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Editor reviews

British journalist, author and left-wing political activist Owen Jones has written a revealing exposition of the U.K political and media systems in his best-selling new-release The Establishment, which has been narrated in this unabridged audiobook edition by Jonathan Keeble. The quality of Jones’ research is profound. Find out enlightening details of the secret system behind the system, of the immensely powerful, faceless and nameless figures in control of the media. The more you listen to this incredible audio, the more you realise just how little is known about the systems governing the very fabric of the society in which we live and trust in. Available now from Audible.

Summary

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.

©2014 Owen Jones (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"This is the most important book on the real politics of the UK in my lifetime… You will be enlightened and angry." (Irvine Welsh)
"[A] fine writer, and this is a truly necessary book." (Phillip Pullman)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Colin
  • WATFORD, United Kingdom
  • 11-04-17

Won't do your blood pressure any good....

Like a lot of people, I believe the ‘Ruling Class’ to be a self-serving bunch, concerned only with feathering their own nests and maintaining a political status quo in which the class systems of yesteryear ensure they continue to enjoy the best this land can offer whilst the proletariat are kept in their place. Boy, does this book pander to my prejudices!

I think it’s fair to say that most people realise that the ‘democracy’ we live under is not a perfect system, as indeed can any system of government be called perfect. The people at the top of the heap make the laws to suit themselves whilst amassing ever-growing fortunes, whilst the rest of the population are left to get on with it and be around to clean up the mess when things go wrong, as in a Banking Crash, A Royal Castle burning down, or the occasional war. (Which Tony Blair once referred to as a ‘Blood Debt to the USA’, of course not meaning his blood or that of his rich chums)

But the depth to which the “Us and Them” attitude reaches is astonishing. The author looks at each component of the UK Establishment in turn, and what he finds is both disturbing and, in some cases, quite depressing. The whole thing is basically Animal Farm, writ very large indeed, and it's where we all now live.

From the politicians who consider their six-figure salaries insufficient and so opt to maximise their expenses to a staggering degree, and then refuse to pay the money back when an official enquiry tells them they must, through the large accountancy firms who advise the government on tax law and then turn straight around and tell their clients how to get around the new laws, through to the big corporations who enjoy a stable and lawful environment in which to conduct their business, and yet who refuse to pay anything toward its’ maintenance in the form of tax, the rot and arrogance permeates all.

But for me the most depressing chapter was about the police force, and especially The Met. I am from a generation who have an in-built respect for the blue uniform and the men and women who wear it. I know I could not do their job, but I still deeply need those men and women to live up to the levels of honesty and trust we expect of them. But as a Londoner, I know that The Met and large crowds can often a volatile mix, especially when the officers themselves dress in ski-masks and remove all badges and identifying marks from their uniforms so that any subsequent identification is impossible. The author revisits the case of the G7 March in London, where an elderly newspaper seller was pushed to the ground by an officer who had a history of using excessive force, and who subsequently died as a result; The case of Stephen Lawrence, bungled by the police who decided to ‘put a team’ on the Lawrence family to see if they could find evidence that the attack was somehow related to Stephen’s lifestyle; and the lesser case of the Chief Whip who, leaving Downing Street, lost his temper with the officers on duty there, and was pilloried for it. And in every case the Met lied, about what happened, about who was responsible, about their own actions, falsified evidence to support the lie and continued to lie even when their lie was exposed, and all the while supported in their deception by our “Free and impartial” press. Yeah, right.

As you might sense, this book will not do much for your blood pressure, but the subjects it discusses will stay with you, and make you look at events in the news in a whole new, and much harsher, light.

Narrator Jonathan Keeble is, as ever, superb. His delivery is clear and informative, and keeps the listener engaged throughout.

Very, very highly recommended

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Q. Who really runs Britain? A. It isn't you!

What made the experience of listening to The Establishment the most enjoyable?

The best book I have read on who really runs Britain. I am a middle aged, white bloke with a good job and steady income but this book inspired the revolutionary in me. The realisation of so much unnecessary injustice across the UK made me both angry and now a enthusiastic campaigner for change! Having just read Russell Brand's latest (but enjoyable) book, I decided to investigate his position further by buying this audiobook. The thinking behind this work is much better expressed and it is clear that the whole book is based on a huge amount of research and interviews with leading figures across society.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Establishment?

Owen Jones' main premise is that a number of institutions, such as politicians, the media, police and big business collude to give the impression of a democracy whilst actually serving their own interests. The results are huge injustices and levels of ignorance and almost disenfranchisement of much of the population.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in politics or society or anyone just wanting to understand the reality behind what the politicians say or what the papers print.

I hope that, like me, you come away with a realisation that our society is unfair but that it doesn't have to be that way. Their power comes from our obedience.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to any previous performances. The narration is very good although the use of accents employed during the quotes was not really necessary. That said, having tried to read the book originally in print form (and giving up after the first couple of chapters because I am not a very good reader) the narrator really brings the text to life and adds a new dimension to the text.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

The book is split into separate chapters describing each of the protagonists before coming to a final conclusion on how to tackle this establishment.

37 of 43 people found this review helpful

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An alternative way

An excellent overview of the current "democratic" system and its entrenchment of power and wealth. Highly recommend for those with an open mind.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding eye opener

Heavy, consuming reading but wholly worth it. Look forward to seeing more from Owen Jones

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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amazing stuff

my first audio book and it didn't disappoint. narrator keep you enthralled and informed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating and terrifyingly real

Superb and well researched book. Absolutely fascinating and terrifyingly real. Owen Jones is a legend for shouting about all this, VERY well played.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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everyone should read/listen to this

brill. If only everyone read or listened to this book they wouldn't be able to get away with it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Too Many Subjects Covered

There is a good book within The Establishment, but as a whole this book just doesn't work. Owen Jones attempts to cover a wide range of different subject areas, without the regarded depth or balance to able to objectively put forward an alternatively view. Instead, Owen Jones loses the thread of the argument that he is putting forward by going off message and then stating peoples live stories without touching upon the bigger picture.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Compulsory reading for British people

Performance good but not amazing. The book though is stunning in scope and content, a very worthwhile listen. Good he has interviewed so many people for it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • PHILLIP
  • SKELMERSDALE, United Kingdom
  • 25-02-15

Great insight into the world of our rulers

loved the book. it resonates with millions of Britons. stand up and be counted.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff
  • 06-05-16

Frightening on many levels

Well written and presented terrifying to think how much of this is real and how it can keep happening, everyone not just in the Uk needs to know about this

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  • NicholasTod
  • 10-07-15

Amazing, a great eye opener

This book is amazing, a great cross section in how the British (and some other countries) governments work.
The history, their views, and to be honest it's horrifying!
Very well written, and very well performed, all in all a great experience! Would defiantly recommend to everyone.

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  • Robert
  • 26-02-15

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

With every word uttered you will be enthralled, amazed, and disgusted. The abiding sentiment though is one of "how do we let this happen?"
Then you see how very distracted we are in what we call our daily lives.