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The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  4,172 Ratings  ·  409 Reviews
In The Establishment Owen Jones, author of the international bestseller Chavs, offers a biting critique of the British Establishment and a passionate plea for democracy

Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, O
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published September 4th 2014 by Allen Lane
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Ben Hathaway Because its analysed in such a way as to ignore the absolute failure of the Labour party en masse, and is wedded so dogmatically to the author's…moreBecause its analysed in such a way as to ignore the absolute failure of the Labour party en masse, and is wedded so dogmatically to the author's incredibly left wing views of the world as to be rendered close to a comic.
He does have a point, but continually thinking trade unions are the answer, and ignoring the impact of globalisation, makes a mockery of his analysis.
He reaches exactly the right conclusions, no questions about it, but there are no answers in this text. Its GCSE socialism for people indoctrinated in left wing clown-based economics. 50% of the book is great, 50% has been hijacked by an angry toddler. Its mindblowing how this has a 4.2 rating.(less)

Community Reviews

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Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had bought a copy of this book rather than borrowing it from the library. I would have loved to have filled it with underlinings, highlighting and assorted scriblings. Instead I took notes in a scrapbook as I went along, until my right hand almost fell off. What a great read!

My politics are more middle ground than Owen Jones's, who has strongly leftist sympathies, but even so I found much that I sympathised with, and found his critique of today's society in Britain, and his ideas for po
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Truly, if I could suggest one book that everyone in Britain should read, it would be this.

If you are disillusioned with politics, politicians, and how this country is run, you should read it. If you are actively engaged with politics, whether as a voter, activist, or elected representative, you should read it. If you really couldn't give a crap but have somehow still made it to the end of this paragraph, you should read it.

In The Establishment, Jones has bought together hundreds of examples of h
Stephen Goldenberg
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While I already knew about most of the facts gathered together in this book, by putting them all together Owen Jones builds up a powerful and, to me, unarguable polemic. While Britain has always been ruled by a powerful, wealthy establishment elite, there was a period from post-war until 1980 in which their power was being diminished and we were becoming a fairer and more equal society. All that, as this book shows, has been thrown into reverse over the past 30 years and inequality is now worse ...more
Mike Clarke
Nov 27, 2014 rated it liked it
An encouraging B minus for Jones Minor. The Establishment makes a spirited attempt to reclaim Establishment as an all-purpose derogatory for those in charge - The Powers That Be, you might say. Jones goes at it with all the gusto of his Guardian column, and with all its faults. Jones's solipsisms are writ large here: there is way too much scene setting and not enough meat. How many of his interviews with the great and the good, which form the bulk of his evidence, have a lengthy set up describin ...more
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
The Establishment... Everyone knows what you mean when you talk about it, but do you actually know what it is?

Sometimes though to be the aristocracy, or the political elite, in this book Jones aims to shine a bright light into the dark recesses of this shady group of people that run or control the country. Under that light we find politicians, peers of the realm, as you would expect but standing alongside them, looking shifty, are newspaper magnates, business leaders, the police, the oligarchs a
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A Christmas present from my daughter and currently my bedside read. However it's making me so angry I can't sleep, so I'll have to move it. For instance, Owen talks about how there is a derogatory programme about those on benefits, but none on tax dodgers. When Osborne talks about those who draw benefits as the same as muggers who rob you in the street, he neglects to tell you about his own scamming of the British taxpayer when he flipped his home to avoid capital gains tax, or how his firm hasn ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, that was very depressing. Owen Jones' book really needs an additional chapter titled 'And Then It All Got Worse: the 2015 Election and Brexit'. The current concluding chapter sounds an optimistic note, which is entirely crushed by knowledge of subsequent events. As for the rest, it is solid, clearly written, deeply enraging piece of longform journalism. Jones sets out in measured terms the roles of the police, politicians, bankers, etc in promoting neoliberal ideology and their own interes ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'll start by saying that I think Owen has a point. The police, political parties, bankers, and big business all protect their own interests, and over time those interests have become intertwined to the point that they all look out for one another. That much, I believe, is true.

