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The Triumph of the Political Class Hardcover – 17 Sep 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; First Edition edition (17 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743295277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743295277
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 539,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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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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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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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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