The Legatum Institute was pleased to welcome best-selling author and political commentator David Goodhart, on his new book, The Road to Somewhere.
Listen to David Goodhart's lecture here.
Brexit has presented Britain with an opportunity to 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 to 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 is, says Goodhart, society today focuses on skills and achievements far more than on character – probably because the citizens of "Anywhere" control our culture.
The Road to Somewhere has become the most talked about book of post-Brexit Britain. David Goodhart’s analysis of who we are becoming will continue to provoke debate for those who would forge a new social contract.