Matthew Goodwin on populism: is it economics or culture?

Cultural insecurity is sitting in the driving seat and economic insecurity in the passenger seat, emphasises Matthew Goodwin. And younger generations might not see traditional party politics as the way to move forward. Political reform has to be thought about, he concludes.

Matthew Goodwin is a bestseller writer, and speaker known for his work on political volatility, risk, populism, British politics, Europe, elections, and Brexit. He is Professor of Politics at Rutherford College, University of Kent, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, and previously Senior Fellow with the UK in a Changing Europe. Matthew is the author of six books, including the 2018 Sunday Times bestseller National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy.

Matthew engages widely with business, policy and media communities. He has consulted more than 300 organizations around the globe, from the UK Prime Minister’s Office to the President of Germany, U.S. State Department, and the European Commission. Matthew regularly interviews politicians, activists and campaigners from across the spectrum and appears in international media himself.

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The UBS Center for Economics in Society is an Associated Institute at the Department of Economics of the University of Zurich. It was established in 2012, enabled by a founding donation by UBS, which the bank made on the occasion of its 150th anniversary. In view of the generous donation, the university named the UBS Center after its benefactor. The UBS Center serves two main aims. First, it enables world-class research in economics on all levels, to be conducted at the University’s Department of Economics. It thereby supports the department’s ambition to become one of the top economics departments in Europe and to make Zurich one of the best places for research in economics. The UBS Center’s other aim is to serve as a platform for dialogue between academia, business, politics, and the broader public, fostering continuous knowledge transfer.


  1. Thank you for your interest in this video. We understand the importance of the debate. Please be respectful, constructive and modest in your choice of words.

  2. A veritable fact fest. Thank u, thank u, thank u. In a world where the very idea of facts, is becoming its self a fable, it's great 2 hear this good gentleman talk of things beyond opinion. It was like drinking water, after a month on Coca Cola. Definitely 1 2 be filed away 4 future reference, so thank u once again 🙂

  3. Middle-class head-bangers are confusing cheap scap labour being invited by the millions into Great Britain without any form of immigration control or work visas with racism. The working class recognise the totalitarian economic plan behind the EU rich nations to draw on the cheap labour from those countries which they used in a parasitical and exploitative way. Brexit was because of the over-population caused by cheap scap labour from Europe, which has almost destroyed our education and health system. Some working class people are racist, but only the most illiterate and anti-social among them, easily controlled by fascist leaders.

  4. I really don't understand this…. The need to justify Populism. Speaking as a black Brit I know what its all about… It is about racism and white entitlement. My parents experienced it first hand when they came here in the 60's. I experienced it growing up in the 70's and 80's. The West came to dominate on the backs of black and brown people the world over… All justified as the white mans burden. Them taking on the responsibility of civilising the rest of us. This meme is not new… So why are we seeing it come to the fore again right now? Well for the same reason why it came to the fore in the 1930's with Mussolini, Franco and Hitler. People tend to be more tolerant when they are doing well economically. Following a financial crisis, and stagnant wages, intolerance grows as people look for scapegoats. Nothing new…
    An angry white man trying to tell me that populism is not about angry white men 🙂 Go figure 🙂

  5. UK Imperialism based on exploitation, EU based on Cooperation, the Brits still fighting ww2 but economic reality will hit in harder than they ever thought possible

  6. This is not about change or no change. It's about the direction of change. The current direction of change is dangerous, wrong, and stupid. It reflects total ignorance of twentieth century history, the bloodiest century in history. The change that is currently suggested and being implemented by the left is not progress, it is regression to the nightmares of the past. What kind of moron thinks Marxism is superior to capitalism? How completely ignorant of history must you be to have that opinion?

