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newsmatthew goodwin interview

Matthew Goodwin interview: Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle is a desperate ploy doomed to fail – Conservatives and Labour don’t represent the country and Nigel Farage could leave the Jungle primed to lead a new movement to shock British politics

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Renowned political expert says Farage can become a man of the people of I’m A Celebrity then form alliance with Braverman with the country desperate for a new party which actually cares about what they do.

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Speaking to, politics professor Matthew Goodwin also says;

  • The Tories will send Sunak out to take the bullets in a General Election disaster
  • David Cameron return is plunging Britain back years
  • Britain must prepare for a right wing nationalistic movement taking other countries by storm
  • Cameron’s return will irritate Farage and could force him back into politics
  • Labour are on course for victory purely on the back of the Tories being so bad
  • The Conservatives have given the world a master class in how to lose friends and alienate people

The reshuffle shows the Tories are completely lost and lurching back into the broken politics of the past

It is a desperate play. What the events of the last few days have shown is that the Conservative Party is completely lost – it doesn’t understand who voted for it in 2019, it doesn’t understand what it needs to do to reconnect and repair its relationship with those voters, and that’s really reflected in its decision to dump Suella Braverman and bring back David Cameron.

The Conservative Party has lurched back to the broken politics of the David Cameron years and has lost somebody who was actually speaking on behalf of a large majority of the country. 

A lot of people want what Suella Braverman wanted – they want to reduce immigration, they want to fix multiculturalism, they want foreign nationals who glorified terrorism deported from the country. 

The ‘scrambling’ Conservatives have ‘given up on the Red Wall’

The Conservatives have been scrambling around trying to find ways of reconnecting with those 2019 voters but they are now clearly incapable of doing so. 

In fact one of their strategists this week has said that they’ve given up on the Red Wall, they’ve given up on the realignment  that they won in 2019 – all those working class voters, all those non-graduate voters, older voters. The party is now bracing itself for a very heavy defeat at the election next year.

It’s gone from looking for another majority to damage limitation, and that’s what this is, it’s an exercise in damage limitation.

The political elite are adrift of where the nation is – they are not talking about what the rest of the country cares about

We have a political elite in Britain today that is completely adrift from where the rest of the country is on issues, particularly on cultural issues like migration, stopping the small boats, staying out of the European Union, having a tough approach on crime, Law and Order.

On a lot of those cultural issues neither the Conservative Party nor the Labour Party are really speaking for a large majority of voters. If you look around the world today, if you look at America, if you look at Europe you know a lot of those democracies are moving to the right. 

They have parties that are speaking to voters about those issues, not the issues I mentioned but also pushing back against what we often call woke ideology. You know the idea that we should be teaching kids there are 72 genders, or we should be teaching them that the only interesting thing about them is the colour of their skin, not their character. A lot of parties are pushing back against that.

The Conservative Party were handed a unique, historic opportunity to reshape the country – to hold the Red Wall, to turn themselves into a party for workers, for ordinary people. And what we’ve seen since 2019 is a party that just doesn’t really understand where the public are on these issues, and doesn’t understand the public mood. 

That was reflected most recently at the Party Conference in Rishi Sunak’s speech. I sit in focus groups of voters all the time every week, and if you look at what voters want to talk about – cost of living crisis, the state of the NHS and immigration are the top three issues.

What did Rishi Sunak talk to them about? He talks to them about banning smoking, reforming A Levels and scrapping a high speed rail link. They’re having completely different conversations and voters out there are frustrated, angry, anxious, disillusioned and disgruntled.

They are going to most likely vote Labour not because they’re in love with Keir Starmer because he’s captured the imagination of the country, because in the polling that’s clearly not the case.  They’re voting Labour because there’s nobody else, there’s no alternative. That I think reminds us of how the political class today are actually woefully out of touch with where most voters are.

There has never been a bigger chance for a new radical party to take Britain by storm – and Farage could come out the Jungle to lead it

I don’t think there has ever been as much space for a radical alternative to the main parties as there is today.

If you go back 10 years to when we had Nigel Farage in the UK Independence Party there was a lot of disquiet in the country around rising immigration and our EU membership. If you look at where we are today there is enormous disquiet and disillusionment with even higher levels of migration, with borders that are not being controlled, with a political class that has seemed incapable of responding to things like the cost of living crisis, to inflation, to the deterioration of people’s living standards. We’ve seen the collapse of just competent public services like the National Health Service and the quality of schools and teaching.

I sit in focus groups with voters, and I was in Stoke on Trent last week and voters were crying in the focus group because they could not figure out how they were going to get to the end of the month. So the breeding ground is there for a radical alternative that says I don’t want the London centric economy, I don’t want net migration at 600,000, I don’t want both left and right looking identical looking the same, I don’t want inflation and food prices rocketing, and the cost of school uniforms rocketing, and I don’t want this kind of very divisive identity politics worldview in my kids schools, in the universities, the NHS and the public institutions. 

