Matthew Goodwin

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Matthew Goodwin
Goodwin in 2011
Matthew James Goodwin

December 1981 (age 41)
Academic background
Alma mater
Doctoral advisorRoger Eatwell
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical science
Institutions Edit this at Wikidata

Matthew James Goodwin (born December 1981)[1] is a British academic who is professor of politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent. His publications include National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy (with Roger Eatwell) and Values, Voice and Virtue: The New British Politics.

As of September 2022 he serves on the Social Mobility Commission.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Goodwin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics and contemporary history from the University of Salford in 2003 and obtained a Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Western Ontario in 2004. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree under the supervision of Roger Eatwell at the University of Bath in 2007.[3]



Goodwin was an associate professor of politics at the University of Nottingham from 2010 to 2015, a research fellow at the Institute for Political and Economic Governance at the University of Manchester from 2008 to 2010, and, between 2010 and 2020, associate fellow at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) where he authored research reports on the rise of populism,[4] Euroscepticism ahead of the Brexit vote,[5] the different political tribes of Europe,[6] and the future of Europe.[7]

Since 2015, Goodwin has been professor of politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent.[8]


Goodwin is a former senior fellow for the think tank UK in a Changing Europe, and was the founding director of the Centre for UK Prosperity within the Legatum Institute.[9][10]

Goodwin is on the advisory panel of the Free Speech Union,[11][12] a group that seeks to "counter Twitter mobs that drown out opinions they dislike".[13] He has served as specialist adviser to the House of Commons Education Select Committee on left-behind pupils and has given evidence to a Public Bill Committee on the importance of defending academic freedom in universities.[14]

British politics[edit]

Goodwin's research and writings focus on British politics, radical-right politics, and Euroscepticism.[15] He has written for the New Statesman,[16] The Guardian,[17] Prospect magazine,[18] the Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Financial Times, The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, UnHerd and Spiked. He has appeared on BBC shows The Westminster Hour,[19] Any Questions, Moral Maze, Newsnight and Politics Live, Channel 4 News, GB News and Planet Normal.[11]

A major theme of Goodwin's work has been to explain what he calls "the realignment" of British politics, which has seen the Labour Party becoming more dependent on the liberal, metropolitan middle-class for its votes while the Conservative Party appeals increasingly to working-class, non-university educated voters in former Labour heartlands (the "red wall").[20] Goodwin recommends that political parties "lean into" this realignment, by moving "left on economics and right on culture".[21][22][23] The morning after the Conservatives under Boris Johnson won the 2019 general election Goodwin tweeted "it is easier for the right to move left on economics than it is for the left to move right on identity & culture."[24] Kenan Malik wrote that this view was based on an assumption the working class are socially conservative, and "the trouble with this argument is that the key feature of Britain over the past half century has been not social conservatism but an extraordinary liberalisation", citing examples such as attitudes to sexuality, premarital sex and interracial relationships.[24]

On 27 May 2017, Goodwin predicted that the UK Labour Party would not reach 38 per cent of the vote in the 2017 general election and said he would eat his book if they did.[25] Labour did (the party won 40.0% of the popular vote) and, on 10 June, Goodwin chewed one page out of his book, live on Sky News.[26]

Goodwin spoke at the 2023 National Conservatism Conference,[27][28] where he described the Conservative Party as in a "prolonged death spiral".[29] Goodwin told CNN that conservatives needed to "decide who they are and what they want to be".[30] For The Atlantic, Helen Lewis wrote that Goodwin gave "a typically doomy speech", which "segued into 10 minutes of pure populist beat poetry".[31] Gerry Hassan wrote that "Goodwin is the populist right's academic of choice, but it seems to have escaped his notice that in the past half century right-wing Tory Governments have been in office for three-quarters of the time."[32] David Aaronovitch described Goodwin's speech as one of the two most "politically coherent" of the conference, calling him "the politics professor turned political entrepreneur".[33] Explaining his decision to participate in the conference, Goodwin wrote "I’m not a member of the Conservative Party. And unless something changes I don’t currently plan on voting Conservative at the next election." He explained that his decision was because "one of the most interesting and important debates in politics right now is where conservatism goes next – not only here in Britain but globally."[34]

