Episode #6: David Goodhart – the new values divide that led to Brexit and Trump

16 October 2018

David Goodhart, author of The Road to Somewhere

In this episode, I talk to David Goodhart, author of the hugely influential book ‘The Road to Somewhere – The new tribes shaping British politics’, praised as a ‘book of the year’ by the Sunday Times, Guardian, Telegraph and The Economist in 2017. It is described by many as the book that explains the new post-Brexit and Trump world, and challenges us to think afresh about the nature of the job at hand.

He was the founding editor of Prospect magazine, and was the director of think tank Demos. He is currently part of the Policy Exchange think tank, where he specialises in demography and immigration issues.

We talk about how his thinking developed as his journalistic starting point put him in the viewing gallery for some of the pivotal historical events of the last few decades of the 20thcentury. We talk about the controversial essay that thrust him into the spotlight, and we talk about his thesis – that separately to old left versus right divisions we now have a powerful dynamic between what he labels as somewheres and anywheres.

Show notes

How did the world look to the young David Goodhart fresh out of university? (2:07)

How David got into journalism (3:34)

The stroke of luck that propelled him into the Financial Times to cover the last great strikes of the Thatcher era (5:32)

The job nobody else wanted that became the right place at the right time (10:22)

How David decided to found Prospect magazine, and what made it distinctive (12:34)

What did Prospect contribute through its early years? (16:28)

The most important thing David wrote in his life, and the impact it had on his direction (18:08)

Social media and the phenomenon of less civil political discourse that has resulted (22:02)

The evolution of David’s thinking that let him to the Road to Somewhere (24:25)

The value divide between Anywheres and Somewheres (25:40)

The spectrum between achieved identities and ascribed identities and gulf of how they’re impacted by social change (28:02)

The backlash from Somewheres that has led to Brexit and Trump (30:26)

The potential to create empathy and common ground between Somewheres and Anywheres (34:12)

The hidden majority whose ranks David feels he has now joined (36:58)

The rise of populist politics and the values stalemate we now find ourselves in (38:30)

What is one practical change David would like to make before hanging up his gloves? (44:16)

What advice would he have for the younger David? (44:53)

Who are some change makers that David has found impressive and why? (45:09)

What books have made an impact or changed David’s life? (46:55)


David Goodhart on Twitter

Policy Exchange Institute

The Road to Somewhere

British Attitudes Survey

Other books mentioned

The British Dream - David Goodhart

The Future of Socialism - Anthony Crosland

Contemporary Capitalism – Hollingsworth/Boyer

Minorities in the Open Society - Geoff Dench

Transforming Men – Geoff Dench