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The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  7,864 ratings  ·  603 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
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Published December 15th 2014 by Whole Story Audiobooks (first published September 4th 2014)
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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 incre…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)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
dani Did the establishment want to stay? Many Tory backbenchers were Eurosceptic, hence the ongoing pressure Cameron felt on having to call the EU referend…moreDid the establishment want to stay? Many Tory backbenchers were Eurosceptic, hence the ongoing pressure Cameron felt on having to call the EU referendum to begin with. I think it's very easy to argue that the Establishment (or certainly significant parts of it) DID want Britain to leave. This question is very difficult to answer in such a broad and generalised way.(less)
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Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Kaelan Ratcliffe ▪ كايِلان راتكِليف
Essential, and Crucial for Britain

This book surprised me. I've seen it displayed in bookstores, charity shops and - surprisingly given the topic the author highlights - supermarkets like Tescos.*

Looking back, I believe that it's because of The Establishments massive popularity that I've allowed myself to sleep on it for so many years. I allowed the title to put me off, mainly due to it projecting the equvilant of an article that has 'clickbait' elements to it. I just didn't believe a book so wi
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Want to know how UKIP managed to convince voters that the best option for Britain is to leave the EU, basing themselves on an anti-immigration platform? Want to know why London's the City is a heaven for human sharks who live for nothing else than wealth? Want to know why currently, Britain is at an all time low for wages and social support, but their people seem to be too apathetic to do something about it? Then read this book and tremble at how corrupt a country that boasts itself as a bastion ...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
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam Higgitt
Jan 29, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aurélien Thomas
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
'And so, here is the reality of modern British politics. The views of millions of Britons are simply not represented.'

Ok, I admit: I despise politicians with a passion. Parasites and leeches all in for themselves, they are either greedily and selfishly interested, or, completely incompetent. No matter what political party, they all are the same, as groupthink remains a powerful thing. So, obviously, this book pointing to how our political system (for Owen Jones doesn't denounce individuals, but
Alexander Popov
"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
May 18, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
If Bad Pharma was a book about how the pharmaceutical industry sucks, this is a book about how everyone else sucks.

It turns out I'm a bit more left wing than I thought I was, because I don't disagree with everything Owen Jones says, however, a lot of this book amounts to lists of who has dinner with who and how terrible this is.

The Establishment is written in a repetitive, one-sided and hectoring way that didn't so much persuade me as beat me down.

Owen Jones makes some very good points, you jus
Athene Wherrett
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has a built-in liberal audience and it panders to them. This audience will love this book (the ratings indicate so) because it validates their feelings and beliefs. I’m not doubting the truth of what the author states, but the extreme one-sidedness is divisive. I’m fatigued of divisiveness and wish to read more content that bears a unifying intent. Until that happens, the second best path is to juxtapose both sides of an extreme POV in terms of book selection.
Viv JM
DNF @ 24 pages. I might try again another time, but just didn't feel in the mood for this at the moment. ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well presented and easy to follow assessment of where the power is in today's Britain. ...more
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Laura McCafferty
gave great insight into british politics and made me very angry ((but in a good way)) looking forward to the revolution :)
Jan 25, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very relevant, as ever, and efficient at exposing the truth behind the establishment and those at the top of society who maintain the perpetuate cycle of blaming those at the bottom. If I understood more about politics I would probably rate this higher, the only downfall is that I wouldn’t say it was too accessible for all readers.
David Tyler
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Devo, a man who campaigns with hard-right Tories and is a self-identified conservative, bought me this book for my birthday. This book is written by a passionate socialist, and attacks corporate capitalism, big business and the police. Devo told me he agrees with every word of it. Try squaring that circle
Robert Ronsson
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
Jacob Stelling
Nov 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strong, compelling and well-researched dissection of the role which the Establishment plays in modern British society.

Beginning with a clear definition and history of the Establishment, Jones goes on to highlight the numerous areas of society where the odds are stacked in favour of the wealthy and powerful, who operate according to a different rule book.

A powerful critique of contemporary society, and provides a wake up call for the importance of making meaningful change to benefit the many,
Craig Russell
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler, this book isn't a Communist's handbook.

However it is, important reading for everyone who has forgotten all the British political scandals since the 90s, and for anyone who doesn't understand why the modern political opinion is "common sense".

P s.

Yes, I'm very aware that staunch conservatives will pick through this book with a fine tooth comb to build a counter narrative; they're simps for the hegemony they'll never be.
Aug 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly written and well argued, this book offers a good interpretation of the current make-up of the elite in Britain. The level of the book doesn't get too academic, and the interviews are always relevant. ...more
Mickey Dubs
Apr 01, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
Like the inverse of Owen Jones's earlier Chavs, The Establishment is a solidly written polemic against the corruption of Britain's political and financial elite.

Readers of Jones's Guardian columns will already be familiar with the themes touched on in here: our rulers, intoxicated on a heady free-market ideology, have stripped out our public services to churn out a profit - all aided by a compliant oligarchic-ownership of the media and by repressing those who want to change society.

Jones is at
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“A victory is scored when your opponents are forced to debate issues they would rather leave ignored” 19 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.” 18 likes
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