Matt Goodwin on the New Elite
Brexiters desperately seek intellectuals happy to validate their Weltanschauung and I guess they will be really pleased to have found a candidate in one Matt Goodwin, Professor of Politics at the University of Kent. Prof Goodwin recently penned a lengthy article in The Times selling his book (No, I haven’t bought it or even delved into it in Waterstones) in which he claims that the “sneering out of touch cosmopolitan metropolitan liberal elite” has taken over not just the narrative but the country. Your first impression might be that this sounds a bit like a right winger playing the victim card. You’d be right.
Of course Matt does not explain how populists feed vulnerable people with a ‘deep story’ telling them what to be angry and anxious about. He merely tells us we must respect the legitimate concerns that he ascribes to ‘the people’. He seems to see virtue in victimhood.
Matt gets very angry about liberals dismissing Brexity types as “gammons” which he says is bad, divisive and not healthy for our society. Then he insults liberals. Members of the “woke new elite” – yes, he actually uses the word ‘woke’ in what claims to be a serious article – have attended good universities. They live in large cosmopolitan cities, because they like diversity (“bad”). They socialise with each other; marry each other (“very, very bad”). And then, inevitably, we get the claim that liberals “despise” anyone who is not as clever as they are. For “despise” read “disagree with” – more victim-speak.
Of course it is, as I mentioned above, actually the populists who despise and manipulate ‘the people’. As Goebbels said:
“Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology”.
Göring was even more direct:
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country”.
Familiar isn’t it? Gary Lineker was right.
Back to Matt’s ‘thesis’. One of the real problems is the expansion of the universities. Too many people are getting heducated in institutions packed with lefty academics. There just aren’t enough clear-sighted right wing thinkers like Matt. I wonder why?
We products of educational monocultures are apparently all out of touch with the working man but we have imposed our tastes, values and culture on an unwilling nation. Having cast aside and humiliated the white working class, we were shocked by Brexit. Have you spotted the victim narrative here? It is what Brexiters used to beguile their voters:
“This sneering elite thinks you are inferior! They despise you! They mock you! They call you ‘Little England’. Don’t let them! You show them! Vote leave!”.
That is how populists and fascists manipulate the people:
“The elite hates you! Look into my eyes. I am your friend! Do what I say!”.
Immigration as weapon
This elite, which lives in diverse urban centres, does not grasp that this amorphous mass of provincial yeomen of Olde England does not like ‘mass migration’. Well, that should not be a problem, because in most Leave voting areas there are very few migrants and anyway what exactly is the problem with immigration? Matt fails to address issues like this – he never seems to challenge views to which he is sympathetic. Brexit voters had ‘justified concerns’ about Freedom of Movement (FoM) or mass immigration. Goodwin seems to think that just having concerns is fine. If you feel something is a problem, then it is a problem and don’t let the latte-swilling wokerati disrespect you by saying otherwise! He claims we liberals are relaxed about small boats crossing the channel. Well, we take fewer asylum seekers than most countries and the boat crisis could be sorted out tomorrow if there were a will.
‘Identity’ is also a problem. We liberals apparently see British history as something entirely negative. Now here it starts to get silly. Most people know nothing about our history, but apparently many still want to be proud of it. “Don’t say anything bad about our past because we are the goodies”. Of course this isn’t really about the past at all; rather it is about the present. Populists know that people want to feel good about themselves, so they tell them that they have the good fortune to belong to the best nation in the world which makes all of us the best and “Don’t that feel good?”. For populists, identity comes from belonging to a region or a country and being unconditionally proud of it. The problem is, of course, that this makes populism xenophobic and racist. Is Matt saying that it is OK to fear and loathe the outsiders, who aren’t just foreigners but the citizens of nowhere? For the liberal elite, national and regional identity are less important, and that is bad. Being disrespected makes you right?
There is no question of defining your own identity – hence the obsession with trans-gender issues. If someone asserts that his gender or sexuality is different he is asserting his freedom as a sovereign individual. Populists hate that. The group, be it the region or nation, is what counts. Not the individual, and according to Matt, if you believe this you are a moderate. At no stage does Matt question whether these honest burghers are correct to hold the beliefs he ascribes to them. He seems to see virtue in the very act of believing
Matt’s language gets woolly. This is all having “real and profound effects on our society”. Was this screed edited before publication? I’d have cut out not just the word ‘woke’ but meaningless guff like this.
Victims have values?
The article splutters to a conclusion with endless repetition – and of course the victim narrative runs through it all the way. Even more ludicrous claims are made. Apparently the downtrodden underclass of older and less educated people cares as much about “recognition as redistribution”. I mean, dear me! How can anyone make a claim like that? Kind of thing you hear down the pub all the time. “I don’t so much want more money; rather I want respect”. Yeah!
But there is apparently a struggle afoot between the out of touch liberal elite and those who “are now rebelling against this new ruling class, trying to reassert their values, their voice and their sense of virtue”. Now that really is nonsense, isn’t it? No sociologist would allow a claim like this. Not even a trace of nuance. Who exactly is rebelling? What values? Are they the right values? What sense of virtue? What does that even mean? And then, in a veiled plea for tolerance,: Matt weirdly declares that we must stop being so ‘divisive’ and ensure there is “a wider range of voices in our national conversation”.
Well, I have got news for the Professor. This has already happened. The Mail, Express, Sun and Telegraph ensure that the voices of which he speaks are heard, as does the Home Secretary, as does Mr Sunak. Cruella and Rishi and the friendly media are the elite we must fear because they are in charge.
If truth be told, the country is not being run by Gary Lineker, James O’Brien, Emily Maitlis, Ian Dunt and Marcus Rashford. It really isn’t.