THE PHENOMENAL BESTSELLER Fantastic, timely, eye-opening Armando Iannucci, New Statesman, Books of the Year Captures a collective sense of anger. The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It is a non-fiction book published in by the British writer and political commentator Owen Jones. A major bestseller in the UK and a six-time Best Book of , The Establishment is a sweeping look at how power and money have made British politics hugely.
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In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment. Download The Establishment Online Free - pdf, epub, mobi ebooks - Booksrfree. com. In The Establishment Owen Jones, author of the international bestseller. The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It by Owen Jones | EPUB | MB. A major bestseller in the UK and a six-time Best.
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, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today — and it is time they were challenged. An eye-opening state-of-the-nation book. 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.
Jones claims that these are all groups that pose as non-partisan grassroots organisations but that actually have an agenda to push right wing policies.
They receive funding from and contain many members with links to the Conservative Party. Chapter 2 - The Westminster Cartel[ edit ] This chapter discusses the political system in Britain and how it has changed over the years. It discusses the Church of England's relationship with British politics, and claims that many decisions made in parliament financially benefit the MPs that make the decisions, quoting a Daily Mirror report that at least 40 MPs stood to gain financially from changes made in privatising the NHS.
Chapter 3 - Mediaocracy[ edit ] This chapter discusses the British Media, and its relationship with both the outriders discussed in the first chapter, and the politicians discussed in the second.
Jones claims that the wealthy people that control much of the press have interests closely aligned with the establishment, and therefore tend to promote the establishments views, rather than the views of their readers, saying, "The British people are not being served by a media that exists to inform them, to educate them, to understand the realities of the country they live in and the world around them.
Instead, much of the media is a political machine, lobbying for the often personal objectives of their owners. The media and political elites are frequently deeply intertwined, sharing as they do many of the same assumptions about how society should be run and organised. It describes how recent governments have been privatising previously public services, including the NHS, by following free-market ideologies, whilst at the same time, the establishment demonises benefits fraud and makes cut-backs and imposes austerity measures on those at the bottom of the financial pyramid.
Jones points out what he believes to be a contradiction in this position, where big business rely on the state to provide infrastructure, education to their workers, and also to subsidise their low wages with income and housing benefit relief. Chapter 6 - Tycoons and Tax Dodgers[ edit ] This chapter discusses how big businesses in Britain avoid paying tax.
It gives several examples of companies who have complex systems set up to avoid tax, and it discusses how the big accounting firms give advice to the government on the drafting of their tax laws and then use this information to advise their clients on how to avoid paying tax.
It discusses how these practices are legal but cost the country huge amounts of money. It contrasts this with the other end of the financial scale where people on low income convicted of benefits fraud are jailed, despite the amounts in question being a fraction of those lost to big businesses avoiding tax.
Jones also discusses the difficulties in imposing effective legislation to combat tax avoidance in a global marketplace. Chapter 7 - Masters of the Universe[ edit ] This chapter discusses the financial sector, which Jones claims is a threat to British democracy. In the aftermath of the financial disaster — and with so many British institutions enveloped in crisis — there is an ever-growing appetite for challenges to the powerful.
Encouraging a response from those who defend the status quo is important, too. A victory is scored when your opponents are forced to debate issues they would rather leave ignored … Opposing views are invaluable, not least because they help to clarify and refine arguments.
Several points have been raised about what the Establishment is, and how to define it. In the popular imagination, the stereotypical Establishment figure is a white male who followed an effortless path from private school to Oxbridge into a lucrative and influential job. While the unrepresentative nature of the powerful is rightly a concern, the social composition of powerful institutions was not central to my understanding of the Establishment.
Unaccountable power could become more representative, but it would still be unaccountable. There could be women, working-class and ethnic minority people involved in institutions and systems that threaten democracy, but those institutions and systems would still threaten democracy.
Some questioned the significance of powerful people happening to network with each other. It is inevitable, after all, that those in similar fields of work will associate with each other: that happens at all levels of society. It helps to illustrate how widely the tentacles of the Murdoch Empire had spread throughout the British political elite.
In a democracy, the media is supposed to challenge government: closeness between key media and political players is clearly therefore something that needs to be scrutinized. Powerful people associating together both professionally and socially helps cement existing bonds and a sense of solidarity. So the Britain that existed before the emergence of the modern Establishment, in the decades following the Second World War, is portrayed as some sort of dystopia: a statist, dreary, aspiration-sapping hellhole besieged by bureaucrats and out-of-control trade unions.
In seeking to challenge the demonization of this period of recent British history, I was not driven by some kind of misty-eyed nostalgia for a time before I was born — as some at both ends of the political spectrum seem to think — but because there is a genuine need for a corrective. That does not mean the old order was not beset with multiple problems, or indeed that it was sustainable in the long run.
But as the right-wing journalist Peter Oborne has put it, both left and right in the s were preparing their own break from the post-war consensus. Some have questioned whether the police could really be described as part of the Establishment, and whether their bad behaviour is anything new.
The point is this: the Establishment was forged in the face of considerable opposition, and its most formidable obstacle was the trade union movement.
