UK Two paths, one destination

Both the far right UKIP party and the left wing No2EU coalition supported Brexit despite political differences

The Brexit referendum in the UK last year shows that two clearly opposing populist forces can pull in the same direction for a common aim –in this case the country leaving the European Union– despite their radically differing ideologies. As professor of international and EU law, Maria Mut explains, both UKIP (the UK Independence Party, a populist right-wing party) as well as the left-wing electoral alliance, No2EU-Yes to Democracy, which was set up in 2009 by different political parties, such as the British Communist party, focused their political discourse on supporting Brexit

“Both UKIP and No2EU are Eurosceptic groups that advocated for the UK definitively leaving the European Union. However, each group came up with different political strategies when it came to campaigning in favour of Brexit,” says Mut.

In the case of UKIP case, Mut goes on to explain that the party's message was focused clearly on the threat of immigrants to the UK population. As a consequence, they chose a strategy that called for the strengthening of immigration policy.

In the No2EU coalition's case, the discourse centred around what the group considers a European project that is full of neo-liberal institutions that do not respect the social rights of British workers. No2EU's political remedy was to campaign for reinforcing the rights of British workers outside the strict framework of the European Union.

Despite sitting at opposite ends of the political spectrum, each group used a populist message that went down different paths but that led to the same destination.

Nigel Farage Former UKIP leader
“Any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door“
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