  7. You can argue whatever you like but the fact is you have no clue. It might not have occurred to you but just maybe some people can't be manipulated and pushed around and want to make up their own minds. Freedom first and foremost is freedom of thought and second freedom of action. The EU stifles both and that is why it fails. People just want to say what they like and do what they want to do and have their rights recognised. Nobody should seek to undermine or destroy those rights. But that is exactly what the EU does. You Mr Goodwin think you sound rational and sane with your mild mannered argument but the bottom line is you are just another Autocrat who thinks he knows what is best for others. There is always one underlying truth in all this and that is that "the one thing that people in power fear more than anything else is the power of the people." Brexit, Trump, Australia, Brazil, Poland, Hungary, France and many other countries and societies all over the world are turning to a new reality. The people have the power and the Autocrats are a dying breed. So that is the real story.

  8. This is about good and evil, not left or right, some evil people want to control you,but God loves you and wants u to be free,dont forget your history.

  9. populism a an insult, it is the leftists denial of the fact that they are out of touch with what working class people think. What is working with defending our right to exist? I don't want to be extinct and taking over by a more diverse population…. why they don't go to Morocco to say there are too many Moroccans and they have to import more Asians? what about going to China and saying there are too many Chinese they have to import more whites… see how they take it.

  10. Capitalism is a right wing ideology economic system that now has evolved a globalist angle nothing to do with the left or Marxism .all the reactionary right comments blaming the left for economic globalism are laughable and prove some turkeys do vote for Christmas.As long as the globalist elite(Trump Johnson etc) make them feel good about their prejudices they will continue to serve the master whilst blaming the politically powerless left.

  11. …”if you really want to understand Brexit”….I’m trying to figure out HOW CAN PEOPLE NOT UNDERSTAND BREXIT AND THE REASON PEOPLE WANT IT?!? That’s like saying “I don’t understand why people get upset when they haven’t eaten in a few days”…..??.

  12. Christ!!! I read these comments and despair. So many people with ultra-strong opinions on both sides slamming progressives as cuck Stalinist libtards and conservatives as psychotic racist and fascist Boomers. There are major failings on both sides and both sides are missing the point. Somehow we need to find compassion and a way to move forward from both sides or else the future for our children is totally fucked.

  13. The cat is out the bag dancing on a table wearing a hi vis or call it populism conjure up any name heard them all. Just screw the lefts idea of utopia because it sucks.

  14. Keep in mind that "Populism" has 2 different meanings, just like "liberal" in US (soy-fuelled, SJW socialism) x EU (classical Adam Smith liberalism)

    Populism as mentioned in the video is about respecting the masses' wishes, traditions, etc, and is usually a banner of conservatives/rural Right.
    Meanwhile, "populism" in South America is about doing unsustenaible economic decisions to please the crowds, like price controls, confiscations from the wealthy, creating state run companies and other things that lead to economic collapse as seen in Venezuela, and is usually a banner of the urban champagne Left, even if they disguise it putting a pseudo-working class grunt like Lula or Maduro to advertise it.

  15. A very major factor not mentioned that does link both the Brexit and Trump phenomena is the rise of cultural marxism and identity politics. The inherent asymmetry in the system against the majority whom are treated to socially fascistic policing of their speech is a very big contributing factor in the rise of populism. These are the very social constructs put into place to force feed us more and more immigration no matter the cost to societal cohesion. These are the forces tearing western civilisation apart and we're barely able to talk about it for fear of being labelled racist, xenophobic , ignorant, nazi and , ironically, fascist. And our "free press" are complicit in this process. Our social narrative has been deliberately infected and you need look no further than UN policy documents to find out for what purpose.

  16. Liberalism is dying, as this video explains, and Thatcher already killed the Left; therefore, the Right will rule the UK until the end of civilisation. It pains me to admit this, as somebody on the Left, but there is simply no path forward for my preferred ideology, at least not in the UK.

  17. Slowly coming round but still so deeply deluded: 'what concessions should we'. – we the losers of the referendum, – 'be prepared to make'. Yes concessions on immigration would be a start – how can anyone imagine that adding a quarter of a million people every year to a country with a housing crisis and a dearth of decent jobs is reasonable.

  18. Hadn't listened to this for a while – forgotten how good it is. Needless to say: anyone interested in this subject should read his book!