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The Rotten State of Britain Paperback – February 13, 2009
Top Customer Reviews
The Parliament of Great Britain has become subordinate to the institutions of Europe and is but a translation device and rubber stamp for the conversion of European laws and regulaions into country specific versions for the various countries which make up the United Kingdom.
The liberalism of Britain which attracted Fredrich von Hayek when he fled from Germany has been supplanted by the dirigiste culture of Europe. While there is a little rearguard action, most of the time successive governments have paid lip service to the idea of Island Britain, using the EU as a straw man to help bolster their election prospects.
Both parties have little to choose between them having generally accepted Blair's views. The Houses of Parliament are now stuffed with yes-men professional politicians who look upon their role as employees first and foremost and the more independent House of Lords has been emasculated as the voice of reason and objective examination.
This book clearly demonstrates from an individualist and market based viewpoint how the fundamental nature of British society has been changed for the worst. At a basic level, individuals can no longer deal with things themselves as the departments of government have inserted themselves into every area of life. I am reminded of the expansion of the National Socialist Bureaucracy similarly in Hitler's Germany from 1933.
Most British sunjects will freely express their frustrations at their inability to get on in their lives without bumping into some stupid rule or another along the way. From speed cameras in remote areas to police activity in persecuting traders who want to sell things in pounds and not kilogrammes, there are innumerable examples to the insanity of British life today. The disparity of taxation on beer, wine and spirits which forced UK residents to go abroad and smuggle because the government wanted to bring them into line with Europe where people drink more wine than beer whereas Britains do the reverse, is a poignant example of the crass disregard Britain's politicians have for their constituents.
All in all this is a fine little book which suggests two further courses of action.
First, Eamonn Butler should write a British sequel and;
Secondly, he should commission an American auther to write the equivalent book for the United States.
The book sets out to detail all the various aspects of life that have worsened under Labour ranging from personal freedom thru taxation to the most basic provisions of health in the NHS. Dr Butler effectively prepares anyone who wishes to perforate the continued assertion that Britain is in its current state because of Conservative administration that ended over a decade ago.
He details the insidious nature of the politicalization by the Labour Party of all parts of the bureaucracy of British governance. Instead of unelected faceless bureaucrats there are party apparatchniks meddling in every aspect to make sure it meets with the Labour plan for Britain. In the greatest of ironies all those things that were criticized by Labour in opposition have been seized on an amped up under Labour.
A crumbling economy, infrastructure and place in the world continues to demonstrate Labour course to repeat the disasters of Labour controlled 1970s.
This book is both enlightening and wholly depressing for those who admire the UK. New Labour promised so much only to deliver far worse.
While Dr. Butler is not that keen on the current Conservative solution to New Labour, he does offer sage advice to all those willing to consider his ideas. If the Conservatives adopted his plan for their next manifesto they might have a good chance of sorting out the current mess.
I guess if there is a criticism here, it is that this book is mostly likely to be preaching to the converted, although I hope that even those who might be quite sympathetic to the Labour Party might have pause to wonder why things have gone wrong for this administration. Even so, Dr Butler avoids hectoring his audience or assuming that they all share his preconceptions. Up to a point, though, this book will tend to put off anyone who views society, economics and politics through mostly statist lenses. But if Dr Butler had to explain his philosophy and economics from first principles, he would have had to write a much longer book.
Dr Butler clearly demonstrates that classical liberalism is more than just about economics, but about freedom in every aspect of human life. I hope this book inspires those in opposition to this government to start addressing some of the many problems it addresses. They have a lot of work to do.