My issue with the book is twofold:
1. It's not particularly well investigated. Much of the book is a summary of what's in the public domain (the death of Ian Tomlinson, the Hillsborough catastrophe etc) and is not investig
Alexander Popov
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
"The Establishment" is a case study of how neo-liberal, free market, survival-of-the-fittest ideas have hegemonized the political, economic and media space of modern Britain. But, as the author points out, those ideas have always been aimed to transcend national borders; a chapter of the book, dealing with the City of London, the heart of the world financial sector, is aptly called "Masters of the Universe", and the next one -- "The Illusion of Sovereignty". Reading this might open your eyes reg ...more
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
This book is kind of an audit of the state of the nation. And it doesn't make for nice reading. It starts off with the impact lunatic right wing think tanks have had (and how they hide in plain sight as moderates) on the political landscape. And then it works its way thorough politicians, the media, the City and the police. I don't think I have previously read a book that has made me incrementally more angry as I turned each single page. And I don't think I've read a book that has convinced me s ...more
Libros Prohibidos
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este libro es imprescindible para saber qué se está cocinando en la actualidad, por qué va el mundo en la dirección que va y, lo más importante, qué se debe hacer para evitarlo (algo mucho más simple que lo que los medios a diario nos hacen pensar). Si tienes la más mínima inquietud en materia política, este libro es imprescindible para ti. Reseña completa:
Athene Wherrett
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Enlightening. I especially liked the sections that covered the revolving door between politics and business, health ministers taking up posts with private health companies, accountants writing up tax laws then advising their clients on how to avoid tax laws. I do recommend it as a good overview of the current state of the political system.

Adam Higgitt
Jan 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
To appreciate this book, you have to understand what Owen Jones means by "the establishment". It turns out he means anyone who disagrees with his politics or has been instrumental in some way in frustrating the success of those politics over the past 30 years. The police, America, New Labour and virtually anyone with money are all included in this somewhat expansive definition.

After a few chapters, it becomes clear that the real purpose of the book isn't to identify and expose our controlling el
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: theory-of-bloom
Disciplining the home team

[Through my ratings, reviews and edits I'm providing intellectual property and labor to Inc., listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns and in 2014 posted revenues for $90 billion and a $271 million loss. Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Inc. is also requested to provide assurance that its employees and contractors' work conditions meet the highest health and safety standards at all the company's sites].

The book is in
Viv JM
DNF @ 24 pages. I might try again another time, but just didn't feel in the mood for this at the moment.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is the second work of non-fiction from Jones' that I've read, which means he is the only author to whom I have read all their books. That’s kind of cool.

