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Review: Who runs Britain by Robert Peston

Robert Peston is the BBC business editor. You’ll probably know his name because when the credit crunch was making headlines, Robert Peston changed from being someone who just reported the news to someone who was the news. His reports became closely followed by the financial world and what he said could move individual shares and even influenced the events leading to the run on the Northern Rock bank.

Robert Peston’s book was revised and re-launched to capitalise on his new found fame and the ensuing economic crisis.

Peston covers a broad range of topics from private equity, to pension funds, to how the wealthy are using their money to influence political policy.

The private equity boom is explored in detail. Philip Green, Arcadia and Marks and Spencer get plenty of page space. He inter-mingles his commentary with old first hand interviews that he has done with the main players.

He covers how hedge funds and private equity have lead to a huge re-distribution of money from the many to few. This is linked in with the current pension crisis – the crisis being in both the standard government pension and also with private pensions – especially final salary ones.

All in all this is a very interesting read. Peston has a wide breadth of knowledge as well as well as first hand knowledge of the people involved. A good read if you want to understand more about the broader economic and political conditions in Britain that lead to some of the economic problems that we now face.


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