The UK populist right has to be defeated or democracy will be trashed 

Values, Voice and Virtue: The New British Politics, by Matthew Goodwin, Penguin Press £10.99.

Reviewed by Gerry Hassan

The state of UK politics is not pretty, which is true of many Western countries. The conventional tropes of the mainstream, left, right and centre, have conspicuously failed. In their places have emerged the insurgent populism of an uber-right which the forces of the moderate left and liberals have yet to find an adequate answer to – or even seem to fully comprehend the threat of.

The past few days have seen the National Conservatism conference in central London run by the Edmund Burke Foundation: a Washington based right-wing think-tank. Its array of speakers included two sitting Cabinet ministers: Suella Braverman and Michael Gove, alongside Jacob Rees-Mogg, Douglas Murray, Eric Kaufman and Matthew Goodwin.

Many outlandish things were said which we should take notice of because this is the future face of the right in Britain and elsewhere, and potentially the Conservative Party. Unapologetic neo-con Douglas Murray lamented that German nationalism had tarnished and embarrassed the advocacy of a British nationalism because ‘the Germans mucked up twice in a century’ – an offensive way to describe the First and Second World War and Holocaust.

Tory MP Danny Kruger warned of the influence of ‘the dystopian fantasy of John Lennon’ in the 43rd year after his death; fellow Tory MP Marian Cates railed against the low UK birth rate, blaming ‘cultural Marxism’ and ‘excessive education’: anything but the Tory Government and the ideological dogmas it and she represents.

Academic Eric Kaufman claimed that three-quarters of school students in the UK knew about ‘systematic racism’ and ‘white supremacy; while Kevin Roberts of the US Heritage Foundation spoke of ‘the woke industrial complex’ who have apparently taken over Silicon Valley and business. 

One of the star turns was UK academic Matthew Goodwin who claimed that the past 50 years have seen an unprecedented revolution in the UK imposed on people against their will by the left. Goodwin is the populist right’s academic of choice, but it seems to have escaped his notice that in the past half century right-wing Tory Governments have been in office for three-quarters of the time.

Goodwin’s latest book is Values, Voice and Virtue: The New British Politics where he sets out at length his case for what has gone wrong in the UK, the forces who have brought this about, and the discontent it has engendered which has led to amongst many things Brexit and the Tory 2019 election victory. Whatever we think of Goodwin’s take and its shortcomings it needs to be taken seriously and countered as it is informing the populist politics of the right in the UK.

Goodwin opens the book: ‘British politics is coming apart. The symptoms of this crisis are all around: widespread disillusionment with politicians in Westminster, a growing sense of despair with the direction of the country, a fragmented UK …’: the latter one of the few references to the multi-national nature of the UK. 

He charges that a new elite – very different from the old – have seized control of the UK – writing: ‘Britain’s new ruling class look and sound very different from the old elite who dominated the country during the 20th century.’

He continues: ‘Decades ago, the country was run by upper-class aristocrats, landowners and industrialists who were united by their hereditary titles, their wealth, and importantly, their instinctively conservative values.’ While conceding that this group still exists, he believes they have been superseded by a ‘new elite’ bound by their Oxbridge or Russell Group university education, cultural power and control of key public institutions such as the BBC.

The problems with the Goodwin thesis

This is where problems with Goodwin’s analysis begin. For a start he conflates a ‘new elite’ with a ‘ruling class’, never offering a definition of the latter, or how this class supposedly rules when faced with successive right-wing Conservative Governments. As seriously, he conflates the dominant UK political trends of the past five decades with its capture by the ‘new elite ’who have ‘imposed on the rest of the country a political revolution which has completely changed Britain’.

He writes of three major trends over this period – hyper-globalisation, mass immigration and the hollowing out of national democracy as power shifted to supernational bodies; of Thatcherism’s ‘radical economic liberalism’ and Blair’s ‘radical cultural liberalism’; which has then resulted in ‘left and right converged on the same political territory, becoming indistinguishable.’

This sweeping account of recent times is despite the dominance of Conservative Governments the product of a ‘radically progressive’ elite. Thatcherism is critiqued for the economic dislocation it created; similarly Trussonomics is given short shift. 