The market for a party like that, that is saying it wants to basically prioritise the national community, it wants to bring people together, it wants to push back against all this divisive nonsense that see. I think that’s a 20%-25% party.

The problem with something like Reform, they have been picking up in the polls on seven, eight nine percent, but they don’t have that charismatic presence, they don’t have that charismatic leader, they haven’t captured the imagination.

It might be that Nigel Farage in the jungle now being exposed to households up and down the country, that might fundamentally change his political calculus, his political motivation.

He might come out of the jungle and think ‘I’m now a national figure, it’s time to get back in politics’ if it goes well for him. That’s a possibility.

If you look around the world today you’ve got new parties and new challenges breaking through from Sweden to Italy to France to Donald Trump in America. The question in Britain is not if, but when?

Farage – the stars have aligned to present himself as the man of the people to a new audience

I know Nigel very well and I’ve said consistently that he’s going to do a lot better on this show than people think. He is much more personable in real life, I think many of the portrayals of Farage in public don’t really reflect the real Farage.

I suspect he will connect with a new audience. He’s already big on things like Tik Tok, he’s already quite well known among Generation Z and he will be going into this thinking ‘I’ve got

 unique opportunity to raise the visibility of my brand, to connect with a new generation of voters, to show an older generation of voters that I wasn’t really what the media said I was’.  

And also to be ‘man of the people’. If he does well, you know if he takes it on the chin, if he has a good laugh and if he if he comes across in an authentic way, explains to people why he holds the views that he holds, and why he cares about the country why he thinks is going down you know down the drain there is a unique opportunity here for Farage to come out to say okay you’ve seen me in real life, you’ve see what I’m like now I want to continue this this journey and start something new.

If you speak to him privately he’ll say he wants to cultivate the broadcast thing, he wants to do the fame, he wants to do the TV doing the kind of Michael Portillo routine. 

But I think the fact he’s going into the jungle and coming out and finding David Cameron in government again, I think that’s going to really, really irritate him.

An alignment of Farage and Braverman could be what the British people are crying out for

The interesting thing about British politics right now is there is a constellation of people that potentially could come together. You’ve got the disillusioned former Cabinet ministers like Suella Braverman, you’ve got the 2019 MPs who are going to lose their seats next year who are going to be looking for something to do and you’ve  got Nigel Farage who is potentially building his brand and becoming a national figure again.

And you’ve got a constellation of issues that play remarkably well to that kind of movement. People want to talk about migration, borders, the woke, Law and Order Hamas supporters in Britain.

So potentially there is something there that could be interesting, that could be significant. Politically 2024 is going to be enormous, but I think it might also potentially see another twist and turn in British politics. We might see the rise of something that is once again railing against the big parties.

The wood on the fire is ready – someone just needs to drop the match and whoever does could become a political star

The wood pile is there and it’s covered in gasoline – the question is who’s going to drop the match? That’s where we are in the country. I think everybody is genuinely utterly fed up with what has happened to the country, not just economically but politically, culturally, we no longer know who we are, we’re no longer proud of who we are.

We are I think lost and looking for somebody or something to project that sense of belief, to give the country a compelling vision, a uniting vision that speaks to the majority, the forgotten majority.

And whoever gets there first is going to find themselves being catapulted into the forefront of British politics.

Britain has to be prepared for tough conversations reflecting what the people really think

I think we’re going to have to talk about the issues people care about. If you want the three issues  that are going to decide the next election – the most severe cost of living crisis for 50 years, the collapse of the National Health Service and then immigration.

So I think we need to try and have a sensible, moderate conversation about what are we going to do to give people what they were promised, which is a greater sense of control over some of these issues. So how are we going to stop the small boats? How are we going to lower the overall rates of migration? How are we going to ensure that shoplifting doesn’t just become an everyday feature of British life? How are we going to build more houses? We need to build about 600,000 every year for the foreseeable future just to keep up with the demand that is coming from both young people and newcomers coming into the country.

The magnitude of the problems that we are facing I think is enormous and I think with reason we need a radical alternative is because we now have a consensus in Westminster that we are living in a high tax, big state, high migration, high debt low growth economy that is basically where we are.

We are paying 13 billion pounds every month on our national debt, on servicing our national debt. We’re not even talking about that issue you know, nobody’s really talking about how to revive growth.

What’s a long-term growth story for the UK? Are we just gonna have growth rates of 0.51% for the next ten years, because if we are that’s going to be a bit of a disaster? What’s the story around how we’re going to revive productivity, how are we going to build half a million houses every year, how are we going to fix the NHS? when we give the NHS 200 billion pounds a year but it’s still not working.

