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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 17 July 2008
I read this book on a train journey as it is fairly short. At times I felt overpowered by the profusion of figures, and I think here caution is called for.

After having worked in the field of healthcare IT for about 20 years, I like to think I know something about it. In his previous book "Plundering the Public Sector" Mr. Craig made at least one large arithmetical error favouring his general argument about the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

What's more, William Faulkner said "kill your darlings" referring to being ruthless in revising drafts, but Mr. Craig seems to have been unable to do that and still perpetuates the inaccuracy from his previous book that NPfIT was "sexily renamed" Connecting for Health. It wasn't.

Nonetheless, though this book doesn't present many reasoned options, it does give food for thought and is enjoyable enough.
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on 18 January 2009
Having read Plundering the Public Sector, I was no less taken with Squandered.

Whilst it could be argued that the reliance on the British right-wing press for references could be regarded as lazy writing, this book is none the less devestating for it.

The lies, spin, waste and incompetence of the past 11 years are laid bare in health, education, defence, welfare, policing and the EU for all to see.
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on 4 June 2008
I came to this book having previously read the same author's (with a collaborator) Plundering the Public Sector. On the basis of that I was hoping for some reasonably detailed analysis of how and why public expenditure has increased so much for seemingly so little return, making use of the author's own professional experience and the insight gained. Perhaps as a result my expectations were different from those of some of the other reviewers of this book, for I am afraid that I was very much disappointed.

What we have here is a polemic rather than an analysis, a parade of New Labour's high crimes and misdemeanours, and context is for wimps. The author may also have allowed his partisanship to overcome his circumspection; either that or he has been too inspired by the New Labour Book of Statistical Presentation. Thus there are a number of places in graphs and in text where various little tricks have been rolled out to encourage the unwary to jump to a foregone conclusion. This rather detracts from the seriosness of the enterprise.

After a couple of chapters I felt I was reading a very long comment piece from the Daily Telegraph. Reference to the `Notes on Chapters' explained why. Just over 40% of the references (I'm afraid I counted) are to articles in daily and Sunday newspapers, mainly the Telegraph, the Mail and the Times, plus a few to the generally more objective and reliable Private Eye magazine. The term `cut and paste job' comes to mind.

If you are someone who just can't get enough of the Daily Telegraph, or you want a list of Gordon Brown's atrocities to reel off to your mates down the pub (or on the fuel duty demo perhaps), this is very much the book for you. If you are after an even halfway serious discussion of what may have gone wrong with public policy and management in this country I would advise you not to squander your money on buying this book, or your time in reading it.
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on 21 May 2014
David Craig is on the few authors whose books I buy upon general principle. This was the first book of his that I read and it captured my imagination to the extent that I went away and wrote a book of my own about the failure of the UK Higher Education system. This is a depressing but revealing overview of the financial incontinence of the New Labour administration alongside a top level overview of what difference this huge splurge actually made to the services received by the British people. I would also thoroughly recommend Mr Craigs excellent blog "Snouts in the Trough" - required reading to understand Britain as it is today, rather than Britain as our political class imagine it to be.
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on 28 February 2010
I first bought this book in an airport going on holiday, once i had got to my destination and started to read this book sat in the sun relaxing i was unable to put it down, it is so good and it just goes to show how much the honest hardworking people of the UK are been ripped off by politicians and the Government,it will make you mad but i guarantee you WILL NOT be able to resist reading on and on further into the book. I ended up swearing at the book and been told off by my wife !If you want to know where your hard-earned cash is going in taxes, buy this book you will learn a lot about the rip-off Government we live under.Squandered
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on 8 April 2009
A MOST enlightening read. After reading it, my first reaction was "How do they get away with it?", it is almost unbelievable, how our elected representatives, and the top civil servants who they are supposed to control, squander our money and feather their own nests. Then my second reaction was "What can we do about it?". I find it difficult to think how we can stop it, and quickly. I shall certainly write to my MP, MSP and MEP, and say that they must read it, if they have not already done so, and ask what they are going to do about it.
I am glad my home is all electric, because if I had a gas oven .........
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on 5 February 2010
Depressing read on how the government of the UK throw our taxes around like confetti and mess around with our lives in general.
Labour are particularly targeted because after all they are the party who create unnecessary jobs in the public sector on a massive scale.
Reading this book makes you want to see them hang.
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This is a useful book. It's not as much fun as "plundering the Public Sector" It reads a bit like a listed indictment rather than a coherent narrative.

However perhaps that's the point. The current government has squandered money incoherently across multiple areas of national life for very little return. This book demonstrates exactly how much has been wasted, and where it has been wasted.

The case for the prosecution is well made.
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on 2 March 2015
Depressing to read how our money is wasted for the self-aggrandisement of politicians regardless of party. We the people should treat them like football club managers and kick them out more often.
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on 3 July 2015
I did not like it.I gave away the book after reading less than half of it.
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