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Who Runs Britain?: and Who's to Blame for the Economic Mess We're in Paperback – 30 Oct 2008

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Who Runs Britain?: and Who's to Blame for the Economic Mess We're in + How Do We Fix This Mess?: The Economic Price of Having it All, and the Route to Lasting Prosperity + Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; First Paperback Edition edition (30 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340839449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340839447
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Peston is the BBC's Business Editor. Prior to joining the BBC, he was Political Editor and Financial Editor of the Financial Times, City Editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a columnist for the New Statesman and Sunday Times (inter alia). He has won numerous awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year and Scoop of the Year (twice) from the Royal Television Society, Performer of the Year from the Broadcasting Press Guild, Broadcaster of the Year and Journalist of the Year from the Wincott Foundation and Business Journalist of the Year from the London Press Club. Peston has published two critically acclaimed books, WHO RUNS BRITAIN?, his best-selling account of who is to blame for the economic and financial crisis of 2007-9, and BROWN'S BRITAIN, a biography of Gordon Brown and analysis of the New Labour government. His prize-winning blog, which has more than 800,000 readers, can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/robertpeston. He is the founder of Speakers for Schools (www.speakers4schools.org), a pro bono educational service which organises free talks from inspirational speakers for students at state schools. He is a trustee of the Education and Employers Taskforce. He is married to the writer Siân Busby. You can follow Robert on twitter at www.Twitter.com/Peston

Product Description


A compelling portrait of early 21st century casino capitalism ... essential reading. (Howard Davies, The Times)

Fluent, incredibly up to the minute look at Britain ... Peston, in relaxed, conversational style is a great travelling companion along the highways of finance. (Observer)

This lucid and timely guide to the world of turbo-capitalism ... absorbing book, essential reading for anyone who wants to know how the British economy now operates. (Peter Wilby, Guardian)

starkly lucid (Polly Toynbee, Guardian)

Peston catches the zeitgeist of Britain and the paradox that is Gordon Brown. (Financial Times)

engaging (Harry Mount, Telegraph)

Peston is our rock... The triumph of Robert Peston makes me proud of my old paper, the BBC and of journalism in general. (Sarah Sands in Independent on Sunday )

This remains the most riveting book on finance you may ever bother to read. (Evening Standard)

I recommend this book (Nicholas Lezard in The Guardian)

wonderful clarity (Sunday Telegraph )

this remains the most riveting book on finance you may ever bother to read (Scotsman)

Book of the year (Financial Times)

Book Description

BBC Business Editor Robert Peston lifts the lid on credit crunch Britain and the rise of the super-rich.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 23 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Robert Peston asks a question he is unable to answer. This was certainly the case on Black Wednesday as Kenneth Clarke admitted in a television interview.On that occasion Peston's argument that decisions taken by an international super-rich stateless elite have unduly influenced policy and over-rode policy makers seems true. In so doing they have scooped a disproportional amount of the nation's wealth and the gap between rich and poor has increased no less under New Labour than under the Conservatives. What does emerge from Peston's coverage is that there are times when it is far from apparent whether anyone is running the country.

Peston identifies inefficiencies within the decision making system of which pensions is a good example. In 1997 Gordon Brown raided the pension funds of final salary schemes, removing tax credit on dividends. the reason behind Brown's policy was clear. He wanted to raise revenue to reduce the structural deficit in the public finances. Treasury officials expressed concern but Brown went ahead. The result was a decline in income to pensions funds over a five year period from £7.1 bn to £3.3.bn. Final salary schemes collapsed. Yet Brown's policy was the logical extension of Nigel Lawton's 1988 decision to limit the amount of surplus schemes could retain and of Norman Lamont's reduction in tax credits to pension schemes in 1993. Both were designed to raise revenue.

The political myopia demonstrated by politicians then became a farce with the introduction of stakeholder pensions. Theoretically designed to prevent alleged mis-selling and provide for the less wealthy, the stakeholder became a tax-free vehicle for the rich. Pensions minister, Ian McCartney, ignored unwelcome research statistics because they came from a Conservative David Willetts.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sudworth VINE VOICE on 23 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
I liked this book a lot because it does not treat the reader like an idiot
What is also good is that he evidently has talked to the people involved and so it includes a huge amount of personal views from some of the main protagonists. His explanation of the greed of the finacial wizards, the wrong headed approach of the government and the effects on you and I is very clear - the only problem after reading this is that the depths of the problems in the financial sector look a lot worse and its clear that we as individuals will pay for this collective failure.
I did not give it five stars because of a style issue is that certain things were repeated a number of times so that it read a bit like a collection of essays but overall if you want to understand why we have the problems in the financial sector and now the real world economy then I can recommend this. Think of the plus when someone asks you what a Structured Investment Vehicle (SIV) is - and thanks to this you will know. You'll be bemused was to why it was ever thought a good idea, but you will know what it was and why valuing them became such a problem.
And finally it comprehensively shows the failings of the Prime Minister when he was chancellor - he may not have caused all the problems but the policies he pursued have made the problem worse for us all - and our grandchildren as well. Read this and I suspect that you will not see him as 'Super Gordon' after this.
Damm good read - making financial economics interesting !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Galloway on 1 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
Robert Peston writes excellent understandable and uncluttered english,dealing with what could be a complicated subject in a straightforward way [just like his television appearances].His detailed background knowledge of his subject, and the players in it,is impressive,and his explanations as to how and where the billions of all our money has gone,whilst not surprising,is most revealing.A must read.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By R. Parry on 27 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
To predict the future it is necessary to understand the past and Robert Peston's book is a valuable, well written and easy to read way to do this. It is the recent background to the business elite of a Britain that now faces an unprecedented financial mess

It gives colourful insight into the big personalities ( Philip Green, Stuart Rose, Allan Leighton ) the big financial organizations ( hedge funds private equity firms, and globalised investment banks) and the big politics which provide the backdrop to the dance of excess and greed that led us into the current melt down.

Much of the material is not new but it is very well told. It's a journalist's book rather than that of an historian. In truth it is really a number of different short books pulled together between one set of covers. It is a series of stand alone stories: Arcadia Group, Marks & Spencer's, Royal Mail, a who's who of hedge funds and private equity and the background to the sale of honours.

Peston has had a ringside seat for the past few years and this book allows us to share his privileged access. Most of the individual stories are fascinating, well written and related by a deeply well connected and knowledge insider. Although, to be honest, the chapter on pensions is rather hard going and only for real enthusiasts like Lord Turner who gets numerous mentions.

The title is a little misleading and echo perhaps of the seminal "Anatomy of Britain". by Anthony Sampson. "Credit Crunch: The Suspects" might have been a better alternative.

And finally in one sense the book is a mystery story. Does Peston like Gordon Brown and the Labour party or not? He seems unsure himself but at least it keeps the reader guessing.

All in all an adornment to any book shelf.
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