The term “the establishment” refers to leading politicians, senior civil servants, senior barristers and judges, aristocrats, Oxbridge academics, senior clergy, the most important financiers and industrialists, governors of the BBC, members of and top aides to the royal family to mention most, but not all.
The term in this sense is sometimes mistakenly believed to have been coined by the British journalist Henry Fairlie, who in September 1955 in the London magazine ‘The Spectator’ defined that network of prominent, well-connected people as “the Establishment”, explaining: “By the Establishment, I do not only mean the centres of official power—though they are certainly part of it—but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised”.
Following that, the term, the Establishment, was quickly picked up in newspapers and magazines all over London, making Fairlie famous. Today, the term ‘the establishment’ is used generally in a negative sense and it’s easy to understand why.
“Bankers feel they have an ethical duty to steal from taxpayers” – another reads
“Why are we subsidising the royal family at a time of gross inequality” says another headline.
There has been a rising tide of contempt and anger towards bankers, property speculators, hedge fund bosses, politicians and even religious leaders and the royal family.
For instance, membership of Britain’s unelected upper house, the House of Lords has soared from 666 peers in 1999 to nearly 850 today, well in excess of the House of Commons. The Lords is now the second largest parliamentary chamber in the world behind only the Chinese Peoples Congress. Whilst their chamber is 3.5 times larger, it’s population is 18 times the size of ours. The House of Lords is clearly an expanding repository of political patronage for the prime minister and is no longer fit for purpose or for a modern democracy.
It appears that those who lecture the working and middle classes about financial and moral belt-tightening are the very ones up to their necks in corruption and scandals of all kinds, including sex and paedophile rings to name but a few. The Establishment is now under fire.
In the past, these scandals were kept under wraps. They closed ranks to protect themselves. Top judges and police chiefs covered up for wealthy and powerful friends, including politicians. After all, they were from the same social class, shared the same clubs and sent their children to the same private schools, a grotesque example highlighted recently with David Cameron and Lord Ashcroft’s ‘Piggate‘ revelations.
In recent times, the rich have become much wealthier and everyone else poorer. Tories, Liberal Democrats and New Labour fell over themselves to please their friends in the City of London, a gang of speculators who stripped the nation of its prosperity and then paid themselves huge bonuses for having got away with it.
David Cameron is currently at the centre of this group, financed by the rich and super rich who was described in the commons “a dodgy prime minister surrounded by dodgy donors”, who turned a blind eye to tax avoidance by the rich and big business.
In order to keep the reigns of power, the establishment is frightened of one thing and one thing only – Democracy.
Extending real voting options to the poor would obviously present risks to their position. For instance, Conservative statesman Lord Salisbury told parliament in 1866, Giving working-class people the vote would, he stated, tempt them to pass “laws with respect to taxation and property especially favourable to them, and therefore dangerous to all other classes”. Today, you can hear exactly the same narrative against the new labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a scathing attack by media barons and corporate executives along with politicians and even military generals.
The establishment is characterised by those with ideas that legitimise and protect the concentration of wealth and power in very few hands. The establishment do not want democracy at all but a veneer of democracy must be provided.
It is because the establishment is made up of politicians who devise our laws, police to enforce those laws, corporate entities who are increasingly dominating economic performance (unpaid taxes for instance) and a smaller band of media barons who also set the terms of debate and the result of that debate that we see a closed shop network construct itself.
A conflict of interest of epic proportions. It is here that we find a common psychology and shared understanding.
The scandal surrounding the money laundering and tax evasion operations at HSBC exposes the links between a corrupt banking elite and a rotten political establishment. Lord Green, former head of HSBC, was at the centre of this tax dodgers’ row. He chaired HSBC until December 2010, when he became a Conservative trade minister and was given a peerage by David Cameron. You can see a major conflict of interest here unless afflicted with total sensory deprivation.
Lord Green was then given staunch backing by the Church of England. Needless to say, these preachers of great moral fortitude have a long tradition in protecting their own. Lord Green, a millionaire banker is a devout Christian and ordained Anglican priest. The archbishops of Canterbury and York said they were grateful to the former HSBC boss for his “contribution and expertise”. One could easily assume this to be a clan of hypocrites that have attacked politicians for failing to provide a “fresh moral vision”, but then act no differently.
Another religious entity, The Vatican, has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with Credit Suisse in London and Zurich with Morgan Bank and Chase-Manhattan Bank and others in the US and UK. All of these organisations have been involved in global, anti-social criminality adopting fraud as the basis of its profit centres, especially in London.
The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches (such as property and gold bullion) than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. With covering up sex crimes, inappropriate behaviour among prelates, political infighting and the existence of a clandestine gay cabal at the highest levels, the Catholic Church has a long shameful history and is the epitome of the establishment.
The crimes of the establishment are racking up at an alarming rate. However, if you get caught without paying your TV licence fee, laws designed to catch terrorists are used by the BBC to ensure your good behaviour.
In the meantime, one can take the example of how the establishment works when it blames society for all it’s troubles as a diversionary tactic. The media have managed to make the British population believe that 27% of social security money has been fraudulently gained when the figure is actually 0.7%. The media barons, and there are only five of them in Britain who own 80% of printed media outlets, don’t live in Britain and none pay tax in Britain but they want to continue pillaging Britain and get away with it.
This same tactic provides cover for the government to impose austerity that has caused the biggest transfer of wealth from the vulnerable, the poor, working class and middle classes directly in a route north.
The establishment are largely responsible for a neoliberal ideology that is so damaging to society as a whole – It’s the business model that fits. They use the term ‘economic freedom’ as if this is to somehow benefit us all, which it rarely does. For example, almost universally, this philosophy is used to transfer state assets to profit driven business (privatisation) that has enriched the few and made everyone else pay.
If the political system remains committed to the type of capitalism that exists in Britain today, it will always end up justifying a system that produces a mega-rich and privileged elite. Hence, why Jeremy Corbyn is such a threat to the establishment.
Jeremy Corbyn looks like the first senior politician who will not be corrupted by the establishment. Bankers will not be funding the party. He will not support war. He doesn’t support Israel, He is not religious and doesn’t believe in the monarchy. He will be the first prime minister (if elected) for decades that does not, and probably will not support the establishment.
So frightened of Corbyn, the establishment is now mobilising their entire resourcefullness at him, evidenced by a threatened military coup – not quite akin to Chile in the 1970’s but an extreme tactic to say the least, one spawned from desperation for sure.
The crisis of extreme, out of control ‘capitalism’ simply exposes the rottenness of the system. British capitalism has become casino capitalism, based upon property speculation, banking and financial services. In fact, the services sector now provides 80% of business activity in Britain leaving millions without meaningful work or income.
Extreme capitalism means a concentration of wealth at one pole, and poverty and degradation at the other with the bit in the middle being eviscerated. This is where the establishment languish. Jeremy Corbyn does not fit in. The stakes are very high.