«We want our country back, we want our borders back.»En analyse av UK Independence Partys valgmanifest i perioden 2004 - 2015
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As a result of the Brexit referendum in June 2016, British euroscepticism has become an important research subject. One major reason for the referendum was the popular support of the eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). In the 2004 election to the European Parliament, UKIP emerged as a protest party against consequences of the expansion of the European Union. In the following European elections in 2009 and 2014 the party manifested itself as Britain’s main eurosceptic party. To understand Brexit as a historical event, one must first critically examine how UKIP pushed for the referendum. UKIP had been dismissed as a single issue party with few possibilities to have a political breakthrough into Westminster, but won the 2014 European election making it the first time in British electoral history that a minor party had won a national election since the emergence of the Labour party. By analyzing UKIP’s electoral manifestos in the period between 2004 and 2015, my thesis takes a close look at how UKIP formulated its political message and positioned itself in the conservative-right-wing political spectrum. My finding is that UKIP’s core message did not change: The EU was presented as a threat to the national independence of the UK, and Britain was seen as too overpopulated to allow more immigrants. The thesis argues that even though UKIP did not change its core message in this period, it specified its appeal with respect to specific groups of voters and as a result of its political positioning between the Conservative party and the British National Party. UKIP’s main goal was to influence and pressure the Conservative party, and it tried to achieve this by presenting itself as an «anti-establishment» protest vote against immigration and the EU. By formulating a populist message that combined hostility towards immigration and euroscepticism, UKIP tried to attract specific voters. My thesis shows that the ways UKIP presented its message in the different European and national elections was a direct result of how the party tried to position itself as a protest vote to the Tories, and as a more «polite» alternative to the more radical BNP.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
- History 396
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