But Goodwin lacks any subtlety about differing elite perspectives – lumping Thatcherism, New Labour and Cameron-Sunak Conservatism as embodying the ‘new elite’, ignoring that a period so dominated by Conservative Governments and ideas can hardly be described as ‘progressive’, while different priorities and changes in that elite are mostly unexplored.

Missing in the Goodwin analysis, apart from the dismissal of Trussonomics, is an understanding of the uber-right-wing ideological offensive to take Thatcherism onto the next stage – privatisation, marketisation and the hollowing out of the state. Or the contradictions on the right between a free market libertarian approach and that of the new authoritarians: a divide that was apparent in Thatcherism in the 1980s, but which has only grown larger.

Hence Goodwin’s ‘elite’ includes ‘newspaper editors’ and ‘think-tankers’, but you will not find a mention of Paul Dacre, Murdoch or the Barclay brothers. Nor the increasingly hysterical right-wing press or right-wing think-tanks such as the Institute of Economic Affairs or Taxpayers’ Alliance – despite their role in the disaster of Trussonomics and the fact that they have not gone away.

There is a curt rejection of concerns about forces threatening democracy. Peter Geoghegan’s Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics (2020) is cited: ‘We know that millions and millions of pounds were spent on Facebook ads in the 2016 Brexit referendum’ and dismissed as about ‘the supposed role of dark money’. This is apparently a ‘fashionable narrative’, and not worthy of serious consideration. How suspiciously ‘elitist’ of Goodwin!

The selectivity of Goodwin’s take undermines his case, but it is true that UK politics did experience a dramatic realignment which fed and then brought about Brexit and the post-Brexit Conservative 2019 victory. But as Sunder Katwala has pointed out, Goodwin is talking about a Britain already in the past – the realignment of 2016-19 which Boris Johnson’s personal shortcomings and the inherent contradictions of Toryism and Brexit blew apart.

Goodwin does mention in passing: the ‘backlash against the backlash’ – the rise of Keir Starmer’s Labour, Lib Dems, Greens and SNP, but that is all mentioned without any analysis. And certainly Green politics, environmental causes and climate change, do not figure at all in any serious way in the entire book.

Is this book really about Britain or England?

That is not the only omission in a book with the subtitle: The New British Politics. In its 240 pages it contains not one single sentence on Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Hence it excludes Scotland’s 2014 indyref, or the rise of Sinn Fein and issue of Irish reunification – both amplified by Brexit and the right-wing populism he has addressed over years. 

Goodwin it turns out is not really talking about ‘British politics’ on populism. Rather he is talking about English populism. Critically and unstated, Goodwin poses this English populism as speaking for and representing Britain, without noting the fissures and tensions that brings forth.

Such serious oversights have not stopped Goodwin elsewhere weighing in and commenting on Scottish politics – alongside numerous other commentary pieces. In the Sunday Times recently he itemised the failings of the SNP and called their dominance ‘a one-party state’. This was oblivious to Scotland having a PR-elected Parliament, the SNP’s lack of an overall majority, or their agreement with the Greens in government. 

Itemising a list of deep-seated policy issues which scar Scotland such as poor life expectancy and health inequalities, Goodwin puts all the blame for this on the SNP ‘because only one party has controlled the country since 2007.’ All aided by ‘no serious opposition, a largely compliant media – including a supine BBC’ and ‘a left-leaning chattering class.’ Clearly he hasn’t read the Scottish Daily Mail or some of the many right-leaning chattering class! 

Similarly he chides the SNP for their ‘populism’– the very characteristic he has spent his time studying and expressed admiration of its right-wing English articulation around Farage and Boris Johnson. Double standards abound here as Goodwin is silent in all his writings on the Tories winning the 2019 election on 44% of the vote giving them a parliamentary majority of 80 seats – and the perils of ‘one-party state’ politics at Westminster.

The Goodwin analysis matters because we are living in an age of disruption which shows no sign of ending, while alongside this the forces of right-wing populism will not go away anytime soon. The National Conservative conference, along with a host of advocates such as Goodwin and others, show that there is an orchestrated attempt to advance the Trumpisation of British Conservatism and UK politics.

