As the year unwinds I’m rebuked by hints all around me that a book I comprehensively panned in Literary Review is basically true. The Establishment and How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones (Allen Lane, £16.99) is an intellectual mess, paranoid, partial and partisan; and its central thesis — that we are unwitting slaves of a grand, overarching conspiracy, all cooked up by wicked right-wing forces — is bollocks. Jones is a brave and brilliant voice in danger of trapping himself in a leftist niche. His book’s tone is shouty and its analysis shallow. But once you’ve understood — and with a snort dismissed — his hunch that a tiny proportion of the population have got things stitched up in our favour to the subtle exclusion of everybody else, you do begin to wonder. Since reading Jones, the very stones of Westminster, the very bricks of the Inns of Court, the oak-panel in the bankers’ boardrooms, the plate-glass of the Guardian and the Latin in the lobby of the BBC, have whispered to me that there’s something true beneath this rant.