It had to be brought to heel. Unsurprisingly, the police became thoroughly politicized. The police are public-sector employees, after all, and receive salaries and pensions from the state.
They would not have wanted the neo-liberal policies imposed on other areas of the public sector to be applied to their own ranks. Indeed, that successive governments avoided doing so was a tacit admission of how crucial it was to keep the loyalty of the police.
It might be said that the police helped ensure the victory of neo-liberal policies that they themselves wanted nothing to do with. But in recent years, with the Establishment more confident of its total victory, keeping the police on side has become less of a priority. Now, under the coalition government, the police have to face the same sorts of attacks — job cuts, the slashing of wages, the worsening of terms and conditions, privatization — that other public-sector workers have long faced.
Predictably enough, they hate it, and the relationship between the police and government is at an exceptionally low ebb as a result. The explosive scandal that followed an angry exchange of words between former Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and Downing Street police underlines just how bad the relationship had become. In May , the Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May lectured the Police Federation about the numerous scandals the police had been embroiled in, demanding reform.
They do so because they are tasked with enforcing the law, and the law is often rigged in favour of the powerful. The sanctity of property is judged to be more important than the rights of human beings: the rich, for example, can leave properties empty for long stretches of time, even as millions suffer the consequences of a housing crisis, and the law will protect the absent property-owner from homeless squatters. British prisons are full of people from deprived backgrounds, mostly suffering from mental distress: over 6 in 10 male prisoners and 5 in 10 female prisoners suffer from at least one personality disorder, according to the Prison Reform Trust.
This is how the police protect the existing order in practical terms, whether they wish to or not. Was I really describing a political consensus embraced by powerful people based on free-market ideas, rather than an Establishment, as some suggest?
In the post-war era, a strong and assertive labour movement forced a compromise: while the business class remained in charge, it had to surrender key elements of its power. But the modern Establishment has reversed many of these concessions and clawed back that power. In the book, I look at how neo-liberal ideologues who were ostracized in the post-war period achieved stunning political victories, implementing ideological schemes which were once seen as extreme and unworkable. But the claim that neo-liberalism had triumphed has been challenged, including by some neo-liberal ideologues themselves.
If only they had been so victorious, they quip, and point to the fact that the state retains a huge presence in British society as evidence that they have not.
But, as I show in the book, this is precisely the point. Bailed-out banks; publicly funded infrastructure; state-subsidized private rail companies; an expensive law-and-order system; state subsidies for low wages and otherwise unaffordable private housing; businesses reliant on a multi-billion-pound education system to train up their workers; half of all public spending going to private contractors, directly subsidizing private profit.
The list could, and does, go on and on. The modern political consensus is vocal in its rejection of statism and in its demonization of the role of the state. Take the mass privatization of public housing.
And so the amount the state spends on housing benefit — partly a subsidy to private landlords, partly a subsidy for low wages — has exploded. The same goes for in-work benefits: the wages of millions of workers have stagnated or fallen for many years, in part thanks to a dramatically weakened labour movement, and so the state has been compelled to spend billions of pounds topping up the low wages provided by employers.
The privatization of the rail system has led to a more expensive subsidizing of inefficient private companies. Under the modern Establishment, the function of the state has been reconfigured. Now, it exists to support private interests, including sectors — like the City — which have nothing but contempt for the state. Big business has clearly benefited from a counter-revolution that has slashed taxes on the rich, hobbled trade unions, privatized public assets and promoted deregulation.
Some of the dreams of the neo-liberals would certainly not be supported by big business — like removing certain state subsidies — and consequently have not been implemented. But Britain has clearly travelled rather far in their direction from the days of high taxes on the rich, public ownership, state interventionism and significant trade union rights, to the immense benefit of large corporations and rich individuals.
Sure, there are undoubtedly specific conspiracies, from police cover-ups to tax avoidance on an industrial scale. Yet the whole premise of the book is that the Establishment is bound by shared economic interests and common mentalities. There is no need for any overarching planned conspiracy against democracy. The Establishment is an organic, dynamic system.
It is the system — the Establishment — that is the problem, not the individuals who comprise it. The behaviour of those who rule in Britain is, on its own terms, entirely rational: companies are motivated by profit and the bottom line, therefore they wish to avoid paying tax. And they benefit from an official ideology that celebrates their role while belittling the contribution of the state.
He was able to rationalize his behaviour: the client companies he serves pay lots of tax, making them pay more would be counterproductive, and so on.
His company spends considerable amounts on charity. As I pointed out, this was a return to a Victorian ethos where social provision was patchwork and dependent on the generosity of individuals, rather than an efficient, publicly provided universal system funded by progressive taxation.
But it is easy to see how someone like Varley can go home after a day in the office and feel as though he is doing good. As far as changing both system and behaviour are concerned, some right-wing and liberal critics have suggested that actually my solutions are pretty timid. This, I have to say, is the point. Such a society may not be built in my lifetime.
But my aim is to reverse the achievements of the neo-liberal outriders: to shift the Overton Window in a different direction.
Doing so will open up more radical possibilities. What is now seen as completely extreme would become fringe, and then radical, and then controversial, and then commonsense. We live in a time of Establishment triumphalism, when other ways of running society are portrayed as unthinkable.