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57 of 60 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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15 of 19 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 Sept. 2009 by Mr. Dh Sharman


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only half of this is true, it's frightening enough, 20 Mar. 2009
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 through and worked out his argument in fine detail, even allowing for his occasional divergences into personal diatribe.

What he expresses is what many of us sense, without access to the sources that he has to verify our instincts. It's a pretty damning condemnation of what has been a wretched and deeply wasteful regime. Not before time and not without very good reason.

I recently emigrated with my family from the UK to Germany. Aside from the personal reasons behind the move, at least a part of the final decision was made for us by the self-evidently parlous state of education, health and welfare provision in the UK. In short, it was obvious to us that (unless we were willing to take a chance on the local state schools - we weren't) a decent education for our son was going to cost us the thick end of 100K - money we neither had nor wished to invest in that way - that public health provision was a demonstrable shambles, and that any attempt we made to provide for a comfortable retirement was very less than certain to be successful. This much was blindingly obvious from personal experience, even without Dr Butler's informed analysis.

So we left, taking ten of thousands of pounds worth of UK tertiary education with us, for a country that has already achieved much of what Dr Butler puts on his wish list at the end of this intriguing book. Germany is run as a confederation of states, with strong local government and clear lines of accountability. It shows. Things work. On the face of it, taxation looks like it will cost us a similar amount to what we were used to paying in the UK, but I don't mind because it gives us excellent services. In the end, neither my wife nor I had the 50 years or so to wait for the UK to look across the Channel and apply some of the lessons offered by their European neighbours.

It isn't rocket science, nor, as Dr Butler points out, is change likely to happen any time soon, as long as the UK maintains a political system based entirely on interest groups and party politicking, miles removed from any sort of real public accountability - like losing your job if you mess up - and in service apparently exclusively to itself.

Dr Butler's book makes for a depressing if enlightening read. I found myself thinking 'it can't be this bad', but then looking to my own experiences and seeing the truth in what he said. In the end, if he is only half right, it's reason enough to march in the streets and get not a tweak to the current system, but root and branch reform. A timely message, but will it be heeded? Can it be?
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emphatic and authoritative demolition of the Blair-Brown years, 3 Mar. 2009
By 
Miles Saltiel "Miles Saltiel" (London England) - See all my reviews
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Dr Butler has written an book whose passion does nothing to take away from its cool-headed analysis. His demolition of the Blair/Brown years embraces not merely New Labour's well-known failings: spin over substance, the nanny and surveillance state, stealth taxes and wasted money, but illustrates the emptiness of its proudest boasts: "no return to boom and bust", "education, education, education", "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".

He makes no bones that Blair and Brown built on weaknesses already present, in particular Britain's chronic over-centralisation, but also points to New Labour's doleful record of undermining checks on executive power in the civil service, parliament and elsewhere.