Goodwin has little of substance to say on the state of the economy and poor wages, and on employment conditions and endemic poverty as a contribution to dissatisfaction. Rather it suits his validation of right-wing populism to prioritise ‘culture war’ issues and charge that an out of touch liberal elite do not care about working class or north of England concerns.

In his journey of recent years, Goodwin has gone from an observer to active participant. As Sunder Katwala’s Literary Review assessment of the book noted this is ‘more in the style of a prosecuting barrister than a dispassionate judge, for this is a book as much of advocacy as analysis’ and in Will Hutton’s similar take in The Observer Goodwin has become ‘an active right-wing advocate.’

In the UK as across the West there is a right-wing assault on democracy, social and human rights, and an attempt to hijack how public conversations happen and what can and cannot be discussed by attacking traditional institutions such as the BBC and creating new ideological media platforms such as GB News.

Hutton commented that a ‘coup needs useful intellectuals’ and Goodwin is one of the leading advocates for the trashing of what is precious about democracy and the values people care about. It is not hyperbole to call this a ‘coup’ – not in the hard Trumpian sense of violently assaulting democracy, but in the slow Trumpian manner of incrementally eroding, then destroying, the way politics and power are undertaken to aid the uber-right. 

In so doing, facts are trashed, the rule of law and due process seen as conspiracy theories, and elections where the right loses portrayed as ‘rigged’ and ‘stolen’. This is about the naked brutal assertion of power and authoritarianism and in this the common ground with fascism is evident and alarming.

We need to wake up fast, start addressing and taking action on the big issues and challenging the ideological assault of the right and their apologists. The new authoritarians believe that the future belongs to them and they can sense the weakness and decline in the institutions of Western societies.

The forces of the ultra-right are out to launch what they see as a moral crusade in the UK, US and across the West, to undermine fundamental rights, protect the entitled rich and privileged, stigmatise the poor, immigrants and marginal voices in society, and do so while undermining and trashing democracy. Academics such as Matthew Goodwin have become willing accomplices in this hard right project. 

Resisting this onslaught is going to be one of the main political struggles of our time. It cannot be undertaken by the forces of centrist liberalism, the ‘near-left’ of Blair and Starmer, or the traditional clarion calls of the oppositionalist left. Economist Ann Pettifor observed after the National Conservative event and threat it poses: ‘What is striking is the sound of silence on radical solutions offered by the left of the political spectrum. A silence that makes the far right’s appeal resonate far more loudly than it should.’

Such a dangerous politics of the right has to be met by a much more ambitious political programme which addresses greater democratisation and voice, the crises of our time, and poses a different future to the mainstream managerialism of left and right. That involves building social movements, constituencies and platforms, and developing a political project which answers the multiple crises of our time.

Goodwin’s book is a warning of the attempt to normalise such views and present them as the new mainstream – a goal which he has already succeeded in such is the rightward lurch of British Conservatism, mainstream media and politics. 

Comments (30)

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  1. Alasdair Angus Macdonald says:

    And with – let’s be charitable – the timidity of Starmer and the Labour Party, these arguments are not being challenged. Indeed, when asked, Labour front benchers either deflect from answering or, worse, suggest Labour will be ‘even tougher’. Remember Ed Miliband’s anti-immigrant mugs with the Labour logo.

    With Starmer explicitly ruling out electoral and constitutional reform any redistributive changes a Labour Government might introduce will be rapidly reversed by an incoming Tory Government and the system, including the state, is designed to implement policies for the wealthy.

  2. Join says:

    Re a radical left agenda – look at how the MSM (I include BBC, Guardian & Independent along with usual suspects) reacted to a more left leaning policy prospectus from Jeremy Corbyn. From 2017 election when they realised his policies had some public support they absolutely crucified him and any supporters.
    Similarly look how MSM and vested interests combine to oppose any proposed left of centre policies from Scottish Government eg Bottle Deposit, Marine Protection,
    The current media will vilify any radical left policies so maybe best to fiercely oppose these right wing proponent’s. It should be easy because many of their policies lack any joined up thinking eg urging people in UK to have more children while failing to provide support to raise a family, increasing cost of childcare and reducing employ protection which makes planning parental care more difficult. This is basic stuff and I am sure other policies proposed have similar basic problems.

