7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Long Live Freedom?,
This review is from: The Silent State: Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy (Paperback)This book is by the American (I think) lady journalist who blew open the UK Parliament's expenses scandal and one had to wonder where were all those highly-paid "political experts" on BBC, press etc, who seemed to be willing to cooncur with the freeloading and outright fraud of our so-called "democratic representatives". Heather Brooke is heroic and deserves more recognition.
This book goes into the extent to which the citizen has been gradually subdued and forced prone by the State, particularly (many might say) during the years from 1997 when The Party Formerly Known As Labour was in power. Not only in power at Westminster but in councils across the UK, which is where many of the worst abuses have happened. We have all learned about how ordinary local councils have (thanks to Blair-Brown) had the power to spy on people using methods previously used mainly by MI5 or special branches of the police: wiretaps, electronic bugging, tailing people for months...and often only to find out whether or not they should have put their children in a local school and not another one, etc.
The idea that this will change under the government of David Scameron would be at least optimistic. He seems to want to give back some rights to affluent citizens, while using thhat as a cover to cut useful/necessary services to the public....meanwhile, thhe 16 million people on benefits (particularly the 10 million poorest, who are unemployed, disabled, or spouses thereof) are going to be subject to an even more East German Stasi type of regime of coontrol and surveillance (and interrogations etc disguised as "helping people back to ---usually non-existent-- work").
A frightening book, with some gaps (I find that big business is at least as scary as Big Government and the two often work hand in hand anyway...) and some naiveties, but alll the same, one which every citizen ought to read (except those who, like Blair, as we now know --see Paul Johnson's memoirs-- find reading difficult).
Excellent on the whole.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Nov 2010 22:41:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Nov 2010 22:44:42 GMT
C. W. Bradbury says:
When the mass media tell us how much our living standards have improved over the last twenty/fifty years, it invariably fails to mention a very important proviso. Although compared to the 1950/60's the typical Westerner is now enjoying a better standard of living; relative to most of the Third World, Western living standards have been losing ground for some fifty years. This is made clear when one realises that whils't almost universally available throughout the West by the 1960's; much of Asia and Africa existed without electricity, clean water, television or even tinned food at that time. Since those far off days however, real wages in the West for the bottom 40% have actually been declining, while boosted by the transfer of manufacturing industry to China, India, Japan etc... average 'Third World' living standards have dramatically risen.
Having lived/worked in the Middle East, I noticed this reversal immediately following my return to the UK. Although the average British wage may still sometimes be higher; British prices are vastly higher than even their European equivalents; witness the millions 'voting with their feet' by travelling to Europe to buy wine, tobacco, petrol, cars etc... Once beyond Europe, the differences are even more startling!
Underpinned by a world class manufacturing/industrial base; fifty years ago British/American lifestyles were the envy of the planet. Tragically, our industrial collapse has now produced a situation in which Job Centre staff are frequently told by newly arrived immigrants that their previous 'Third World' lifestyle was better than that 'enjoyed' by today's underclass in Britain's city ghetto's.
With this historical track record in mind, I suggest that the huge deficit built up by Gordon Brown's government, plus the predicted 600,000 civil service/local gov't sackings and the 'removal' of an estimated 1,000,000 people from welfare/disability rolls planned by Dave Cameron's coalition are unwelcome admissions that our decline as a nation is still gathering pace. Without the profits generated by a productive/profitable industrial base, in the longer term we can neither employ all our people or pay adequate welfare to those left idle. This is not a recipe for social harmony.
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Dec 2010 13:44:46 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 6 Jul 2011 08:17:55 BDT]
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