The Legatum Institute hosted a public lecture on 5th April by best-selling author and political commentator David Goodhart, on his new book, The Road to Somewhere.
Brexit has presented Britain with an opportunity fto heal the rift between the citizens of Somewhere who feel rooted in a particular job, culture, and place; and the citizens of Anywhere, liberal cosmopolitans who feel the world is a village – their village. The latter only represent 15% or so of the UK population, yet they have controlled overwhelmingly the cultural and socioeconomic sphere.
For Britain to prosper, the “Admonished Anywheres” – and Goodhart thinks this label applies himself as well – who have understood that they have made a mistake in ignoring the wishes and fears of the great majority must use emotional intelligence to craft a new social contract.
Goodhart said he saw Brexit allowing for a new settlement which responded to the legitimate anxieties of the Somewheres – about globalisation, the erosion of ancient institutions, and immigration. Because citizens of Anywhere boasted the sort of cognitive skills that made them employable everywhere, they had ignored the pressures on jobs that citizens of Somewhere – such as those employed in manufacturing were feeling. These concerns about immigration had been branded ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobic’ by the liberal elite, Goodhart said, but they were legitimate. Citizens of Somewhere, could not rely on the impressive educational achievements that characterised the Citizens of Anywhere, but they did rely on character – a far more democratic qualification. The problem was, that society today focused on skills and achievements far more than on character – probably because the citizens of Anywhere controlled our culture.
The Road to Somewhere has become the most-talked about book of post-Brexit Britain. David Goodhart’s analysis of what we are becoming will continue to provoke debate for those who would forge a new social contract.
- David Goodhart, journalist and author, The Road to Somewhere; Head of Demography, Immigration & Integration, Policy Exchange