George Walden: New Elites

A Career in the Masses

Allen Lane, 2001 (2006 ed.)

Book Description (2006 ed.):

When New Elites was first published five years ago, it was suggested the book was before its time. In five years, however, reality has turned out to be a caricature of Walden’s forecast. Had he predicted that an Etonian of three years parliamentary standing whose experience of life had been predominantly as a PR executive for a TV company notorious for its low standards would be elected leader of the Conservative party, Walden would have been denounced as a cynic.

Far from being classless as the recent election and fan-treatment of David Cameron shows, or a functioning meritocracy, Britain is further and further dominated by a small group of professional caste. Their aim is not to raise popular aspirations but to exploit mass taste, mass gullibility, or mass spending power for their own advantage. As Walden predicted in New Elites David Cameron’s populism is in fact “a perversion of democracy, the sickness of the age.”


“You have to read it.”  Andrew Marr, The Telegraph

“Rousing, funny.”  John Tulsa, The Independent

About the Author (from Wikipedia):

George Gordon Harvey Walden (born 15 September 1939) is a British journalist and a former Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) who served as the Minister for Higher Education from 1985-87.

Walden worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 1962–83, where he specialised in the Soviet Union, China and France. He was elected as the MP for Buckingham at the 1983 general election. He served as Minister for Higher Education between 1985 and 1987. He retired from parliament at the 1997 general election. His memoirs, entitled Lucky George, were published in 1999. His other books include Time to Emigrate, New Elites: A Career in the Masses, Who Is a Dandy and God Won’t Save America.

Walden was educated at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, London, and at Jesus College, Cambridge. He also spent periods in Moscow, Hong Kong and Harvard universities, as well as the École nationale d’administration in Paris.

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Ramana Maharshi