Quillette Podcast 16 – Matthew Goodwin on Brexit, Trump and the rise of national populism

Quillette‘s Toby Young talks to Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent and co-author of National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberalism, about Brexit, Trump, the rise of national populism in Europe and America, and what its impact is likely to be on the future of social democracy.


  1. Heike says

    It just bugs the living crap out of me how populists are treated as some sort of space alien by our betters. It’s like these invaders came in and started wrecking our lovely neoliberal system that did SO well wrecking our own lives. At no point are our hopes and dreams discussed, or do we enter into the equation at all. Our interests are not considered and those of us who manage to raise our issues are angrily dismissed. And everyone wonders at the great mystery of why anyone votes for populists. Must be those dirty foreigners who did this.

    Anyone who does take a look at the “problem” does so by first donning a full-body protective suit and examines us through laboratory slides. The idea that we might be real people who have been ill-treated by our (excuse me, your) political systems is an alien concept.

    We are controlled by globalists who care nothing for us. We have our own lives, hopes, and dreams, but we are sacrificed in a maelstrom of violence, fighting wars we will never benefit from, and being thrown upon the Altar of Political Correctness for all time as kindling wood for the fire that will never heat us.

    • Peter says

      When, in the simple language of the Twittersphere and the like, populist=nationalistic racist and liberal=social justice globalist, then the conversation is still born.

      I see the problem as this: we do not choose the country in which we are born, and most of us do not choose the country in which we live. This can lead to groups, cultures and nations putting up physical or cultural barriers to those who do not have the luck to be born in one of the ‘desirable’ fortunate countries. This protectionism and acclamation of one’s own is populism at its worst.

      The working class have genuine cause for grievance since they have seen their lives impaired by the transfer of work overseas, but this has benifitted the poor globally, lifting millions off and away from the poverty line. How do we resolve this?

      On the matter of culture, immigration, race and so on, perhaps we should all take a deep breath and remember the veil of ignorance when it comes to making decisions or judgements.

    • In the news they refer to those of us who support our president as “his base,” and yet there are so few people -talking heads included who are examples of this “base.” We don’t even get to be part of the discussion.

  2. Humperdinck says

    I don’t know if anyone at the Quillette podcasting team tried to listen to this episode ahead of publishing it, but the audio is mixed to a shockingly low volume. Tried to listen to it while walking outdoors, full volume with headphones, and could barely hear a thing.

    On the plus side I get to listen to it again, but please make sure the volume is turned up next time!

    • Vertice Montis says

      Agreed. But then again, the quietness is pleasantly relaxing, especially when you can hear the surf breaking around their ankles at around 20:15…..

  3. Setpentine says

    yes same experience here … I cannot hear the podcast at max volume. I can hear others well with the same equipment. Thanks

  4. Sylvia King says

    I’m sad that Tommy Robinson has been misrepresented again…

  5. Shayne Haggis says

    I subscribe to Quillette because you seem to mostly come from a position of rational informed and evidence based thought.

    Describing Tommy Robinson as a right wing, ethno nationalist shows your own ignorance and willingness to blindly accept the main stream media and political establishment narrative without any independent investigation of the reality of who or what Tommy stands for or the cultural context with which his activism has arisen.

    This has me doubting your ability to accurately portray topics that I am unfamiliar with and trying to learn more about.

  6. Quillette is disappointing me.

    Articles and essays are now being chosen almost continuously on the basis of moral vanity. When challenged, a reply with 768 long paragraphs of deliberately incomprehensible verbiage is presented.

    Define this “liberal democracy”. Define “populism”. Tell us WHY reducing our standard of living will help lift African populkations out of poverty. Tell us WHY the Chinese, for all their paranoia, lifting almost 1bn people out of abject poverty imn less than 3 decades is wrong.

    Do not use morally vain academics deeply imbued with smug dilettantism as a wall of defence if you want people to listen.

  7. Defenstrator says

    I do not see how populism and liberalism are opposed. Indeed these days it is the liberals that are turning to populism since it’s the only place things like free speech are still accepted.

  8. Ourgon says

    I was reading the news while listening to the section in this netcast where Goodwin expresses surprise about the rise of what he calls the ‘populist’ Sweden Democrat party in Sweden, the country which used to be known as a liberal haven.

    While Goodwin spoke about this change in Sweden the news reports gave me some of the reasons for this change: three murders in one day just in Stockholm, a boy gets a pistol against his head in a school on the west coast, three other murders two days ago, another rape on the streets of Malmö, a gang going around Lund robbing children of their coats and phones and more… and more… and more of the same. My daughter is currently on her way back from Göteborg and has to wait for a train at the central station which lies next to the Nordstan shopping center which has been taken over by about 150 ‘lone youth refugees’ from “Afghanistan” (but in reality most come from Iran) who seem to have taken control of the drug market in that area. Nearly all the shootings – as in 95% or more – occur between migrant gangs who fight for domination of certain areas. Those gangs robbing children of their coats are migrant gangs. Nearly all rape-assault cases are committed by migrants. Even though the Swedish government – a term which deserves quotes nowadays as they seem to have problems actually governing the country – is doing its best to keep statistics on crime out of the news the data still comes out in one way or another, be it from disgruntled police officers who keep a tally or through other means.

    …and Goodwin is surprised people in Sweden started voting for a party which’ program could almost be a carbon copy of that of the Swedish Social Democratic party in the ’60s, a time remembered by many as a golden age. A time also when Sweden was ethnically very homogeneous, a fact which the Social Democrats back then were keen to point out. The Sweden Democrats try to portray themselves as offering the spiritual successor to that version of the Social Democratic party program, something the current Social Democratic party seems to feel threatened by and tries to combat with accusations of racism and xenophobia. There are sure to be individual cases of racism within the Sweden Democrats – just like there are many such cases within the Social Democrats and all other parties, especially within those who have jumped on the identity politics trend. The party programs don’t support racism, race does not even come into play. Cultural identity does come into play but race does not equate culture. It is strange to see how parties like the Social Democrats can be supportive of e.g. the Kurdish case for a cultural identity and associated nation state while at the same time dismissing those who claim that Swedes have a right to their own cultural identity.

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