Nick Clark

Chasing Alpha

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Philip Augar, The Bodley Head; £20

When Alistair Darling announced the conclusions of the London G20 Summit to the House of Commons, he highlighted the need for tighter regulation of the financial services industry. But the near total absence of controls on the City's financiers, gamblers and associated snake oil salesmen was no accident. It was a deliberate policy aimed at ensuring London's role as a centre for financial "services".

Freudian slips

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The desertion of New Labour's welfare reform adviser Sir David Freud to the Tories highlighted how little there is to choose between the main parties' policies.

Freud's real expertise (if you can call it that) was as a banker, organising such notable successes as the flotations of Eurotunnel and Railtrack. And as we now know, failure in banking is no barrier to huge earnings. He could retire in his 50s, turning his attention to drafting up welfare reform proposals.

After a mere three weeks' research he announced that most Incapacity Benefit recipients could work, and that private contractors could get the long-term unemployed back to work - if the price was right. He also favoured making claimants work for their benefits.

Squandered

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David Craig, Constable, £8.99

Anyone listening to New Labour politicians justifying their performance on public services will have heard them claim to have increased spending to record levels. Yet anyone who works in or uses them feels that they are in crisis.

The Selfish Capitalist

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Oliver James, Vermilion, Oliver James
£14.99

Gordon Brown's drive to get people off benefits includes establishing a programme aimed at those with chronic depression. They will be given cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for six to 16 weeks, after which they are expected to be job ready. Former New Labour advisor Derek Draper described CBT with characteristic compassion: "It would make people more employable and better parents, thereby increasing productivity, cutting the benefits bill and reducing antisocial behaviour."

Who Runs Britain?

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Robert Peston, Hodder & Stoughton, £20

Robert Peston was a business journalist on the Financial Times and Sunday Telegraph, and is now working for the BBC. He uses his extensive contacts among the boardroom elite to identify some of the individuals who have become fabulously wealthy over the past 20 years - many of them under New Labour.

From Welfare State to Real Estate

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Kim Moody, The New Press, £15.99

The US is the wealthiest country in the world. New York, with its business district, Wall Street and Manhattan, is the wealthiest city. And yet poverty abounds.

Kim Moody shows how this is not an accident, but the result of a takeover of the administration of this city by a business elite. They despised the city's "social democratic" healthcare system, free university, welfare and housing programmes - a drag on their ability to make fortunes.

It's a Free World...

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Director: Ken Loach; Late September Channel 4

Angie, having been unjustly sacked from her job in an employment agency, sets up her own. But this is no conventional tale of plucky entrepreneurs building their business through sheer determination to win well-earned prosperity.

While Angie and her partner see their new business as a way out of economic hardship, it soon becomes clear that it will shape them more than they shape it. There has been much in the media about exploitation of migrant workers by gangmasters, but Ken Loach has not opted for the easy option of demonising them as simply "evil".

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