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The Establishment: And how they get away with it Paperback – 1 Mar 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,090 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 Mar. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141974990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141974996
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,090 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


An eye-opening state-of-the-nation book. (Armando Iannucci New Statesman Books of the Year)

I'll never look at UK class politics in the same way after Owen Jones's bracing and principled The Establishment (Naomi Klein Guardian Books of the Year)

I am delighted to see social class storm its way back into our contemporary history: Owen Jones's The Establishment offers a well-documented as well as searing critique of the groupthink that binds together our rulers (David Kynaston Guardian Books of the Year)

Owen Jones may have the face of a baby and the voice of George Formby but he is our generation's Orwell and we must cherish him (Russell Brand)

This is the most important book on the real politics of the UK in my lifetime, and the only one you will ever need to read. You will be enlightened and angry (Irvine Welsh)

Owen Jones displays a powerful combination of cool analysis and fiery anger in this dissection of the profoundly and sickeningly corrupt state that is present-day Britain. He is a fine writer, and this is a truly necessary book (Philip Pullman)

Thorough and admirably vivid ... he is excellent on how the state has become a creature of capital, controlled by the corporate sector. As Jones shows, British capitalism is highly dependent on state largesse and rich corporations are the biggest scroungers of all (New Statesman)

Powerful . . . The book's great strength lies in the simple power of accumulation. Again and again, Jones connects the dots in parallel lines, so that the single examples that might in themselves be dismissed as circumstantial or overblown become more or less unanswerable . . . He is a writer of real rhetorical force (Independent)

A passionate account of political and economic injustice (Observer)

A book of revelations... The last time the British Establishment was so intertwined, so arrogant and so powerful was a century ago, and the last democratic revolution that redistributed wealth took a lifetime to play out (Danny Dorling Times Higher Education)

An important book ... a systematic critique of the various political, corporate and economic institutions that seek to consolidate the interests of the few at the expense of the many ... Jones has the establishment clutching at their little golden straws ... It is not an easy road, Jones argues, but if we show strength and solidarity - perhaps adding a little common sense - we can reinstate true democracy and thus prioritize the needs of the many (Huffington Post)

The breadth of Jones' research is impressive ... the chapter on the recent history of ideas is fascinating ... the sections on corporate tax-avoidance, the lobbying industry and the sell-off of the NHS ought to have genuine British taxpayers spitting with rage. Jones ultimately sees his Establishment not as the guardians of British values but as a threat to them (Richard Godwin Evening Standard)

In many respects, Owen Jones is the best thing to happen to the non-compromised, non-New Labour left in the mainstream media in decades ... On the post-1979 'establishment' Jones is very strong indeed (Owen Hatherley London Review of Books)

Owen Jones is a phenomenon of our times ... He asks some familiar questions, but with a compelling urgency ... he is systematically interested in the underlying mentality, and not just the behaviour, of his subjects, giving his study a refreshing and crucial extra dimension (Times Literary Supplement)

About the Author

Owen Jones was born in Sheffield, grew up in Stockport and studied history at Oxford. His first book, the international bestseller Chavs, was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and chosen as one of the New York Times top 10 non-fiction books of 2011. In 2013 he won Young Writer of the Year at the Political Book Awards. His second book is the bestselling The Establishment: and How They Get Away With It, an exposé of Britain's powerful elites. He is a columnist for the Guardian and a frequent broadcaster.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Be warned: Although excellent, this book is by no means an easy read. Each chapter of this book is a chilling descent into the murky world of The Establishment, where government ministers strike deals with Media moguls, corporate giants and the Police. If it were a work of fiction, this book would be up there with some of the best crime novels ever written. Sadly, this is all too real. And it's happening right here, right now, in the UK.
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Format: Kindle Edition
There really is one rule for the rich and powerful, and a rule for everyone else. I found this book illuminating in many areas, but particularly how many politicians,big business'and the media are connected/related. Some of the recent history I had forgotten, some I'd never known about. The book is crammed full of off the record interviews and illuminating facts, one that struck me particularly is that in 2013 in the UK over 400 members of one company, Barclays Bank, received in excess of £1 million. whilst in the whole of Japan only 300 executives received it. Some reviewers have criticised the author for not coming up with effective solutions, I feel this is grossly unfair. The book is subtitled " And how they get away with it " not " And what to do about it ". If everyone in the country read this book, then enough people might actually be motivated to change things- a new political party that represents the interests of the many ( including the weakest) and not the few, peopled by individuals who actually really believe in public service, not just using the role to feather their own nest, and as a stepping stone to something far more lucrative.

Please read this book, it might just motivate you to do something to change the status quo, and at the very least you'll be better informed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Totally enthralling, I was gripped by page 2. This book is thought provoking to say the least; it has the ability to challenge your own ideas and perceptions where you have been misled by (Politicians, mass consumerism and the Media) into believing ideologies that now form the centre ground for society. And believing that this the 'norm' has no alternative and anything suggested otherwise constitutes statism, communism or the dark ages of the 1970s. It is the centre ground that has been perverted and twisted to serve and enrich itself and all those who act or pass through it i.e both sides politically, the revolving door between ex gov. ministers into big business, think tanks, media and vice- versa. The author has extracts of interviews from a wide range of connected people from the so called 'establishment' with their thoughts and experiences. The system that pays those to keep it going, the book goes on to ask how come this has been allowed to stand without more revolt, rioting and more public anger than what we've already seen over recent years?

This idea of 'envy politics' that the electorate are blaming each other rather than the political class for the 'perceived problems' within society; whether it be immigration, Muslims, far right, far left, big government, those on low pay venting at those on welfare, working people on low pensions at those in the public sector who still have a pension intact, turning 'Middle England' against everyone else it seems.The chapter on the role of the Police was the best chapter in the entire book in my opinion.... having not witnessed the police culture of the 80s except through archive footage having being born after the Miners Strike of 85' and Hillsborough 88'.
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Having been recommended by 2 friends independently, I was looking forward to reading this book, it. Yet, within a few pages, I became uneasy when the author, Owen Jones, described the Establishment as an “inkblot”, implying it to be a shape-shifting network which morphs according to whatever represents its greatest benefit. This is to confer intelligence upon the Establishment which is not supported in the book. Instead, the author uses the label Establishment loosely and opportunistically as a pejorative for each topic he discusses. This leads to confusion and inconsistencies in his analyses as some of the institutions described seem to be victims, enablers and members of the Establishment at different times.

Several of the issues he discusses represent institutional failings but have already been written about in detail, e.g. the Hillsborough disaster, and the Iraq War. However, failures of government have been written about already and more effectively in “The Blunders of our Governments” by A. King and I. Crewe.

Other failings can be ascribed to human greed, arguably an intrinsic (and unattractive) determinant of human behaviour but one which is by no means unique to the UK or its Establishment. The excesses of the City and some of its major players, especially Goldman Sachs, have already been described colourfully by Matt Taibbi in “Griftopia”.

The Trades Unions are described in sympathetic terms, as victims of the actions of the Establishment although, at one point, I had the distinct impression that Mr. Jones was describing the Unions as if they were part of the Establishment, to illustrate my point about confusion.
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