s outrage stalks the glottal-stopping oikishness of our streets, linked, he believes, to modern society’s refusal to deplore. For him, the prattishness of Jonathan Ross is part of the mad insistence that vulgarity is valid. Still think equality’s such a great thing? You might not after reading this urgent, exasperated, witheringly funny book. Praise for 50 People Who Buggered Up Britain: ‘[Quentin Letts] discharges his duty with flair and tracer precision...an angry book, beautifully written.’ The Spectator


Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (29 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849011206
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849011204
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Quentin Letts is parliamentary sketch writer and theatre critic for the Daily Mail. A regular broadcaster on radio and television, he was formerly New York correspondent for The Times and gossip columnist for the Daily Telegraph. He recently presented Radio 4's series 'What's The Point Of?' He lists his recreations, in Who's Who as 'gossip' and 'character defenestration'.

Product Description

Review

I salute Mr Letts's one-man stand against the ugly and brainless Bog-Folk. --Daily Mail

Book Description

Bestselling author Quentin Letts vents his spleen on the state of Modern Britain.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Rather disappointing - Letts off form.

Similar to 50 People Who Buggered Up Britain, but without such individual targets, and less accurate. Has the author grown careless or success gone to his head? There is still plenty of clever invective, but too much that seems ordinary or nasty. There are too many metaphors and too many fail (for example good manners being like the bones of a trout, preventing it from turning into squelch, plus other rather forced comparisons.)

Much of the invective could only preach to the converted. A reference to Nevil Shute's novel about an invasion of England discusses the Englishmen's continuing to address each other by their surnames. The codes of politeness the British used (and discarded) are subtle, their purpose was subtle; you cannot just cite them and say we have declined. It's right to complain about being addressed as "mate" though. I sacked an estate agent partly for that, though like Letts, I have to grin and bear it everywhere else I turn.

This book is amusing, but it should either be thought-provoking by making you realise how and why the various awfulnesses described have happened, or else actually explain them (amusingly above all.) Thus I think Letts has deployed his furious skills too easily and carelessly.

"50 People" is far better. It is funnier, and by attaching each of its rages to Britons that embody their cause, it is more revealing and more accurate. That said, there is still a fair bit of really decent stuff in here - a paean to Hyacinth Bucket amongst plenty of others, so please don't let me put you off if you fancy these articulate rants.

Nevertheless if you haven't read "50 People" then I urge you to read that; then you'll need to thirst a bit to need to read "Bog Standard" too.
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52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant writing 10 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just loved this book and could not put it down. It gave voice to all the rage I have felt over the last ten years at the awful decline in standards in this country. When we have one ex Prime Minister whose early ambition was to a pop star and another who thinks he can gain popularity by appreciating such tripe as the X factor, just what have we come to? There is such a thing as excellence, there are such things as good standards of behaviour. The truth (sad for some, but understood by those who were lucky enough to live their formative years in a less trivial age) is that the best man can achieve is only ever attained through a combination of genuine talent and an awful lot of hard graft and self-discipline. How can this nation ever survive in a competitive world if these values are not inculcated in our education system and fostered in the offerings of our television programmes? Most people I know prefer "Little Dorrit" and those excellent earlier series such as "War and Peace" and "I Claudius" to "Big Brother" and all of the rest of the reality TV rubbish. What we get now is "bread and circuses" An attempt by a powerful elite to satisfy a public they assume to be utterly stupid! Quentin Letts manages to pinpoint all that is wrong in Britain a way which will both make you laugh and feel glad that your views are shared. Get it and read it!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars More analysis and less opinion required 28 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I don't know whether to say that I enjoyed reading this book is quite the way to put it--I agree with a lot of what Mr Letts says in it, but it's very depressing reading in places.

A problem with this book is that the basic idea behind it, that Britain has gone to the dogs, taken as the griping of a grumpy old man, may be acceptable; but if one wants more than this, there's a need for less opinion and more analysis. For example, Mr Letts tells us that rabid egalitarianism has reduced British education to a very low order of competence. This proposition may be true; it's something I believe to be true myself; but Mr Letts provides no real support for it (neither do I have any means of proving or disproving it).

If there's one group that's made a major contribution to dragging Britain down into the bog which Mr Letts depicts and so bewails, it's journalists. The Australian barbarian Murdoch and his repulsive hacks on "The News of the World" could operate in the way they did only because the underlying culture of journalism had already prepared the ground. But not among the many targets at which Mr Letts fires off his blunderbuss are journalists. Not surprising, of course, considering that he's one himself (his book, be warned, is written in the common journalistic facetious/smug style to which we've had--alas!--to become accustomed). Also, he's shot himself in the foot by using in his writing certain coarse and vulgar expressions which typify the kind of baseness in modern Britain he laments all through his book.

I'm not sure what the point is of books of this kind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must read' 12 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a complete MUST : so good to read an author with a mastery of vocabulary and syntax [à la Stephen Fry] in order to convey his wit and 'venom'. Wonderful diatribes against, inter alia, Jonathan Ross, Anthony "Call Me Tony" Blair, the Equality Commission, the Diva of Equality and Tuscan-Property Tycoon Polly Toynbee.....
I'm not a Daily Mail reader, or lover of things Daily Mail, but Quentin Letts' freelance writer status lets him off the hook!
Buy it, and find yourself - alas - nodding in sad agreement ....
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly, apparently!
I bought another of Quentin's books, 50 People who Buggared up Britain, for my father, to encourage him to read, as he is not really a reader. Success!!! Read more
Published 16 months ago by Melanie
5.0 out of 5 stars Bog Standard Britain
A book that dares to say what most of middle England feels and Mr Letts certainly has a knack of hitting the nail on the head...
Published 18 months ago by Mrs. Lynda Franklin
4.0 out of 5 stars .... or how I spoiled my chances of a gong.
A book you can pick up and put down without losing any thread. I read mine mostly 'on the throne'. It is smirkingly rather than raucously funny - and all the better for that. Read more
Published 19 months ago by W.Hitenigger
4.0 out of 5 stars Bog Standard Britain - a recipe for hopelessness
Following on from "50 People Who Buggered Up Britain", Quentin Letts broadens his theme to reflect upon damaging trends in British society. Read more
Published on 8 May 2012 by Bucentaur
1.0 out of 5 stars Bog Standrd Britain? Bog Standard Book.
Although this book presents itself as covering all the 'right' areas to highlight the shortcomings of the personalities and issues of Britain, the writing is a hotchpotch of... Read more
Published on 12 Oct 2011 by Constable.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dumbed-down Britain
This is an excellent read. Quentin Letts has a very funny
and quirky take on life who says what we are all thinking.
A good way to de-stress at the end of the day.
Published on 19 July 2010 by Tallulah
1.0 out of 5 stars Predictable and partisan
Quentin Letts, a Daily Mail vents his predictable spleen at predictable targets, albeit in an eloquent way.

Don't expect any measured reflection or consideration. Read more
Published on 12 July 2010 by El Loro
4.0 out of 5 stars Usual letts - frank and quirky
Some brutally honest observations with which no one I know would disagree!
Chapters make for bite-sized reads. Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2010 by G. H
5.0 out of 5 stars Exit Labour in 2010
All governments need to be thrown out after 10-12 years because they get arrogant, corrupt and out of touch with the electorate. Read more
Published on 12 Dec 2009 by S. Ahmad
4.0 out of 5 stars A first class rant
Quentin Letts writes entertainingly with no punches pulled. He is quite specifically nasty about a number of public figures. Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2009 by Peter Clarke
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