    1. Iain MacLean says:

      It’s somewhat ironic the bbc enthusiastically condemning the Scottish Government by misrepresentation over protect marine environments, meanwhile that wise old sage the bbc promote at every opportunity, David Attenborough enthusiastically backed marine protection areas in Scotland and their expansion in his last series of documentaries.

      Ironic too the bbc has latched on to reporting of ferries, meanwhile, but not a mention from bbc that HMS Prince of Wales has been cannibalised to repair the broken down HMS Queen Elizabeth? Why?

      Currently the bbc and press have jumped back to full on SNP BAD, with no mention that for the past 13 years the SNP has been governing under tory westminster imposed austerity. The comparison with bbc and press treatment of Corbyn, is apt and accurate. Scotland must never be seen to succeed or do something different that the Scottish people agree with!

      Too many people give the bbc the benefit of the doubt as to their motives and reporting of internal Scottish affairs and how external british governance impacts Scotland. Identifying those who are against you is in the top five of determining political strategies, it’s high time the SNP and broader YES movement took the bbc to task, otherwise you are permitting them to keep attacking us and our ultimate aim, independence!

      1. John says:

        Iain – I was living in UK, outside Scotland, in 2014 and I was quite shocked at BBC news bias in coverage at time of referendum and to be honest this has continued ever since. Even Alex Massie acknowledged the BBC were biased against independence although he did say so they should be which I think is the mindset of most people in UK establishment. They were willing to tolerate the SNP as the political wing of independence movement as long as independence was not a realistic option. This changed in 2014 and SNP have been regarded as the enemy within threatening the future of the UK. Many people throughout UK including Scotland do not regard the SNP as a legitimate political party. The implementation of hard Brexit in Scotland despite 2:1 vote to remain in EU, then refusal to acknowledge democratic wish of Scottish Parliament for an independence referendum is being followed by a full on assault on SNP and Scottish Parliament. These actions are accepted (and supported) by MSM and the view of the half of Scottish electorate who regard this as a democratic outrage is suppressed. The SNP have partly allowed this to happen as they appear like rabbits in the headlights against this assault at present.
        The agenda and influence of MSM is slightly reduced from 40 years ago but still massive in this country and in my opinion the commentator’s on this thread talking up other social influencers cannot, or refuse, to see the wood for the trees.
        If the Nat Con nutters were ever to come near power I fear independence supporting parties would be banned from elections in UK.

  3. Jim says:

    The STUC is supporting a Stand Up to Racism demonstration this Sunday, 21st May in Erskine against the far right Homeland Party and in support of the refugees stuck in the Muthu hotel. There will be stalls, food and speeches. Let’s United and fight the far right. Come to Erskine on Sunday.

    1. Thanks Jim – good shout

      1. Jim says:

        A great demo today. Around 400 people demonstrated against the Homeland Party who ‘failed to turn up’. This is the way to defeat the far right. Solidarity and unity.

  4. Mary MacCallum Sullivan says:

    A bunch of fantasists, whingeing…. And Goodwin is their spokesperson, selling fantasy and whingeing about loss of male hegemony. A politics of the incel.

    1. John says:

      Goodwin is one of quite a few, mainly male, journalists who seem to drift rightward when they get past 50+.
      I am not sure if this is symptomatic of them becoming grumpy old men or more realistically in my opinion, it is economically driven as they will get more remuneration and recognition in UK’s media by writing the sort of right wing rubbish that Goodwin and his ilk churn out.

  5. Adrian Roper says:

    Interesting entry on Goodwin in Wikipedia.
    See the review of his latest book in particular.

  6. 230516 says:

    Goodwin is taking about ‘the country’ (what we might call ‘civil society’) rather than the ‘government’ when he speaks of this new ruling class or elite. Thus, while we might have had Conservative governments for the most part, civil society has become more nihilistic in relation to the traditional values the nationalists claim to uphold.

    In a culture war, the power of government is less important than that of social influencers – or what we used to call ‘experts’ or ‘authorities’. It’s these experts and authorities that nationalists and other populist defenders of traditional values see as the class enemy.

