Conservative MPs claim that British workers are idlers

The MP for South West Norfolk, Elizabeth Truss, who was recently promoted to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Education, has collaborated with four other MPs in publishing a book – Britannia Unchained.  

The publication is intended to suggest the way forward for government policy by drawing comparisons with countries that are at the present time enjoying faster economic growth than the UK.

Some of Ms Truss’ constituents are alarmed by the way the book alleges that British schoolchildren opt for the less academic subjects when setting their examination options, implying that they are lazy and lack ambition.

One chapter in the book, ‘Work Ethic’, has the controversial comment: ““Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.”

This, according to Ms Truss, is the cause of our economic ills.  Such an outmoded opinion is somewhat surprising, coming as it does from a woman with a northern left-wing family background.  Foreign immigrants are also praised as they are alleged to work much harder than British employees.

Comparing India, or indeed China with the UK in this regard is of course meaningless.  If you are growing up today in our relatively comfortable society (created by the hard work of millions of Britons since the last war) your attitude to virtually everything is going to be different from your counterparts in such countries as India.

Everyone would agree that all is not well with education in the UK – as evidenced by the recent exam results debacle.  Things must change in our schools as the country moves towards becoming mainly a service and technology based economy.  As Ms Truss progresses in her new post perhaps she will have the answer to these problems, as she is to be responsible for influencing our children’s development through their schooling in the early years.

Local comments include those by Jessica Asato, the Labour parliamentary candidate for the Norwich North constituency: “Thousands of shift workers in Norwich who work so hard just to put a meal on the table for their kids will be offended by the claim that they are idle. Liz Truss is merely detracting attention from the true cause of the double dip recession which Britain is now facing; it was made in Downing Street by the Tory-led government and its failed economic plans.

Opinions on Amazon are polarized:

“This book pulls no punches. The path is clear. We have to be brave enough to take it.” – Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco 1997 – 2011

Reader review:  “Reading the early reviews about this silly so-called book, it is apparent that the authors have done no authentic research and have merely quoted spurious newspaper articles. Amateur at best, right wing cry baby rhetoric otherwise, written by a group of over privileged rich kids, who no-doubt had their mummies spoon feed them until they were in their teens. To describe British workers as ‘idlers’ is not only shameful and wicked, but shows a total lack of respect for those who work harder in a day than these Tory idiots and loafers do in their useless lifetimes. As for writing that we should be more like China? Well, I don’t think trying to emulate one of the most brutal regimes in modern history is the best way forward. Just goes to prove that these ignorant Tory fools don’t have a clue. What a bunch of wretches they must be!”



David Hobart

I grew up in Norfolk and have lived and worked in the county all my life.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Celina Bledowska

    Perhaps she’s just ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know.’ One of the reviews suggests that she’s an enemy of the ‘Turnip Taliban’ aka the farmers of Norfolk! The more I read about her, the less I understand. Thanks David for the review.

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