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October 21, 2014


Jeremy Duns

'Icarus Green', it's a valiant attempt at what must surely be the oddest attempt at a wind-up, but I'm not biting, sorry.

Jeremy Duns

A comment of mine seems to have been swallowed up by a gremlin. Perhaps it'll reappear later.

Anyway, it was just to say, if that was an attempt to wind me up, 'Icarus Green', it was most bizarre. And I'm not biting, sorry.

Icarus Green

@Jeremy Duns

Ha Ha. I actually wrote that comment and posted without being able to see your newest reply to Owen and am unable to edit or delete it. The comments don't update while you write.

Obviously you guys have resolved your differences and the tone of the conversation has changed completely.

I must remember to type faster next time so that my comments will remain appropriate!


Icarus Green asks who would check the facts in a book? Who believes everything they read?
So for what is presented as a significant, even seminal, analysis, why would you necessarily accept its facts at face value?
Or do we just assume someone else will check for us?

Tim Worstall

There's an extremely simple explanation for this parliamentarians and companies link. It's that the House of Lords is appointed.

"You either still have’t bothered to read the primary source for this finding or don't wish to clarify it properly because to do so would make clear how very wrong it is, or both. It’s important to clarify that it is *not* 46%. Note your use of the present tense. It wasn’t even 46% in that single study in 2004. Faccio found *in 2004* that 46% of the top 50 (ie 23) publicly traded firms had a director or a shareholder *controlling more than 10 percent* who was either a British parliamentarian, *a spouse, child, sibling or parent of a British parliamentarian*, *a friend of a British parliamentarian*, *someone known to be associated with a political party*, and quite a few other people, too. You have not mentioned any of those factors, which are so broad as to be almost meaningless. For instance, Faccio didn’t define what she meant by people ‘known to be associated with a political party’. Known by who? Associated in what way? Party membership? I can’t quite believe you still don’t understand this."

Lord Browne getting a pe4erage for having run BP means that BP is one of those 46% of firms. And so bloody on through the corporate boards.

It's absolutely sod all to do with MPs and more than that, most in business who do become peers hardly ever turn up. They like the title but not the actual House of Lords.

And given that pretty much no one else appoints the second chamber of the legislature in the same manner then no one else has similar levels of connection.

It's simply so bloody obvious that this is true I'm amazed that anyone's bothering to make anything of it. It's actually somethi9ng that ought to have been pointed out in that original paper.

Luis Enrique


true, but how does that weaken the argument that business leaders and government are intertwined?


Might as well buy the book to see what the fuss is about!


The response to this post is depressing.

The very fact that a post about a celeb writer gets about 5 times the typical replies than other posts lends credence to Chris's statement that we live in a celebocracy.

Luis Enrique

oh come on, it directly concerns two individuals both of who have commented, plus it has attracted one individual with an axe to grid.


Icarus Green,

"In this specific case it was actually a typo. "

That specific case is not only a typo, is the point.

" any fair reading of Owen's earlier and newest comment suggests that he has no problems making corrections and welcoming other criticisms to his book"

Whether he lives up to that is perhaps more important. In the case of the 46%, he hasn't yet corrected the other error he made.

Patrick O'Turd

The use of the word polemic in this discusion is vexatious

Deviation From The Mean

“As I am a singl parent on 150 a week, and I dont have the establishment behind me to make it cease and Owen continues to defame me for using his twitter id to illustrate an eloquent critique of how he and his friends exploited anti-cuts feelings into labour political collatral.”

Lisa, is calling you stupid defamation? What Owen Jones does, I think, is to attempt to shift New labour to a more left wing and social democratic standing because he actually believes in socialism, whether you or anyone thinks socialism is inadequate is another matter.

You only have to look at Jones’s background to know that, rather than exploiting anti Cuts feelings into labour political collateral, whatever the fuck that means, he actually is anti cuts, doesn’t believe in them and thinks the debt/deficit problem should be tackled in another way. I don’t think even Jeremy Duns believes Owen Jones is insincere about this.

Speaking of Duns, he said the following:

“Why not try addressing the substance here, which is not me or the person who found the errors, but Jones' errors and research methods? “

No, the substance here is peer reviewing and how that should be carried out. Your method of “someone else looked at Jones' book and sent the stuff to me” just doesn’t cut the mustard as far as rigorous peer reviewing goes. You see the natural reaction of those who doubt things is that the establishment will use all its resources to undermine books/work that is critical of it but will go easy on books/works that are sycophantic. You would have to be either naive or complicit not to recognise these concerns. So what your issue has revealed is not really to highlight the faults of one author but to cast light on the whole inadequate peer reviewing process, of which you appear to be part of. So you have questions to answer.

Your idea that the work of journalists can be trusted is simply not backed up by the facts. But you can make claims and assertions about what ‘proper journalists’ do without really knowing the truth of the matter.

You claim to have broadly the same political beliefs as Owen Jones, so why don’t you use your limited time to throw light on the corrupt networks that the establishment operates and use your limited time to show the factual errors by authors who are sycophants of the establishment. Why go to the time and effort of attacking someone on the left when there are hundreds of establishment lackeys who will do that for a fee?

I have no particular bias towards Owen Jones by the way and have made the point on this very website that the only reason Owen gets on TV is because of his Oxbridge background.

But your responses, such as why don’t you deal with the ‘substance’, ‘stop it with the ad hominem’ shows a level of naivety about the wider context that is suspiciously knowing if you ask me.

Jeremy Duns

Well, I didn't ask you.

I think the errors speak for themselves, and don't need any 'peer review' other than to be checked, which I have done and you can do, too. They're all cut and dried, I think.

As for your whataboutery, please save it for someone who can't see through such nonsense. Jones' politics make no difference to this. My criticism of his is his research methods, not his politics. If someone sends me verifiable information that a right-wing writer's bestselling book is filled with GCSE-level errors, or if I have reason to suspect it might be the case, I'll look at that, too.

The attempts to shoot the messenger in this discussion are mind-boggling. I don't think I have anything to answer at all here. I haven't made any errors. Owen Jones has. Several of them. He has now said he will document all the errors in The Establishment on his website as they are corrected. I think, provided he does that in good faith and doesn't try to minimise them or obfuscate or sling mud, as he's done so far, that's an excellent idea. I suggest we let him get to it.


Deviation From The Mean

I am not disputing or agreeing with you that Jones methods are sloppy/dishonest but I am arguing that your method of scrutiny is woefully inadequate and that you should be concerned by the abysmal level of peer reviewing within a field that you are a part of. so you do have questions to answer, especially when you claim things are cut and dried.

I do peer reviewing for a living, and know the processes involved, and I know that what passes for scrutiny in your world is a joke (or to to the point an exercise in serving interests).

Your naivety about the issues I mentioned above and claims to be a noble and honest seeker of the truth tell me your a most untrustworthy individual.

I am sure Jones will learn from the experience, I suspect the establishment lackeys will continue to tell lies and distort the truth and that you will continue to be ignorant of them.

Jeremy Duns

I genuinely haven't a clue what you mean. If it's that fact-checking standards have declined, I agree - but I'm in no way to blame for that.


jones is pretty much the political mirror image of dellingpole.

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