  7. David Robins says:

    This is not the first review I’ve read in which Goodwin’s ‘new elite’ thesis is rubbished because the takeover he describes took place under Conservative governments, so can’t possibly have happened. Gramsci’s analysis of cultural hegemony suggests that it is entirely possible to be in power and not be in office, that if you control enough levers of informal influence then you can set the agenda regardless of who forms the elected government. This is partly due to distracted ministers’ tendency to arm’s-length their policymaking to those in operational charge of education, health, justice, media, museums, policing, etc. Goodwin’s critics should be careful what they wish for: if those in office ever decide to use their formal power to pursue a counter-revolution then National Conservatism offers a ready-made to-do list.

    1. John says:

      I think you have been drinking the Nat Con conspiracy theory koolade.
      Who are these shadowy unelected powerful influencers undermining society?
      I will give you a couple of names – Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre who are probably not unsympathetic to Conservative government.
      A generation ago Nat Cons would have been dismissed as cranks but such is the influence of media moguls via newspapers or new channels such as GB News their ideas are given credence – that is the real effect of social influencers in 2023.
      If you think the sort illogical nonsense that was being spouted by Miriam Case and others is a workable template you have no understanding of how this country works in 21st century.
      These people have nothing positive to offer to problems we have today other than hatred and scapegoating minorities. Anyone with the most cursory knowledge of history knows what hatred and scapegoating leads to.

      1. Niemand says:

        A fairly obvious one would be Stonewall. Not ‘shadowy’ but deeply influential on a whole roster of organisations and institutions, including many government and publicly funded ones in recent years. This has had an obvious much wider societal. impact. Only recently has the actual detail of that influence become known. Stonewall also earned serious money in getting people to pay for this influence, in many cases tax-payers money. And is turns out, once that detail came to light and some of its ramifications began to be questioned, many said organisations started to leave its schemes and continue to do so, like Police Scotland for example. This only happened because some brave people were not afraid to keep questioning a) the kind of major influence Stonewall were having and b) the detail of that influence. One of these was actually the BBC, ironically a paid member of a Stonewall ‘Champions’ scheme at the time, via the Stephen Nolan podcast series.

        1. John says:

          What has the influence of Stonewall actually achieved:
          repeal of Section 28
          Gay marriage
          Gay couples allowed to adopt children.
          All things that I and many of my generation would have been against 40 years ago. Difference is that since then I have worked with gay people and realised they were not perverts but fellow members of society who have been discriminated against for many years. When I discussed my previous views with my children they thought I had been bigoted- and you know maybe they are right.
          Anyway I raise you all the mainly right wing think tanks such as Institute For Economic Affairs funded by ? no one knows whose representatives are all over the media like a rash.

          1. Niemand says:

            I am not talking about Stonewall in the 80s and 90s where I would agree with your assessment. I am talking about the new version of Stonewall that is not really any longer about gay rights or indeed about sexual orientation at all. Arguably those arguments have been won so they have moved on. Back in their heyday they did not run paid for Champions schemes in the workplace that require conformity on things that are very much in dispute. I could go into more detail but it will only cause arguments and takes us off topic.

            I also very much agree about right wing think tanks and the like. But it really is a mixed bag if we want to look at this topic politically.

        2. John says:

          I do not know about your allegations re Stonewall and therefore cannot discuss further.
          There are many representatives groups from civic society which engage with democratic process eg community councils and surely this is a healthy thing as it brings politicians, who can appear and become remote, closer to concerns of communities they represent. This surely is whole essence of a healthy democracy. Some of these groups may become hijacked by individual or factional interests but which organisation doesn’t and personally we may not be in agreement with what these groups represent but society is very open these days.
          I would contend that in previous times Trade Unions gave the working class a feeling they had some power and control over their lives but this has gone in many parts of modern workplace and society. This has been replaced by the helplessness of zero hours contracts and loss of any sense of belonging.
          What I am questioning and more worried about are the unaccountable, vested interest groups or individuals who wield a large slice of power and rather than trying to address rout causes of discontent in public encourage the feeling of helplessness and stir up fear and hatred for their own political gain. I place the Nat Cons and many right wing polemicists firmly in this camp.

