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52 Reviews
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51 of 54 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

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't get to the root cause of all our troubles
I'm not sure what to make of this book! While I don't disagree with the facts and figures as presented in the text, Butler's concentration on attacking New Labour seems to only look narrowly at the problems we face as a nation. All of the things he complains about, from over-centralisation of power to the assault on our liberties, have come about over the last thirty...
Published on 26 Sep 2009 by Mr. Dh Sharman


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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Rotten State of Britain, 9 April 2009
By 
S. H. Wilson - See all my reviews
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This book shoud be compulsory reading for everyone in this country. It tells us just how much politicians have ruined Britain. They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHOCKING, 11 Aug 2009
This indictment of Blair and Brown's tenure will shock and appal most readers. To see the long trail of disaster in one place is truly mind boggling. It should be read at the same time as Peter Oborne's book on the Political Class. Both will become classics of the times.
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21 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flawed study of a flawed system, 21 May 2009
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Butler is the Director of the Adam Smith Institute, which the publisher calls `non-political'. Yet the Institute calls itself `the UK's leading innovator of free-market economic and social policies'. Hardly non-political then: I wonder if it gets tax relief as a charity?

Butler points out that the government has sidelined parliament, the civil service, the monarchy, the Cabinet and the judiciary. It has attacked our liberties, through surveillance, insecure databases, ID cards and floods of regulations. The Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life said the government's effect on public trust was `wholly, completely and unforgivably negative'.

The number of occupational pension schemes has halved since 1997; only one in three is still open to new members. Pension funds invested large sums in British industry, and Brown's theft of £175 billion from them meant that they had less money to invest. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that civil servants warned Brown that this would happen. Brown denied that he had received this advice. The government, allied with finance capital, is destroying the economy, especially its key part, manufacturing industry.

Savings are vanishing, personal, company and public borrowing are all booming: household debt is £1.6 trillion, government debt £4.6 trillion. 80% of new jobs in the private sector have gone to migrant workers from Eastern Europe `keeping wages down', as Butler notes approvingly.

The welfare system is not working, education could do better and so could the NHS. But Butler's proposal to privatise them all would make things worse. He writes, "the private sector ... creates the wealth that the public sector spends." No - under privatisation the public sector funds the private sector. Much of the money that Labour claims it has put into hospitals and schools actually went straight through and out the other side into the grasping hands of private firms.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the free thinker, 7 Jan 2010
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 Sep 2014
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Read it and weep!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Sep 2014
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Horrifyingly true
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BROWN SHOULD TAKE NOTE, 29 Dec 2009
By 
R. Bluffield "Bob Bluffield" (Milton Keynes, UK) - See all my reviews
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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.
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars catchy title - not a great read, 19 April 2009
By 
gerryg - See all my reviews
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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.
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8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars nothing new here, move along, 11 Nov 2009
By 
C. Gimblett (France) - See all my reviews
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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.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as 'Squandered' or 'Fleeced', 6 April 2010
By 
manager (london, england) - See all my reviews
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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.
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