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The Rotten State of Britain Paperback – February 13, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eamonn Butler is the head of the London-based Adam Smith think tank and the author of several books including The Best Book on the Market: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Free Economy (9781906465056, 2008). He frequently writes for the Guardian and Independent.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Square Books Ltd (February 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906142343
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906142346
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,026,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Junglies VINE VOICE on August 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since I left Britain in 1995 to avoid haing to become a citizen of the European Union, I can testify to the validity of Eamonn Butler's book.

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.
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Format: Paperback
The blunt title is not just an attention getter for this book, but a statement of fact. Butler truly describes how bad things have gotten in the UK under current Labour government led by Gordon Brown. While many of the problems began under Blair he explains how they have accelerated under the current Prime Minister.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Dr Butler has penned a ruefully accurate portrait of a country that has - despite all the promises made in 1997 by the-then premier Tony Blair - become less prosperous, less free, more unequal, more nannied and supervised than what existed before. I think what makes this book particularly useful is how Dr Butler draws together the different critiques that have been made by various commentators in recent years and puts them all together. He covers the deterioration in public finances - already bad when this book went to print and now even worse - the inefficiency of our education and health sectors; the shocking erosions of important protections of freedom, such as the snooper state; he also chronicles the obsession with removing all risk from our lives. Dr Butler is particular effective in his use of data and real-life details to make his points, whether it is showing how regulations of "wheelie bins" can be used to harrass householders, through to the many examples of how confidential personal data has been lost by state officials.

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.
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