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Jones’s concept of the Establishment is more than Henry Fairlie’s matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised through social networks; it is a state of mind, ‘the ideas and mentalities’ that govern the way certain people behave. He is sufficiently self-aware to anticipate that some critical readers will regard him as a ‘participant observer’. In his introduction Jones opines that ‘“The Establishment” is a term that is often loosely used to mean “those with power who I object to”.’ He then goes on to prove this to be his own working definition. Jones’s partisan history, from the founding of the Labour Representation Committee to the MPs’ expenses scandal and News of the World hacking trial, together with the 2008 financial crisis, is the least illuminating part of the book. The analysis is better when it is ideological rather than historical: ‘The Establishment is a shape-shifter, evolving and adapting as needs must’ — for instance when change — such as universal suffrage — can no longer be resisted. He correctly credits Hayek’s founding in 1947 of the Mont Pelerin Society for providing the intellectual heavy-lifting to shift, over decades, the political elite’s collective mindset. This, however, is not the Establishment of legend; it is the intellectual consensus that has been won in the battle of ideas over the previous decades.
Jones lives and writes to reverse that settlement, mesmerised by the concept of the ‘Overton Window’ — the political theory that there is a narrow ‘window’, or range of ideas, that the public will accept. Good review, great point about industrialists and media barons simply working with the mood, consensus, of their time.
And yet you’re happy to read a paper and writer who openly admit they’re part of it? Maybe the reason he doesn’t read him is not because he is part of the establishment but because he writes complete rubbish. I’d far sooner read a writer who admitted they were part of the establishment, than a self-righteous hypocrite who is just as much a part of it yet masquerades as a valiant outsider on the side of truth, justice and good, and portrays his fellow establismentarians as wicked. There is a mountain of evidence that this is not the case, and that the media works to form a consensus, and repress dissident thoughts.
Organisations such as the Sutton Trust, have detailed evidence that not only do the media have unusually elite backgrounds, but they are more elite than politicians’. Great for you, unfortunately that is not true for thousands upon thousands of others, especially the swelling underclass. You understand precisely what I am getting at but you don’t want to admit that facts show that state education has got worse over the last 40 years.
Scroll upwards and you’ll see plenty of people on the right resorting to personal insults of Owen Jones, Will Self. Owen Jones is one of the Guestablishment (along with Polly Toynbee Medhi Hasan and Penny Dreadful).
Just because it is your TV in your house doesn’t mean it always has to agree with you.

He has written a best seller, he has a column in a national newspaper, his latest book is being reviewed here in The Spectator, he makes frequent appearances on the telly and the wireless, lots of people listen to him, and he appears to be giving you a coronary. I suppose that they mean an intellectual nonentity, but still he is still fated by the left loving meeja as today’s Orwell. If you can point out just one of those words that I have used incorrectly then I will scrub the whole post.
In that case practically no journalist whatsoever is part of the establishment, at least in the UK. The Guardian is free but comment ist nicht frei as you may have discovered if you try and post on their heavily censored CiF website. Censorhip is everywhere these days, one of my posts on teh Telegraph site was deleted this weekend, it was only one word plus weblink – which was for a TELEGRAPH webpage! Probably miffed because Orwell was thought to be a rabid Leftist but spilled the beans regarding how they achieve and retain power. This follow-up skips over the middle classes and goes to the other end of society, the ruling class. The Establishment is made up of ‘powerful groups that need to protect their position in a democracy’; its existence is, in the abstract, something upon which both left and right are agreed. Detailed in chapter after chapter are all the left’s bogeymen — the aristocracy, the police, the City, the House of Lords, Old Etonians, Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mail — together with their crimes against democracy.
The histories of the miners’ strike, Hillsborough disaster and the Wapping strikers are conventionally Marxist, with the police characterised as tools of class oppression. But what Jones depicts as a self-perpetuating Establishment is really the prevailing orthodox political and economic consensus.
He writes admiringly of the influence of Westminster’s contemporary free market think tanks in setting the climate of ideas for their campaigning allies in the media.
Press barons and industrialists are not natural free marketeers; they are merely men who are susceptible to intellectual fashions. It is therefore impossible for the media to act as a mirror to society, when the glass has been bent in such a fashion. In my school one of the teachers stood as labour MP and was later expelled from the labour party for being a member of militant.
You’ve gone up in the world and are writing for the ultra-establishment The Spectator. What a ridiculous thing to say, judging by his command of the English language I expect he’s read a lot of books. That, Mr Mafasafish, regardless of what you think of Mr Jones’ Politics, does not constitute what most people would think of as being a nonentity.

This funding caused Jones to lose his House of Commons pass after the most recent rule changes.
Self is probably friends with a number of BBC insiders, and one wouldn’t want to speculate on the sharing of illicit substances. On the cover of The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It the cod-philosopher and comedian Russell Brand endorses the author as ‘this generation’s Orwell’. Jones likens the perception of the Establishment in practical terms to the inkblot in the Rorschach test: it depends on where you are on the political spectrum as to what you see as the Establishment. But he disqualifies himself from being a member of the Establishment because he challenges the powerful — though the Times columnist David Aaronovitch apparently only granted him an interview because they were both members of the same ‘media universe’.
He traces the change in the consensus views of the ruling class from 19th-century laissez faire liberalism to postwar mixed-economy socialism, up to the neo-liberal counter-revolution of the 1980s.
There is some truth in this — and being someone whom he identifies as ‘an unapologetic outrider for the wealthiest elements of society’, I am flattered to be seen as so influential.
Such people saw merit in fascism and corporatism before their grudging acceptance of the Thatcherite settlement.
In fact it is the other way round, The ideas that govern the way the Establishment behaves are determined by the Overton Window every day in politics, the civil service, newsrooms, universities, think tanks, workplaces and boardrooms.This is the Overton Window’s operating system for the Establishment.
Another spent his taxpayers funded time between being the NUT local rep and being on the central committee of the British Communist party. Also it’s often a good idea to consume material by others in spite of their opposing political beliefs, perhaps a reason why I read this review. People like you and me on the other hand, who go round posting anonymously on sites like this, now WE are nonentities. If, as you claim, he is then aren’t you just proving my point that whatever you think of him, he is not a nonentity. If you have not been taught that you are not going to get that job in front of some that has. That was the best state school in the area and the labour county council tried to shut it down and keep open the worst state school in the area.

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