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EVENT REVIEW: David Goodhart: The Road to Somewhere

19 October 2017

14th October 

Durham Town Hall

Review by Victoria Simpson

Without Professor Stuart Corbridge, who was chairing the event, even needing to explain about David Goodhart’s life and background, it was obvious that this was a man who knew what he was talking about. Through his use of statistics and extensive knowledge of both past and current international affairs, the audience knew it would be an interesting event.

Goodhart started by giving an overview of his new book The Road to Somewhere, which he later read extracts from. He explained the definitions and value divide of both the Somewheres and the Anywheres. In his view, Anywheres make up 25% of the population, are highly educated and mobile. In contrast, Somewheres make up 50% of the population, are less educated and are more rooted in their areas than Anywheres. Despite this information being stated in his book, it was more interesting to hear him express these views in person, to hear concise definitions of the tags. He did stress that he invented the labels rather than the values, in his own words he “put a name to data”.

Accompanied by a simple powerpoint, Goodhart assessed the Anywhere domination of modern society and discussed the 3H’s; the head, hand and heart. Recently, in the Anywhere domination, more emphasis has been placed on the head which has lead to the loss of jobs which required low cognitive ability but a lot of practice. 

In a rare viewpoint that is often ignored by the media, David Goodhart spoke about one of the key advantages of Brexit; it has engaged the group described by Goodhart as ‘the left behind’ and encouraged them to become interested in politics again.  

The floor was then opened up to questions from the audience, which again gave Goodhart a chance to show off his knowledge of Foreign politics. The questions ranged from topics regarding the German/Bavarian country set up to the SNP. 

Ultimately, if David Goodhart’s past job as a current-affairs journalist and present job at a leading Think Tank didn’t prove to you that he is an expert at politics, then this event definitely did.

Cuckoo Review is an arts journalism programme for young writers aged 15-23. Through the Cuckoo Reviewers in Residence programme at Durham Book Festival, young people have reviewed festival events and books, and have interviewed featured authors. For more information about Cuckoo Review visit review.cuckoowriters.com.