          1. Niemand says:

            I totally agree with your last paragraph John. But it does still come down to who we think the ‘unaccountable, vested interest groups or individuals’ are. All I can say from my point of view, as always coming from the left in my life, is that over the last couple of decades, I have witnessed some so called ‘progressive’ groups doing very similar things to the right NatCons and the like that you describe. They don’t focus on the same things but what they do focus on is just as divisive. And I am not imagining this. If we really do care about ‘trying to address root causes of discontent’ we on the left have to acknowledge this phenomenon. It is no use any longer sticking ones head in the sand and shouting ‘nothing to see here’.

          2. John says:

            Reply to Normand comment on 19th May.
            I do not dispute that some progressive groups have people who are fanatical and over zealous and piss off many people. I have experienced a few of them myself in the past!
            The right wing media then feed on this type of thing to amplify the discontent among the public to forward there own personal agenda.
            However I do think that to try and equate the two differing groups is disingenuous.
            Having read what Goodwin has written about Scotland and the sheer ignorance he has displayed about politics in Scotland would make me very wary of giving much credence to him. Mind you regardless of where they lie on political spectrum from what I have read he is far from being alone amongst commentators in such a display of ignorance.

  8. Gerry Hassan says:

    There is widespread sanguine views and complacency despite everything abt the threat from the hard and populist right.

    1. The forces of the hard and populist right have money and platform;

    2. The Trumpianisation of British Conservatism is an ongoing project with influential US and UK political allies. Just because there are forces of British Conservatism resistant to this is no excuse for thinking such a possibility cannot advance.

    3. Matt Goodwin’s analysis on this has some elements of understanding this: the relationship between cultural and soft power and ideas. But people are being too generous trying to reframe Goodwin through Gramsci.

    4. For one Goodwin’s take leads to his ‘new elite’ and ‘ruling class’ being one quarter of the population which makes it a very unelite elite. Secondly he conflates economic and social liberalism without adequately exploring the tensions allowing him to put Thatcherism, New Labour and Corbynism in the same tendency and ‘elite’.

    5. None of the above – Goodwin, Nat Cons, the forces of the hard right in the Daily Telegraph, Spectator and Daily Mail, have anything constructive to say about the changing nature of the UK economy,, cost of living crisis, widespread insecurity in paid work, declining living standards over the past 15 years.

    6. We are experiencing the collapse of the dominant neoliberal economic and social model which has shaped so much of the world in recent decades. It is now accident that the likes of Goodwin and Nat Con are mostly silent on the economy, instead looking to invoke and whip up all sorts of moral panics and othering of marginal voices and groups.

    7. The very nature of the limited democracy we have in the UK is under attack by the above forces. I would suggest that people need to get real and wake up and recognise this existential threat.

    1. SteveH says:

      The elites with their personal and global ambitions, and critical social justice values are the existential threat.

  9. florian albert says:

    Having recently finished reading Matthew Goodwin’s book, I find it far more persuasive than Gerry Hassan does. Much of what he has written is a synthesis of ideas which have been developed over the past decade and more by himself, David Goodhart, Eric Kaufmann and others such as Peter Embery and David Swift. There is a list of authors in the US who have come to similar conclusions; Thomas Frank, Mark Lilla, Michael Lind and Rui Teixeira.
    Significantly, several of these view the current progressive left as having betrayed working people in the US and UK.

    Leaving aside how many people constitute an elite, Goodwin’s main argument is that the progressive left has changed radically. It now relies, for its support, on middle class graduates and has lost touch with the old working class on whose support all previous iterations of the left depended. This created a Labour Party which had the largest membership of any political party in Western Europe and the worst electoral
    performance since 1935. Opportunistically, Boris Johnson used this to win a spectacular victory in 2019.
    For the progressive left today, identity trumps class. Electorally, so far, this has proved disastrous.
    It remains to be seen how this change will alter political loyalty in the long term.
    Thankfully, there is almost no evidence to back Gerry Hassan’s belief that our democratic society is under ‘existential threat’ from the ‘ultra right.’
    His call to create a ‘political project which answers the multiple crises of our time’ is likely to go unheard and we will muddle along.

