Consisting of 27 essays from an impressive line-up of authors - including MPs, respected journalists and barristers - the book is an eminently readable catalogue of the destruction of our freedoms and liberties in all spheres of life which, when put together in one tome like this, paints an appallingly oppressive picture of Britain today.
Readers of this blog will be most interested in the contributions of Brian Monteith, author of The Bully State featured in the right sidebar (which is where the BBW book is headed once I can remember how to do it), along with those of Philip Johnston, Josie Appleton, and Mark Littlewood. All chapters, however, are illuminating in their description of runaway state control and incessant interference in our everyday lives by local, national, and supra-national politicians.
Depressing though this publication is, departing BBW co-founder Alex Deane (left) should be congratulated for compiling a comprehensive account of how the state has shamefully abused its authority and systematically derogated the lives of all UK citizens by way of legislation, opprobium, surveillance, denormalisation and a total destruction of personal responsibility and self-reliance. The book lays down a marker by which to measure the future progress - or lack thereof - towards a respect for personal liberties previously believed to be enshrined in seminal laws passed by historic politicians who - unlike the current hideous crop - cared for the public's freedom over and above their own self-importance.
This contrast between a state which takes our civil liberties into account and the hideous mutation of governance we now suffer on a daily basis is starkly illustrated in the culmination of Leo McKinstry's chapter. In articulating the abject nature of authoritarian modern government, he points to a sadly prophetic quotation by Liberal PM, Lord Rosebery, delivered in 1908.
The modern cry is, 'Let the Government have a finger in every pie, probing, propping, disturbing. Every day the area of initiative is being narrowed, every day the standing ground for self-reliance is being undermined; every day the public infringes - with the best intentions no doubt - on the individual. The nation is being taken into custody by the state.'We are, indeed, now presumed to need guarding and cocooning from our own self-determination - whether we like it or not - by those we elect to serve, rather than master, us. It's high time such an invasive condescending attitude was challenged, so all credit to Alex and BBW for doing exactly that.
The book is available here for less than the price of a couple of pints of Guinness. I can heartily recommend its bite-sized format for the train, bath, bog, or wherever else you choose to do your reading.