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Behavioural thatcherism and nostalgia: tracing the everyday consequences of holding thatcherite valuesWith the passing of time and the benefit of hindsight there is, again, growing interest in Thatcherism – above all in its substantive and enduring legacy. But, to date at least, and largely due to data limitations, little of that work has focussed on tracing the behavioural consequences, at the individual level, of holding Thatcherite values. That oversight we seek both to identify more clearly and to begin to address. Deploying new survey data, we use multiple linear regression and structural equation modelling to unpack the relationship between ‘attitudinal’ and ‘behavioural’ Thatcherism. In the process we reveal the considerably greater behavioural consequences of holding neo-liberal, as distinct from neo-conservative, values whilst identifying the key mediating role played by social, political and economic nostalgia. We find that neo-liberal values are positively associated with Behavioural Thatcherism, whilst neo-conservative values are negatively associated with Behavioural Thatcherism. In exploring the implications we also reveal some intriguing interaction effects between economic nostalgia and neo-conservative values in the centre-left vote for Brexit. In the conclusion we reflect on the implications of these findings for our understanding of the legacy of Thatcherism and, indeed, for Brexit itself.
Brexit: A colonial boomerang in a populist worldThis article argues that there are important connections between what is happening in Brexit and matters with which people in the Two Thirds World have long experience. It posits that a serious understanding of the roots of the Brexit crisis requires an analytical engagement with the cross-currents that swirl between the UK's global imperial and colonial inheritance and some of the key trends and issues arising from the highly varied, ambiguous, but also irresistible contemporary forces of globalisation resulting from what the British historian Arnold Toynbee called “the annihilation of distance”. ‘Brexit’ has shaken up political configurations and complacency about what English politicians for too long have tended to refer to in an unconsciously culturally and politically assimilationist way as “the nation” when, as a matter of both historical fact and contemporary reality, the present UK state is a specific configuration of nations within a single state that was created as part of an overall “internal” trajectory of a colonial and imperial enterprise that was rolled out into the wider world. If this analysis is accepted then it is not surprising that issues relating both to Scotland and to Northern Ireland have been playing a very big role in the present Brexit crisis. The published article is an abridged form of an unpublished longer paper on "Roots, Routes, and Times of Decision: Brexit, Populisms, Colonialism and Imperialism in Global Perspective", which is downloadable open access from https://pure.coventry.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/23840319/Roots_Routes_and_Times_of_Decision_long_form_article.pdf. Finally, the article argues that it is likely that those of us who live and work in the UK will need to call in aid against our temptation to despair, the analytical, spiritual and practical resources that sisters and brothers from the ‘Two Thirds world’ have developed over several centuries of understanding the destructive phenomena of colonialism and imperialism, and in identifying some possible ways to overcome them.
A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of ‘Brexit’: Flagging the Nation in Political CartoonsThe rhetorical investigation of multimodality in political discourse is a growing concern for discursive researchers adopting critical approaches. The study of political cartoons is a prime example of how both visual and linguistic meaning can be constructed and interpreted based on its prevailing social, cultural and political settings. Adopting a multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) approach, this chapter further pursues the study of multimodality in political communication by examining a corpus of political cartoons—drawn from the UK and beyond—concerned with the UK’s Referendum on membership of the European Union and the subsequent vote to leave in 2016. We analyse how the rhetoric of these cartoons flags the construction of national identity, otherness and belonging, lending themselves to condensed ideological messages seeking to frame Brexit. It is argued such cartoons can be seen as micro-instances of the anchoring of Brexit as a self-referential political divide defined by oppositional discourses and their accompanying intellectual legacy. A phenomenon, which, we contend, is richly explained by the rhetorical communication of the visual alongside the linguistic. We conclude the chapter by reflecting on how MCDA can assist our understanding of political communication and contribute to the critical tradition of discursive psychological work.