Much like 'Chavs', this book is well researched; almost every sentence is inspired by some bit of background research, and I can't imagine how much time Jones must have spent putting this book together. If my opinion is that some parts of the book were baggy and exhaustive to read, I can only imagine how much time they must have taken to w
Malcolm Hebron
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
In the last week in the UK, we have learned that the Speaker of the House of Commons has taken trips from one part of London to another costing hundreds of pounds, peers have claimed £300 a day just for toddling to the House of Lords (no one seems to check whether they actually do anything once there) while Labour Lord Sewel has been filmed allegedly partying with two prostitutes and cocaine. All this has been paid for by the taxpayer, instructed by these admirable legislators to suck up whateve ...more
Robert Ronsson
Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The problem with this book is that the majority of the people who will read it are doing so to confirm their own understanding of this country's ills. We know that the few run it for the benefit of the few - and these manipulators of truth can be herded together under the catch-all 'The Establishment'. So far - so good.
As has been mentioned elsewhere the 'proofs' put forward to support the argument are a mixed bag. The most gear-crunching postulation being that the 'Plebgate' minister, Andrew Mi
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015
It seems fitting that I am reviewing this on the eve of the general election here in the UK... This was a gripping read, albeit one that made me angry, and nauseous. It pretty much confirmed what I already knew, but also made me realise that the extent of who this country is run by and run for runs deeper than I could have possibly imagined. And now I can't 'unlearn' these things. And I see it everywhere - chiefly in the media (what a joke about this country having a 'free' press). I can only ho ...more
Sarah Clement
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
It surprises me how well-received this book has been, despite the fact that it is merely a summary of what most people on the left already talk about ad nauseum. I am not even British, but none of this was particularly surprising to me. More importantly, if I had read Jones' bio before reading the book, then I could have essentially written the text of the book based on that bio. Let's see...some Thatcher bashing, ranting about neoliberalism, a bit of working class identity politics, some Northe ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
In the 1950s, in the political journal The Spectator, Henry Fairlie used the term “The Establishment” to mean “the powers that be” and went on to explain what he meant by that, from the Lords of the Land and gentry through to the Church of England and the Civil Service and more. The term stuck and has been widely attributed to Fairlie since, though it had been used decades before in the same pejorative way by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and then as now its meaning and connotations have been fought over ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El Establishment es un ataque sin cuartel contra las diferentes estructuras que han gobernado la economía y, por extensión, la sociedad británicas en los últimos 35 años. La casta política de los partidos mayoritarios, los grandes magnates de los medios de comunicación, los empresarios que han vampirizado las políticas públicas, unas fuerzas del orden entregadas en cuerpo y alma a su protección, y esa CIty que sólo rinde cuentas a sí misma. Jones reparte de lo lindo y a través de numerosos testi ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british
Detailed, focussed and clear. To take on the might of the power of the British state, argue against the mainstream media narrative and challenge the rich corporates is not mean task. Owen has very successfully managed to remove the wood from the chaff by clearly outlining the simple strategy of the Establishment. Rules are the same but the implementation is different. The new feudal class are the owners of the mega giant corporates who openly avoid paying taxes abetted by huge accountancy corpor ...more
Sam Gayton
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've never come away from reading a book feeling as angry and exasperated as I did after finishing this. This is such an important read. If you are unhappy with the way the country is run and the way things are at the moment,you have to read it - conversely, if you feel the government is doing a fine job and really has your best interests at heart, give it a read too.

Obviously any Jones piece about such a topic will read with a socialist twinge to it - but it is the facts, figures, stats at the
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a really compelling read and certainly made me feel quite angry at the world.

Jones does a very good job at putting his point across, and demonstrates how corrupt the upper echelons of society are. My one criticism is that he is very broad and sweeping in what he defines as the establishment.

Sorry, I lied, another criticism is that he doesn't seem to include himself or his newspaper as part of the establishment. He never says a bad word against The Guardian.
مروان البلوشي
كتاب مهم لكل مهتم بفهم كيفية استغلال القوى السياسية المختلفة للنظام الديمقراطي خصوصا والدولة عموما. الكتاب يتحدث عن بريطانيا، ولكن من الممكن اسقاط بعض ما فيه على حالات أخرى.
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
George Pipiou
Eye-opening and alarming.
Ben Scobie
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We feel or suspect that something is wrong, unjust or out of kilter with society. This anger and frustration is being vented through Brexit, Trump, Pauline Hanson, AfD or Front national - but this book gives an incredible look into what could be the actual cause of our discontent. Can't recommend it highly enough.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book written from a democratic left perspective, which sets out to demonstrate how the current state of play in Britain and to some extent the US, has come to pass. Even though I have lived through many of the events cited here, their recall and re-analysis still comes as a revelation. The fundamental premise is that society and the economy is run almost entirely for the benefit of an elite super-rich, on the basis of a giant con trick.

Jones sets out to avoid personal hatche
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“A victory is scored when your opponents are forced to debate issues they would rather leave ignored” 11 likes
“One day, this Establishment will fall. It will not do so on its own terms or of its own accord, but because it has been removed by a movement with a credible alternative that inspires. For those of us who want a different sort of society, it is surely time to get our act together.” 10 likes
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