A review of “On Rock or Sand?: Firm Foundations for Britain’s Future”, edited by John Sentamu
I listened with mouth wide open as a single mother complained on a radio interview about how the government benefit cuts had affected her. With mouth wide open not because of her complaint itself, as if complaining about the loss of a thing that you have once taken for granted – like being able to afford an holiday at least once in a year – but the thinking that these things are themselves essential to existence and not extras to be paid for with the so called disposable income. She wasn’t struggling to feed her children, afford clothes, have a roof over her head, nor with a lack of warmth or anything basic. She complained about not being able to afford a Holiday !
I was initially going to (and had earlier written) write a much harsher review of this and the goodreads version which you can easily find can be considered quite critical. I will not quote it here for the sake of not repeating what I have said elsewhere.
[Sidenote: I do sometime re-post those goodreads review here verbatim, sometimes slightly edited]
There is not much wrong with this book on the surface since all, will not doubt applaud an attempt at chiding bankers because everyone hates bankers from before, and made even more fashionable since 2008. What is also said about what it means to be a part of society, fairness and equality and all that nice stuff can hardly be argued against, albeit this was written in the same way you’d expect a politician nowadays to talk – very practically, in a way the common man will understand. All well and good (or not). Comments on political talk for another post.
In terms of the economic ideas articulated, it is again written in simple terms and there is not much wrong with it on the surface and I found myself agreeing with almost all that was said. Also, I leave any critique of this book on this aspect to those who have a better understanding of the economy that I do, and some have already expressed their reservations.
Where there is cause for concern personally is the theological aspect in which my critique will be in the same line of corrections one will offer to any proponents of what is known as “Liberation Theology”. I have written a bit about this here and will not repeat nor apply that in this particular instance.
In conclusion, put this at the bottom of your reading list and get to it if you have the time, it can be skimmed. Do not expect thunder and lightning, more like a light rainfall. The analysis is just not robust enough.