Others have characterized Goodwin as a "populist academic",[35] stating that he turned from observer into participant, becoming an apologist for populism.[36][37][38][39][40]

On diversity, wokeism and racism[edit]

Goodwin and his National Populism coauthor Roger Eatwell have argued about the USA that political polarization has been caused by "an increasing fixation or near-total obsession among Democrats and the liberal left with race, gender and ‘diversity’".[41]

In 2018, Goodwin along with other commentators including Eric Kaufmann, Claire Fox, Trevor Phillips and David Aaronovitch was due to take part in an event titled "Is Rising Ethnic Diversity a Threat to the West?" Some researchers argued that the event would encourage "normalisation of far right ideas" and criticised the framing of the title;[42][43][44] the debate was retitled "Immigration and Diversity Politics: A Challenge to Liberal Democracy?"[45]

According to Huw Davies and Sheena McGrae, Goodwin's "concerns about wokeism are a recurrent theme in his output". Goodwin has described "wokeism" as "a pseudo-religion". He has acted as an adviser to the Conservative Party and in the 2022 Conservative Party leadership contest supported "anti-woke campaigner" Kemi Badenoch, referring to her as ‘one of the most interesting Conservatives in British politics for a very long time’. He supports the Conservative government's plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda,[11] and has advised the party to raise “the salience of cultural issues”. Malik argues that Goodwin now advocates a politics that a decade earlier he would have described as "toxic".[46]

When the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (Sewell Report) argued that structural racism didn't exist in the UK (a claim that was subject to extensive criticism), Goodwin claimed this "dismantles the woke mob’s central claim that we are living in a fundamentally racist society".[11]


  • Goodwin, Matthew (2011). New British Fascism: The Rise of the British National Party. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415465007.
  • Ford, Robert; Goodwin, Matthew (2014). Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain. Routledge. ISBN 9780415661508.
  • Goodwin, Matthew; Milazzo, Caitlin (2015). UKIP: Inside the Campaign to Redraw the Map of British Politics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198736110.
  • Clarke, Harold; Goodwin, Matthew; Whiteley, Paul (2017). Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781316605042.
  • Eatwell, Roger; Goodwin, Matthew (2018). National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy. Pelican Books. ISBN 9780241312001.
  • Goodwin, Matthew (2023). Values, Voice and Virtue: The New British Politics. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780141999098.


In 2014, aged 33, Goodwin was awarded the Richard Rose Prize by the Political Studies Association, which is given to one early-career academic each year for their contribution to research.[47]


