47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only half of this is true, it's frightening enough
On one level, this book wouldn't look out of place as an extended Daily Mail or Telegraph leader, albeit significantly better written than most. On another level, given the credentials of the author and his closeness to the affairs of government, it has to be taken as more than a reactionary rant or the sounding off of a golf club bore. Dr Butler has clearly thought this...
Published on 20 Mar 2009 by Bezza
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag
A worryingly high number of good points, diluted by a tendency towards unreasonable rants (even New Labour wasn't uniformly wrong or bad), and the whole let down by terribly sloppy type-setting and no evidence of proof-reading. To transpose all dashes and hyphens might be amusing; to apply them in a random way that, in the worst cases, requires a reader to examine the...
Published on 10 May 2010 by Picky reader
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the free thinker,
This review is from: The Rotten State of Britain: Who Is Causing the Crisis and How to Solve It (Paperback)This book provides a pretty thorough and very easy-to-read summary of the state of Britain as it enters 2010, written about the system, by someone who thinks, it seems, only in terms of the system.
The 15 Chapters commence with a precise of what is to come and then leads the reader through an analysis of the state of Britain covering topics such as economy, government, justice, nanny state, education and health. Each chapter treats the reader to an emotional ride through the ideas, policies and results of the New Labour government. Be warned! If you get aggravated by politics and the government, maybe you should meditate or go for a walk before or after reading each chapter!
There is not however - and perhaps it is outside of the books premise - an analysis of the legacy left behind by the Conservatives and how this impacted upon the New Labour government and policies.
The final chapter the author reserves for his solutions to the rotten state of Britain. This is where personally I think the book falls down. Partly because I found the final chapter a bit too short (possibly due to length of book required by publishers; we'd been treated to a lengthy narrative on the rotten state of Britain and then unfortunately been given what a short summary of possible solutions?). But what I found more disappointing was that the author appears unable to really think outside of the box.
His solutions are still part of the same system that has failed us all, if you disagree with that statement consider the homeless (not that all are necessarily unhappy living as they do), the abused, the drug abuse, the prison system, the necessity to spend most of our time working in order to live in this system and so on. There are no radical alternatives, but rather alongside decentralisaion (a positive idea in my opinion) a submission of the idea that we should all increase our working age to 68. Of course, the wealthy would not need to do this, unless of course they are too addicted to their overblown status (politicians come to mind, as do media presenters) but most of us would have to. Personally I find that idea repulsive and indicative of someone who really cannot see any alternative.
So, in conclusion. If you can only think in terms of this system, then this is a good book to read. If you are a free thinker and looking for an alternative to this sad attempt at civilisation look elsewhere.
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars catchy title - not a great read,
This review is from: The Rotten State of Britain: Who Is Causing the Crisis and How to Solve It (Paperback)This book seems to be a combination of "Taking Liberties" by Chris Atkins and "The Triumph of the Political Class" by Peter Oborne. Both of these are better written. This one is more up to date.
While I agree with the underlying points that he is making, in his enthusiasm to make the point, he is a little sloppy in his research, a little lazy in his writing, and the sub-editing is a bit weak.
For example he criticises this government for rebranding what was called the Department for Trade and Industry" the "Department for Enterprise", now whatever we might think of the second name, it has existed since 1988 when the then Minister, Lord Young gave DTI a whizzy new look. However, Butler doesn't mention the brief rebranding (you couldn't make it up) of DTI as the Department for Productivity, Enterprise, Industry and Science), which some branding guru clearly thought was the right image until it was changed into an acronym. In fairness to Alan Johnson, one of the decent ones, when he got the job he just told them to change it back.
It's not the only example of sloppiness, and I hasten to add that I entirely agree with the gist of the book, it's just that I wish he'd done a better job of it.
If you've read Atkins or Oborne you don't need this one.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BROWN SHOULD TAKE NOTE,
This review is from: The Rotten State of Britain: How Gordon Lost a Decade and Cost a Fortune (Paperback)An excellent book that holds back no punches by revealing the sorry way that our nation has been plundered largely by New Labour's ideals and the Blair/Brown partnership. Who ever thought Brown was an excellent Chancellor? Remember he sold a large chunk of our gold reserves at rock bottom prices? The book highlights how he has continued to squander the tax payers' money, often on ill-conceived schemes that has almost bankrupted the country and taken us from boom to bust and then manipulated the figures in a lame attempt to make the situation appear better. It may be remembered that Brown was going to 'Save the World' but this fell flat and his mistakes and misguided policies has left Britain's economy (at the time of writing) alone in recession.
Eamonn Butler's excellent book also summarises how ordinary people are under constant surveillance in a way that Communist Russia would have envied. The lively text explains how our rights are being eradicated by a Government that appears to view its people as 'The Enemy Within' (my description). The book looks at the others within the elite class that have conspired to bleed the country dry at enormous cost to the rest of us while they have amassed huge personal fortunes from a system that has continued to reward failure.
It is a book every thinking citizen should read - and read now - before the rot goes even deeper. We must be concerned and we need to be careful about electing the right kind of politicians who are honest and sincere; although this might be just wishful thinking.
We badly need a new government, one that will be savvy enough to pull us out of this mess but it will be a very rocky ride and the next prime minister will need to be extremely courageous if he is to succeed.
8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars nothing new here, move along,
This review is from: The Rotten State of Britain: Who Is Causing the Crisis and How to Solve It (Paperback)Stilted prose, no analysis, and a blatant privatisation agenda. Eamonn Butler's book reads as though most of it was culled from the Daily Mail. There is little to disagree with in the broad thrust of his argument, but the point has been more thoughtfully made elsewhere.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as 'Squandered' or 'Fleeced',
This review is from: The Rotten State of Britain: How Gordon Lost a Decade and Cost a Fortune (Paperback)An OK book, but didn't seem particularly original. Personally, I found 'Squandered: How Gordon Brown is wasting over one trillion pounds of our money' and 'Fleeced' by David Craig were much better reads.
2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It really just comes over as abit of a rant,
This review is from: The Rotten State of Britain: How Gordon Lost a Decade and Cost a Fortune (Paperback)I got this book because of the title and wanting to know just how bad this Labour Government is.
What I got was a book that was simply a rant with a few facts thrown in. Best typified by the author putting in some really petty things that have no real significance.
This is best emphasised on 'living' where he in effect critises the smoking ban because there are some cigarette butts dropped outside pubs and clubs. Petty and totally missing the point of the ban and the benefits it conveys. This was hardly an isolated example as he just often talks about things the Government has tried to do and mentions some disadvantages - most decisions have some disadvantages, it is whether they outweigh the benefits or beat doing nothing.
Another slant of his is the civil liberties on, which is in contradiction to his wanting crime more effectively dealt with. It comes over as very petulant which is a shame when he was spot on in condemning making laws to deal with terrorism and then employing them against domestic protesters who annoy MPs.
Also book is poorly edited and has numerous spelling mistakes. For a book essentially just critising others, it is rather ironic.
But, what ruins it for me is that apart from the scale of public debt, there is nothing too surprising. The analysis is skin deep, there are no coherent solutions and his political affiliations are just too much on evidence.
Also, for such a massive subject, the book is just too brief.
May as well just read a forum post from a reasonably well informed Tory supporter.
7 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars preaching to the choir,
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The Rotten State of Britain: How Gordon Lost a Decade and Cost a Fortune by Eamonn Butler (Paperback - 10 Dec 2009)
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