7-15 October 2017

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INTERVIEW: David Goodhart

20 October 2017

Interview by Victoria Simpson

Sat in the green room of the town hall I was given the chance to pick David Goodhart’s political brain not just about his new book ‘The Road to Somewhere’ but also about the current political climate in the world.

I enquired about how, in his book, he talked about the “anywheres” as he called them, being politically entitled and whether he thought they would be successful in their attempts to hold a second referendum. His in-depth answer explored how he doesn’t believe they will be successful as the group he regards as “anywheres” doesn’t match up exactly to the data of the remain voters. Instead, there’d only been a small proportion of that percentage who would, in fact, want a second referendum. Speaking about Brexit, he believes that he can see the UK receiving a partial deal but if the EU is awkward about this then voters would choose to get behind the government instead of being against it.

Next, I spoke to him about how in his book, he talked about the rise of populism especially after Brexit, was it surprising to him that Le Pen lost the recent French election? This again was a no, as it was obvious she wasn’t going to win it, rather the focus was on what percentage she would get. Also he couldn’t see France exiting the EU for a while as their voting intentions juxtapose with ours; the older voters tend to be more pro-EU whereas the youth tend to be more skeptical.

 As Goodhart has both a background in politics and journalism I asked whether there is anything Theresa May could do to change her image in the media and win back voters. Directly, he stated that she made a dog’s dinner of the snap election but still managed to get the highest vote for the Conservatives since 1983, so must’ve done something right.

Like many, I’ve seen the Labour Party now being described as the “Jeremy Corbyn Fan Club”. Due to his extensive knowledge of data and voters, I asked him whether new supporters would stay with the party when Corbyn departs or whether they’d leave. Instantly, he spoke about his past as an inactive member of the Labour party. He stated that if Jeremy was replaced by someone of the same political views (eg. far left) then they’d stay and support but if it was someone, say like Tom Watson, then it’d be a no.

 Finally, I asked the obvious question of whether he classed himself as an anywhere or a somewhere; “anywhere, definitely”.

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.