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The Triumph of the Political Class [Hardcover]

Peter Oborne
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Sep 2007
Both an extension of and a companion to his acclaimed expose of political mendacity, THE RISE OF POLITICAL LYING, Peter Oborne's new book reveals in devastating fashion just how far we have left behind us the idea of people going into politics for that quaint reason, to serve the public. Notions of the greater good and "putting something back" now seem absurdly idealistic, such is the pervasiveness of cynicism in our politics and politicians. Of course, self-interest has always played a part, and Oborne will show how our current climate owes much to the venality of the eighteenth century. But in these allegedly enlightened times should we not know better? Do we not deserve better from those who seek our electoral approval? Full of revealing and insightful stories and anecdotes to support his case, and with a passionate call for reform, THE TRIUMPH OF THE POLITICAL CLASS is destined to be the defining political book of 2007.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; First Edition edition (17 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743295277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743295277
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 211,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'A brilliant anatomisation of the reality of the contemporary situation' -- 'Guido Fawkes',

'Accusations of constitutional impropriety are supported with chapter and verse . . . Apocalyptic . . . Convincing' -- Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times

'An extremely important book' -- Iain Martin, Sunday Telegraph

'An important social text' -- Sarah Sands, Financial Times

'Compelling [and] thought-provoking . . . A powerful and troubling study' -- Nick Cohen, Observer

'Provocative and important . . . A devastating portrait of Britain's new ruling class' -- Daily Mail

'What Oborne accurately, passionately and clearly describes is the replacement of one ruling class by another' -- Sameer Rahim, Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Peter Oborne is a former political editor of the SPECTATOR. He now writes a weekly column for the DAILY MAIL, in addition to writing and presenting regular TV documentaries on current affairs.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity at last 3 Oct 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Oborne has produced an astonishing work that anyone who cares about how and why the cult of 'modernization' destroyed the moderating mechanisms that evolved to protect reasonable freedoms should read. It shows how, like a spreading cancer, the political class - politicians and media - centralized power and control in order to survive. The carefully nurtured systems that evolved over the last 150 years to protect us from abuses of power are now almost gone, leaving us vulnerable to the rise of a dictatorship from among a class of people disconnected from the real world. His warnings about where this might take us are timely and alarming, but make your own mind up about whether he is right or not by reading this. It's very well written and researched and as gripping as a good thriller.
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273 of 282 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Uprising Against Britain's New Ruling Class 28 Sep 2007
Peter Oborne: The Triumph Of The Political Class (Simon & Schuster)

Peter Oborne is a columnist on the Right Wing Daily Mail, the organ of conservative Middle England. He has nevertheless written a revolutionary tract, which is essential reading for anyone who wants to overthrow Britain's ruling class.

In The Triumph Of The Political Class, he shows how that class has been transformed, largely by stealth, within the space of a generation.

Britain used to be governed by the Establishment, a network of people who knew each other (often through family) and largely shared the same social background, education and values. These values were pre-eminently Victorian: their best qualities were public service and incorruptibility, their worst were amateurism and snobbery. Their values were very strongly enforced - the monarch who rejected them, Edward VIII, was dethroned at the Establishment's behest. For about a hundred years this Establishment and its values dominated the governance of Britain through its grip on its major institutions, the home and overseas civil service, the armed forces, the judiciary and the City of London (before deregulation). They were buttressed by the monarchy, the state churches, and most of the media, especially the BBC. Although they dominated the political system, they regarded politics as a duty, rather than a career: indeed for most of the twentieth century it was almost impossible to make a living out of politics alone. People went into politics to represent their class or their locality, and they kept strong personal links with the interests in civil society which they represented.

This Establishment was remarkably adaptive.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, with a few gaps 23 May 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I want to second pretty much everything that most of the other reviewers, especially Henry Berocca in an excellent review, have said. I have a few additional points and some quibbles:

Oborne should perhaps have written more about the role of the European Union in the motivation of this class of political leaders. It is an astonishing fact, when you think about it, that this political class craves power and yet has chosen to transfer a lot of political authority to Brussels. Why is that? It would be good for Oborne to have perhaps asked more about that. I personally think that many, if not all, of the pro-EU types are careerists who hope to jump on board the gravy train, although some may idealistically believe that we should create a federal EU state and naively expect that such a state will be democratically accountable.