  1. ^ "Matthew Goodwin personal appointments - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Retrieved 19 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Seven new Social Mobility Commissioners appointed". Government Equalities Office. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  3. ^ "Matthew Goodwin". The Conversation. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Right Response" (PDF). Chatham House. 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  5. ^ "What Drives Euroscepticism?" (PDF). Chatham House. 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  6. ^ "Europe's political tribes" (PDF). Chatham House. 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  7. ^ "future of Europe" (PDF). Chatham House. 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Professor Matthew Goodwin". Chatham House. 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Legatum Institute launches new Centre for UK Prosperity". Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  10. ^ Bland, Archie (14 April 2023). "Friday briefing: Has a 'woke aristocracy' really taken control of British society?". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  11. ^ a b c d C. Davies, Huw; MacRae, Sheena E. (15 May 2023). "An anatomy of the British war on woke". Race & Class. SAGE Publications. doi:10.1177/03063968231164905. ISSN 0306-3968. S2CID 258736793.
  12. ^ "Who We Are".
  13. ^ Simpson, John (17 September 2023). "Free speech union fights Twitter 'witch‑hunts'" – via
  14. ^ "They work for you". Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  15. ^ "Matthew Goodwin". School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham. Archived from the original on 15 July 2012.
  16. ^ "The BNP's breakthrough". New Statesman. London. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  17. ^ Goodwin, Matthew; Ford, Robert (13 February 2009). "Prejudice is declining, but there is still huge support for the BNP". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  18. ^ Goodwin, Matthew (July 2010). "Life after Griffin". Prospect. London. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  19. ^ "BNP". BBC News. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  20. ^ Cutts, David; Goodwin, Matthew; Heath, Oliver; Surridge, Paula (2020). "Brexit, the 2019 General Election and the Realignment of British Politics". The Political Quarterly. Wiley. 91 (1): 7–23. doi:10.1111/1467-923x.12815. ISSN 0032-3179. S2CID 214063692.
  21. ^ Rice, Gavin (31 July 2022). "The daring buds of May". The Critic Magazine. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  22. ^ Payne, Sebastian. "Values, Voice and Virtue by Matthew Goodwin review — has the Tory party bungled the post-Brexit realignment?".
  23. ^ Garland, Nick (26 June 2023). "Nothing to fear". Renewal. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  24. ^ a b Malik, Kenan (22 December 2019). "The idea that the British working class is socially conservative is a nonsense". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  25. ^ "Matthew Goodwin on Twitter".
  26. ^ Media Mole (11 June 2017). "Watch: Politics expert Matthew Goodwin eats his own book on live TV after underestimating Labour". New Statesman. London.
  27. ^ Lloyd, Will (24 May 2023). "The Tory crack-up". New Statesman. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  28. ^ Geoghegan, Peter (1 June 2023). "Peter Geoghegan · Short Cuts: At NatCon London · LRB 1 June 2023". London Review of Books. Vol. 45, no. 11. ISSN 0260-9592. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  29. ^ Beckett, Andy (19 May 2023). "I went to the NatCon conference expecting sinister exuberance. But all I found was doom and gloom". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  30. ^ McGee, Luke (18 May 2023). "Why are some British Conservatives behaving like the next election is already lost?". CNN. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  31. ^ Lewis, Helen (18 May 2023). "Why So Many Conservatives Feel Like Losers". The Atlantic. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  32. ^ Hassan, Gerry (16 May 2023). "The UK populist right has to be defeated or democracy will be trashed". Bella Caledonia. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  33. ^ Aaronovitch, David. "Flag, faith and failure: three days with the National Conservatives". Prospect. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  34. ^ Goodwin, Matt (28 May 2023). "Matt Goodwin: The revolution of liberal economics and woke cultural extremism has failed and left Britain broken". Belfast News Letter. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  35. ^ Shaw, Martin (25 April 2023). "Professors, Power and Projection: the Case of Matthew Goodwin – Byline Times". Byline Times. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  36. ^ Goodwin, Matthew (3 August 2020). "How universities shut out conservative academics". UnHerd. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  37. ^ "Going native: Populist academics normalise the anti-immigrant right". 31 October 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  38. ^ Hassan, Gerry (14 May 2023). "It's time for a long and hard look at the state of the UK's democracy". The National. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  39. ^ Bloomfield, Jon. "Toxic Friends? A Critique of Blue Labour". The Political Quarterly. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  40. ^ Eagleton, Oliver (25 March 2023). "Going native". New Statesman. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  41. ^ "White is the new black: populism and the academic alt-right". openDemocracy. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  42. ^ Smith, Evan (30 April 2020). No Platform: A History of Anti-Fascism, Universities and the Limits of Free Speech. Routledge. ISBN 978-1138591677. Concerned about the increasing normalisation of far right ideas, over 200 scholars wrote an open letter criticising the event
  43. ^ "Framing ethnic diversity as a 'threat' will normalise far-right hate, say academics". openDemocracy. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  44. ^ Freedland, Jonathan (26 October 2018). "Don't normalise the far right. But sometimes we must take it on". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  45. ^ "Reflections on the 'open letter' debate: a middle way to approaching the radical right?". openDemocracy. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  46. ^ Malik, Kenan (16 April 2023). "This obsession with a 'new elite' hides the real roots of power". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  47. ^ "Conference Highlights 2014". Political Studies Association.

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