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How the Establishment Lost Control Kindle Edition
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How the Establishment Lost Control charts the events that led to Labour's unexpected election success and the Brexit vote, tries to explain how and why it happened and offers an argument as to how the left move forward if they want to continue the momentum (no pun intended!) Overall it does this well. If you want a (very) left-wing overview of how we got to where we are then this book is worth a read.
The first half of the book gives a whistle-stop tour of the changes in the political landscape from the early 1970s to now in an attempt to explain Corbyn's success. I am fully on board with most of the arguments presented here (I joined Labour first as a supporter and then as a member and voted for Corbyn in both leadership elections). However, it tries to cram loads of different points into a very short space- the whole book is just over one hundred pages- so what you get is lots of very strongly worded opinion statements, granted with equally as many stats and references to back them up, but with not much analysis. There isn't really any nuanced discussion before the author jumps on to the next point so it moves too quickly. It is easy to gloss over the numbers and at times It feels as though the author making brash, unjustified claims their even though the evidence is there, so as a reader I felt underwhelmed and even disconcerted at times. It was strange to read something I knew I agreed with but didn't quite feel comfortable with because of the way it was presented.
The second half of the book is much more analytical and rectifies the problem of the earlier chapters. However, Chapter 4 moves straight from fast-paced description to full-on analysis, using the Marxist theory of class consciousness explain our current situation. There's not really a bridge between the two and it was a bit of a strange leap. I certainly wasn't expecting it and I imagine it would feel even stranger if you've never studied Marx before! I am in agreement with the author, however, and I think the theory is well explained and accessible. The last two chapters are by far the best, striking the right balance between description and analysis. The argument in the last chapter is strong, to the point and well developed, ending the book on a high.
This is not the best political book I've ever read by far, but if you want a short left-wing account of how Corbyn defied his critics and some inspiration for what to do next, and you don't mind a bit of Marxism, then this book is a good option.
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