Oborne also denounces the role of the media and he is right to do so. But I should point out - hardly surprising on an internet site like this - that the internet and new media are providing a necessary corrective to the craven approach adopted by the tabloids, broadsheets, the BBC and ITV. Blogs now play a role in flagging up issues that the mainstream press are too cowardly to confront. Take the blogger "Guido Fawkes", who has exposed all types of government wrongdoing, such as the cash-for-peerages affair and other scandals. The role of the internet should not be understimated.

More broadly, though, I fear that Oborne does not sufficiently realise that the rise of a political class, or new establishment, is very difficult to resist when the government grabs almost half of the national income and regulates the rest of society so heavily.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 6 Feb 2008
Essential, compelling, sobering yet depressing reading for anyone genuinely interested in the UK politics. Wise up and get it now!
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly depressing but all too recognisable 22 Nov 2007
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read some reviews of another book of Oborne's (The rise of political lying) in which a number of reviewers complained about his right wing bias. However, I think this misinterprets Oborne's position, which I believe is essentially a libertarian position.

This book is a damning polemic that illustrates how, over the course of the last two decades, all of the institutions that underpin our civil liberties and the mechanisms of good governance have been subverted by a political class who are, essentially, career politicians who use their position for their own ends rather than the public good. Oborne is unsparing in identifying all party and machine politicians, whether of left, right or centre as members of this political class (whilst occasionally identifying the odd maverick who still seems to have the best interests of the world outside at heart).

If you want a cartoon depiction of the difference between a member of the modern political class and the old Establishment, it would be that if you put the two of them in a queue, the new political class would be pushing to the head of the queue, shouting "don't you know who I am?".

This is a profoundly depressing read for anybody who cares about the way we are governed and about the continual encroachment on civil liberties that seems to be endemic in this country nowadays. But it should nonetheless be read before these fools and charlatans turn the whole country into a police state and start burning books like this because their opinions are subversive.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Truth about politicians
Read this and your eyes will open. It shows how - starting with Blair's Labour government of 1997 - politicians of all colours have basically come together to protect themselves... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Malcolm Parkin
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and highly readable
Mr Oborne takes an important subject and makes it fascinating and readable without sacrificing anything to over-simplicity. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Molten Beaks
1.0 out of 5 stars remain sane. don't read it
I was attracted to Peter Oborne's little polemic as a result of the glowing reviews that litter the front cover and inside pages. I should really take more care. Read more
Published 13 months ago by startagain
4.0 out of 5 stars It will make you seethe with anger.
Disturbing - every British citizen should read this before they vote for ANY politician.
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Published 14 months ago by william j wells
5.0 out of 5 stars If only I had read it a few years ago!
Despite the fact that this book is now a few years old, having been last updated at the beginning of 2008, it is still very much worth reading. Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2011 by legalpen
4.0 out of 5 stars A persuasive analysis of what's basically wrong with British politics
I always enjoy Peter Oborne's critiques of New Labour and modern British political life. Of course, he writes from a centre-right Daily Mail/Spectator perspective but he still... Read more
Published on 25 Feb 2011 by Neil Kernohan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Important and Deeply Disturbing Book
Have you wondered why non of the politicians from any of the major parties appear to be interested in things that you care about? Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2011 by Dr. R. Brandon
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping... and tragic
A gripping analysis of why modern, big political parties are so similar, corrupt and undemocratic. Page-turning stuff which provides an overwhelmingly plausible explanation of why... Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2011 by Caren Firth
4.0 out of 5 stars Plus a change?
I've got rather mixed feelings about this book. The basic thesis is that British politics has been hijacked by a small elite of professional politicians living in a narrow world of... Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2010 by Diziet
3.0 out of 5 stars Fluently written, informative, but wrongly argued
In The Triumph of the Political Classes, Peter Oborne makes a common error. He correctly diagnoses an important problem (that is, the worrisome state of politics in this country),... Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2010 by Steve
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