Four backbench Conservative MPs have written a book called ‘Britannia Unchained’ that is due to be released next month. The title of the book sounds like a BBC Three documentary about a bondage (something Tory MPs would no doubt feature quite heavily in) but it is actually a detailed right-wing prescription to fix ‘Broken Britain’. Basically, if you like the idea of a ‘Where’s Wally?’ book where you have to find the words ‘politically correct guardianistas’ on every page, this is the book for you.
There is a strong argument against allowing politicians to write books. His name is Jeffrey Archer. As this is a non-fiction book, however, it would be childish to make reference to him here.
A book by four right-wing MPs is unlikely to end up top of anyone’s Amazon wish-list. Maybe there is a gap in the market though, since Jeremy Clarkson appears to have emigrated to South African to advise the police on dealing with striking miners.
The main quote from the book so far is that…
The British are among the worst idlers in the world.
This is pretty standard talk radio stuff but still a bold statement for a bunch of politicians to make. It’s like Azil Nadir deciding to call everyone in the country corrupt or Philip Schofield referring to someone as a weird shrieking freak. I suppose if you take ‘the number of company directorships currently held’ as your measurement of idleness, the public are going to look a bit lazy in comparison with your average MP. If, however, you use ‘the number of days paid holiday per year’ or ‘time spent in the bar next to the office’, the public don’t come off too bad.
We work amongst the lowest hours, we retire early, and our productivity is poor.
Britain only has low working hours if you compare us with those countries where factories have to put up nets to catch suicidal workers. Our average working week is still over seven hours longer than Germany’s, yet their economy has recovered from the financial meltdown and ours keeps on dipping like a sherbet addict with a season ticket for Alton Towers. Anyway, isn’t people working less hours and retiring early is a good thing? At least with all that free time they can join the Big Society and help the disabled and infirm find Christ.
In true backbench Tory style, the quote moves on from sweeping generalisations to casual racism
Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.
I’m pretty sure that if you gave an Indian child the choice, they’d rather play for Manchester United than set-up a company making recycled toilet paper from pulped copies of ‘Britannia Unchained’.
The central argument of the book seems to be that British workers are over protected, and employers should be able to fire people without having to justify it (so-called no-fault dismissals). It stands to reason that the best way to get out of a recession in a consumer economy is to make it easier for companies to fire all those consumers. Genius. Presumably, if we had an export economy, or they’d be recommending we start bombing everywhere again to achieve the same result.
Worryingly, these MPs are supposed to have the ear of George Osborne. And not in a good way, like in a box or a jar. Still, at least whilst the economy is in such a mess, the Government can’t allow no-fault dismissals. We wouldn’t be able to afford the welfare payments.