Top critical review
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Doesn't get to the root cause of all our troubles
on 26 September 2009
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 years. Both the main parties have followed, more or less, the same policies, but he does not seem to recognise this. He doesn't analyse the changes to British society over the last forty or so years, and how this might affect how we see ourselves, neither does he understand the rise of consumerism, where we become consumers and customers, and not citizens. All these things are important, yet he ignores them. Then there are even deeper aspects to our consciousness, like our shared language and culture with the US and our hostility to non-English speaking Europe, where a different way of thinking has emerged, and where the ethos of the enlightenment endures.
The book simply doesn't go into these areas, and I find this frustrating, for I don't actually feel that he offers any real constructive way forward for policy- and decision-makers let alone the voting citizens. All in all, a disappointment