The Silent State: Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy Paperback – 6 Jan 2011
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"You won't know whether to laugh or rise up and overthrow absolutely everything." (CHARLIE BROOKER)
"She's a total ninja." (BEN GOLDACRE)
"A wonderful book... Heather Brooke puts every other British journalist to shame. She has changed British public culture and earned an essential place in our national history. She is an extraordinary figure who must be celebrated." (PETER OBORNE)
"Secrecy is one of the great British diseases. It's so secret that we don't even admit we suffer from it. Heather Brooke is part of the cure - challenging the routine concealment and distortion of important information. There should be more journalists doing the same." (NICK DAVIES)
"'passionate, eloquent and persuasive...We need the likes of Heather Brooke to challenge, to take up grievances and to campaign.'" (Peter Riddell,Times Book of the Week)
A modern classic of journalism and an iconic investigation of power in C21st Britain, by one of the country's leading reporters.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Heather lifts the lid on the rotten heart of British democracy and exposes just how little real information the electorate actually have to work with when judging the performance of their elected officials, police services and judiciary.
We pay for huge amounts of data to be gathered on our behalf and about us, and yet we are (in many cases explicitly) denied access to that data. Sometimes we get to pay for it many times over before being presented with a figure-fiddled, dumbed-down press release that bears little or no resemblance to the facts.
In many ways a lot of UK voters already suspect many of the issues raised in this book, but to see the hard facts is something of a smack-in-the-face. If you are suffering from voter apathy, this is one book that is guaranteed to stir you out of it.
Heather has a wonderfully fluid and accessible writing style that carries you through what could easily have been a dry subject with ease and humour. Her ability, and persistance, to get at the truth places her at the pinnacle of modern investigative journalism and, for me, the name Heather Brooke belongs amongst those of game-changes like Bob Woodward,Carl Bernstein and Amira Hass.
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").Read more ›
I recommend this book highly, but be prepared to get angry!
I have Heather Brooke's previous book "your Right to Know" Which I bought at a conference about freedom in journalism, having heard her speak. She is a brave and exciting author and I recommend reading her work.
Heather Brooke was also largley responsible for bringing into the open the MPs expenses scandal, which eventually the Telegraph took a lot of the credit for.
The author - rightly - draws attention to the (existing) rights of public access to local authorities' financial transactions but makes no mention of the abuses that occur and public money wasted as a result of some 'questions and objections' from members of the public - all of which have to be responded to. It would have been useful if the author had pointed out that this (existing) provision applies only to local authorities - ?as will the new £500 requirement - what about the rest of the public sector - especially central government and quangos.
However these are relatively small gripes - still strongly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The biggest load of rubbish I have ever read. I'll just mention a few points.
1. She says that the wages of public servants should be published as we pay their wages. Read more
If you ever believed that as a UK citizen you lived in a democratic country, the many revelations contained within this book will, I assure you, disabuse you of that wholly... Read morePublished 10 months ago by skeeter 62
A book that everyone should read Heather Brooke is outstandingPublished 14 months ago by michael cooper
You need, you definitely need to read this book. It could make you cry, it could make you laugh in unbelief, it could make you stand up and be counted.Published 17 months ago by shakespier