He argues that the key faultline in Britain and elsewhere now separates those who come from Somewhere – rooted in a specific place or community, usually a small town or in the countryside, socially conservative, often less educated – and those who could come from Anywhere: footloose, often urban, socially liberal and university educated. He cites polling evidence to show that Somewheres make up roughly half the population, with Anywheres accounting for 20% to 25% and the rest classified as “Inbetweeners”.For decades, the Anywheres have forced the Somewheres to endure the repopulation of their ancestral living spaces by ethnic aliens. But the Somewheres got their revenge with Brexit and Trump.
For Goodhart, the data confirms his belief that Anywhere and Somewhere describe real groups, the latter characterised by an unease with the modern world, a nostalgic sense that “change is loss” and the strong belief that it is the job of British leaders to put the interests of Britons first. Anywheres, meanwhile, are free of nostalgia; egalitarian and meritocratic in their attitude to race, sexuality and gender; and light in their attachments “to larger group identities, including national ones; they value autonomy and self-realisation before stability, community and tradition”. Unsurprisingly, Goodhart’s Somewhere/Anywhere distinction maps neatly on to the leave/remain divide. Indeed, the evidence he presents makes the victory of leave over remain seem all but foretold: the only surprise is that the winning margin of 52% to 48% was so narrow.Here comes the Jew-jitsu. Freedland twists Goodhart's argument to make it seem that immigrants are the solution to the problems their presence has caused.
Where Goodhart goes wrong above all is on Britain’s ethnic and religious minorities. Even though he concedes that these groups can exhibit Somewhere-ish attitudes – prioritising stable families, for example – he frames them throughout as the cloud on the Somewheres’ horizon, the blot that has darkened the Somewheres’ previously sunny landscape. It is their arrival that has changed Britain beyond recognition, their presence that has to be dealt with.
Perhaps my own experience as a member of Britain’s Jewish community has skewed my perspective, but I’d suggest that the very qualities Goodhart most admires among the Somewheres – including neighbourliness, trust and a sense of shared destiny – are to be found in Britain’s minorities. They have not caused the social fragmentation he laments: globalisation, automation and a thousand other shifts bear more blame than they do. If anything, and especially in the cities, they point to a remedy for those Anywheres Goodhart believes have become unmoored. Minorities might be more of a model than a threat, more to be emulated than to be feared.It's all about impersonal economic forces, then; nothing to do with immigration or ethnic identity. The Jews are still using the same sophistries Karl Marx mapped out for them 150 years ago.