The ‘Establishment’ is a fiery, politically potent, no-holds barred dissection of those in power. Never afraid to point a finger the first target of Jones’ unpinning is who he terms as ‘The Outriders’. Those who influence the political agenda, described as right wing journalist and bloggers, Think Tanks that pose as favouring the left and his largest target Neo-Liberals. Jones dedicates much time detailing the birth of Neo-Liberalism in the initial post-war decades and how the movement evolved into shaping much of what became Thatcher’s 1970’s Government. Jones explains how this movement which championed free market trade and privatisation of public services was directly influencing and moulding modern politics.
Seizing upon the financial crisis of the early 70’s the ‘Outriders’ laid the foundation of radical right wing ideas, using their influence in the media to give them a platform and ensuring they were normalised once suggested by those in power. To convey the influence of the ‘Outriders’, Jones vehemently states ‘They’re not just a crucial part in Britain’s ruling elite: They helped construct it in its current form’. Although Jones is quick to identify the 1970’s Tory Government and the ‘Outriders’ for implementing Neo-Liberal, free market Economics and the privatisation of key public services, he is equally critical of the subsequent Labour governments’ complicity in the continuation of these ideas and policies.
He tells us how they inevitably benefited from the consequences of these ideas. Those who found themselves part of ‘The Establishment’ were the ones who got richer and the lower classes found their welfare and public services deteriorating. As the book continues we are told in accurately bleak detail how our public services, most vividly the NHS, have continued to crumble and blasts the ‘Establishment’ for putting profit before people stating ‘No longer are its public services there, above all else, to provide for the public good’.
Jones attacks the expected targets throughout the book and is not shy to name names, identifying many people and corporations that he believes form ‘The Establishment’ and not only directly benefit from the financial crisis, welfare cuts, privatisation of public services, tax evasion and more, but are directly involved in ensuring they can occur. Jones makes sure the reader is fully aware of how those in the Establishment have benefited from much of the financial crisis and how they continue to prosper in these times, shifting the blame to those lowest on the ladder and devising a cruel game of divide and conquer.
This book is recommended for anybody wanting to gain deep insight into how we found ourselves in this situation, why we remain there and ways we can find an alternative. Sharing many ideas and values with our own, there is much to be taken from the book, as Jones puts ‘Those who want the old order to be overcome have a responsibility to offer coherent alternatives. Without such alternatives, people may resent the existing order, but they will remain resigned to it’. The Green Party offer coherent alternatives, we just have to make sure we keep making as many people aware of that as possible!