How are we going to reform service, how are we going to ensure that Gen-Z, my students who are born in the late 1990s or the early 2000s, how are we going to ensure that they have living standards not better than their parents but just the same as their parents and not lower?

The generational patterns and changes are immense so I don’t see leaders at the moment in Britain who are dealing with the really deep structural problems that are facing the country, 

especially when you have leaders that say you know what actually in my potentially my last conference speech I’m going to prioritise banning smoking. Whatever your personal view about smoking, and I’m not a smoker, but as a priority for the country it’s not banning smoking. The priority for the country has got to be getting to these deep rooted issues

Labour will storm the next General Election – Tories have delivered a masterclass in how to lose friends

Labour are in a great place, I think they’re comfortable. The old saying in British politics is opposition parties don’t win elections, governments lose them. They are just watching this government lose the next election by making mistake after mistake. Kier Starmer has done what he needed to do to get Labour into a position to be a credible alternative at the next election. Now there are still problems with Labour as we see. There are tensions over Israel-Gaza the radical left is still pressing breathing down Kia Somers neck the front bench of the Labour Party is not very experienced. But the fact Labour are riding high on 43-44% in the polls is remarkable given the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn and a 2019 election.

Kier Starmer is in a stronger position than Rishi Sunak when you ask people who do they want to be Prime Minister. More people say Starmer than Sunak. And if you ask people who you trust to manage these issues, the economy, NHS, crime, immigration, Brexit – Labour are now ahead. The Conservatives have managed this thing so badly that Labour is now ahead on Brexit and immigration. How do you get into a position as a Conservative Party where Labour is seen as the preferred party on Brexit and immigration and crime?

That in itself, it’s not the lights on the dashboard flashing red, it is they completely have imploded. The Conservatives have given the world a master class in how to lose friends and alienate people

Tories won’t change Sunak now – they will let him take the bullets in the election

Rishi Sunak will be safe until the election. I think he’s going to be surrounded by what we might call the sort of party Old Guard. There will be no big push for a leadership election – not just because he is now embedded but because there is also a view within the Conservatives that look if they’re going for a heavy defeat, why don’t we let Rishi just hoover up all of that negativity. Just stick a bullet proof vest on him and let him let him soak up all the bullets, and then after the election have a big debate about where do they want to go, do they want to go right ,do they want to go left  or try and stay in the middle? They are very aware that the last few years of basically cultivated an image of the Tories as being completely chaotic and divided/

If you’re an average voter living in Boston and Skegness and you’re looking at all the people that are presented as alternatives to the consensus and our politics, look what they see. Boris Johnson, gone. Liz Trust gone. Braverman, gone. And none of them by the hands of voters, all of them basically deposed from within.

Many voters are going to be looking at this and thinking, whatever your view of our Johnson, Truss or Braverman, anybody who’s basically presented a kind of radical alternative has in some way being removed and you’re left with a Prime Minister who must be frank doesn’t have much of a democratic mandate at all.

Farage will never return to the Tories

Fundamentally, instinctively and having known him for 15 years, Farage doesn’t trust the Tories. That’s basically the bottom line: he just doesn’t trust them, and I don’t think he likes them.


Note to editors

Matt Goodwin is an academic, bestselling author, pollster, and speaker known for his research on: politics, populism, elections, voting, public opinion, Brexit, Europe, academic freedom and more.

He is Professor of Politics at Rutherford College, University of Kent, recently served as Senior Visiting Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, at Chatham House, Senior Fellow with the UK In a Changing Europe, Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute, and Senior Advisor to the UK Education Committee. 

In 2022, Matt was appointed Social Mobility Commissioner. He is forty-one years old and lives in London. 

The author of six books, he wrote the No.2 Sunday Times bestseller Values, Voice and Virtue: The New British Politics, and the Sunday Times bestseller, National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, which was translated into multiple languages and listed among the Financial Times and Times Literary Supplement as one of the books of the year. 

He is also co-author of the 2015 Political Book of the Year, Revolt on the Right, which was long-listed for the Orwell Prize and listed among the Financial Times and Guardian books of the year. He shares his views on his Substack, writing fortnightly newsletters and discussions with leading experts, thinkers, and writers.

Liam Solomon
Liam Solomon
Liam Solomon

Liam is the Head of Sports PR for Betting Sites. He has over 10 years experience in Digital Marketing & PR, working in TV & Entertainment, Fashion, Technology, Sports & Betting. An avid Arsenal supporter, Liam keeps up to date with all things Football but loves everything Sports related. A number of Liam's Betting Sites interview & data stories have been covered on news sites including; The Sun, Daily Mail, Express, Mirror & Sportsbible.