He concludes with a well-judged call for central government to retreat from responsibilities which it cannot discharge. His book is far better qualified to set a pre-election agenda (and far more moral) than Will Hutton's 1996 diatribe, from which it takes its name.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rotten but not Broken, 7 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Rotten State of Britain: How Gordon Lost a Decade and Cost a Fortune (Kindle Edition)
HaHa! Now I see how Gordon did it. What an eyeopener! However, although the current lot appear to be recovering the perilous situation in our nation - I see why most of the damage is irrecoverable. And the medicine is for some worse than the disease - Gordon and obviously Blair may claim 'unintended consequences', but the control at the centre now appears to be unstoppable.Britain may have got some world respect back since the book was written - but we still have no respect for our own bankers, who, even now, receive bonuses more than their salaries. Just like our MPs (particularly ministers) - they have no idea they should be responding to constituents needs not their whips - spin doctors still rule the roost. If they were as honest as this book is, this nation would be less rotten, and Eamonn Butler would be able to write a follow up to this revealing book - I certainly enjoyed and learnt a lot from it.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every citizen of the UK should read this, 5 Mar. 2009
By 
Adam S (Kensington, London) - See all my reviews
The Rotten State of Britain successfully analyses the past 15 years of Britain's economic, political, and social history in an effort to get to the root of the country's current overriding problems. This is a book that every citizen of the UK should read, for it speaks not about policies foreign to the average taxpayer but issues that affect daily life. From the overwhelming state of surveillance to the rising absence of civil liberties, not to mention the soaring taxes, which are too often wasted on failing programs and companies, most of the topics get right to the effects on the citizen. Even more daunting are his alarming studies in healthcare, education, and the state of welfare. The Rotten State of Britain is not a book on cynicism but realism, and if the rest of the country becomes aware of these follies, the problems may become easier to correct. An excellent read from beginning to end and a work that people from every background can enjoy, it is thorough, concise, and riveting.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome insight to the state of Britain, 3 Mar. 2009
By 
Magnus M. Magnusson (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
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I had an oppertunity to read an early release of Dr. Butlers new book. I was impressed with his frank analysis of the current situation of the economic downturn of Britain. Dr Butler draws out the essential details of why we are in the present predicament. His analysis of what New Labour has done to the British Economy is most revealing. It is done in a fashion that makes it understandable to the ordinary reader and is an eyeopener as an explanation to the (rotten) state of the economy of Britain
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rotten Britain, 1 Mar. 2009
By 
Mr. I. Geldard (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Rotten State of Britain, by Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute, describes the decline of the British political system under New Labour and details how a party which has traditionally been a strong supporter of civil liberties has set about creating a surveillance state through a massive erosion of traditional British freedoms.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars certainly he made some appalling errors and helped to mess up the country alongside his best 'frenemy' Tony Blair, 19 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Rotten State of Britain: How Gordon Lost a Decade and Cost a Fortune (Kindle Edition)
An interesting book, marred by typing errors. It's sub-title is a little harsh on Gordon Brown; certainly he made some appalling errors and helped to mess up the country alongside his best 'frenemy' Tony Blair. But, to be fair, British politicians have been ruining the country for decades. Too many of them, in all the main political parties, come from an affluent, public-school/Oxbridge background and have little understanding of the real world in which most of us struggle to survive. Quite why anyone would think that a politician with a doctorate in history was ever going to be a brilliant Chancellor has always baffled me. He wasn't, nor was he a good Prime Minister. But along the way, he had plenty of help from Tony Blair, Ed Balls, Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell, to name but a few. They built on the Thatcher/Major legacy and continued the trend towards centralist Government, rammed through the politicisation of the once independent Civil Service and fostered the relentless growth of the nanny state. Oh, and it is ironic that a book which correctly chastises New Labour for spin and deception should, at times, use the same techniques to support it's own message!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a waste .., 8 April 2009
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As Ian Dury would say..
What a waste of a country, what a waste of opportunity, what a waste of resources. Every taxpayer ought to realise what our government and Nu-Labour is actually doing with our money and how after more than a decade of the "schools and hospitals" mantra, they have delivered almost nothing of real value to our nation whilst spending untold billions in doing so.
Before I read this book I was laid back on infringement of civil liberties - after reading it I can only support the T-Shirt slogan which reads "1984 was a warning - it shouldn't be the Nu-Labour instruction manual".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rotten State of Britain by Eamonn Butler, 7 April 2009
By 
Mrs. J. Fisk "julief1948" (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I read this book with an open mind - initially thinking the author was enjoying a good "rant". But the issues covered certainly opened my eyes and I have lent the book out already to several people. - And its certainly stirred them up a bit!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another essential read from Dr Butler, 3 Mar. 2009
By 
Dr. Helen Evans (London) - See all my reviews
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This book is another must read from Dr Butler. His brilliant analysis of the state that New Labour has left us in gives plenty of food for thought. The final chapter "Stopping the Rot" should be required reading for all in public service.
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