    1. John says:

      As this is a Scottish based site I am pleased to point out that Boris Johnson did not have any success, spectacular or otherwise, in Scotland in 2019.
      I might also remind you that the ‘philosophy’ of the authors you have quoted has little traction in Scotland also.
      One reason for this is that the right wing media that pours out this type of nonsense has less credence in Scotland.
      I do acknowledge that this philosophy has a much greater impact in the homeland of Florian Albert and is personified in the leader of that country a certain Victor Orbam.

      1. Jim says:

        Whilst I agree with you John the Homeland Party is using refugees in Erskine to build a right wing party. The STUC has called for a massive demonstration to break this attempt to grow a fascist party in Scotland. They are a split from the so called Patriotic Alternative. Let’s get together on Sunday at 11 and stand up to Racism!

        1. John says:

          Jim – Good luck. I do realise that Scotland is not immune to this populist right wing stuff. Fortunately it has had little political traction over the years (I am old enough to remember the National Front in the 70’s) partly due to the type of pushback you are describing. Long may this continue.

          1. Jim says:

            Me too John. Still saying no pasaran to these groups as they try to prey on people’s fears. Let’s keep on fighting them!

        2. Frank Mahann says:

          Homeland Party. Are they related to the former ‘Scottish’ Defence League, renowned for fluttering saltires with swastikas sown on them?

          1. Jim says:

            I believe they are Frank. They are a recent split from the so called Patriotic Alternative but you can trace their leadership back to the BNP. Hope we can make tomorrow’s counter demonstration a big one and stop them harassing refugees in Erskine and preventing them recruiting in other parts of Scotland. No pasaran !

  10. SteveH says:

    As someone who identifies with his description of the disaffected non-graduate majority, Matt Goodwin has explained the rise of the arrogant graduate elite with a clarity that obviously scares said elites. He puts into words what so many people I know find difficult to explain, that is their sense of abandonment, their sense of anger and contempt for the ruling classes.

    I voted remain, but flipped my opinion when (long before Matt’s book) I listened to the many comments by the elite remainers. The elites flailed around trying to explain why Brexit happened, reducing it to mostly vile, dismissive words of contempt for the leavers – without offering credible evidence. Despite their superior education, the elites are unable to accept the obvious. That is, they are not used to their opinions being challenged.

    This reviewer flounders about trying to dismiss the book, thereby proving Matt’s point. The graduates of all mainstream parties and institutions are the establishment, and no longer speak for the majority. They over the past 50 years have carried out a revolution. The long march through the institutions is exactly what has happened, and populism is the population’s rebellion against the elites. When the elites stopped listening, there was always going to be a reaction -even from the “deferential” British. What makes it worse they have chosen to base their views and performative activism on Marcuse’s Neo Marxist critical social justice made crazier by Foucault’s post modernist clap trap imported from the US Academy. Do you elites really believe in biological men invading biological female’s spaces, or converting young confused gays/lesbians using puberty blockers, cross hormone medication and surgery? Do you really believe it’s right that the poor white working class boys are abandoned by the Education establishment achieving less than boys of other ethnicities, yet are told they have “white privilege” and should experience “white guilt”. Do you not a believe that it’s a scandal that most of the wealth and power are focused in London and the area around London, and in some parts of the bigger cities?

    Why is populism such a bad thing? It is an expression of the majority population when the elites have behaved badly and forgotten to remember that we live in a liberal democracy.

    Look at what the elites have done? Only selected minorities and those who go to a Russell group universities, big businesses, and the intellectual classes have benefited. What future do e.g. the young white working classes have? The disparity between the rich and the poor has got worse. The elites have pushed power upwards the barely accountable supranational bodies like the EU and UN, and sideways towards the numerous quangos, led by unelected like-minded elites.

    It’s not just the Tory government to blame, it’s Labour’s abandonment of the majority working class and obsession with grievance minorities, and the Libs who are just trying to find relevance in British politics, and can’t even define what a woman is.

    The elites have tried to create a world of “global citizens”, with their elite education giving them “anywhere” opportunities for riches and advancement.

    As an elite, do you feel the cold wind of rebellion blowing against you? You should. A sleeping giant has awoken. As in many other European countries, the populist movement is growing, and you elites have only yourselves to blame.

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