"Populists are actually Democrats!" : A Content Analysis of Interviews and Speeches Given by Nigel Farage Against the Backdrop of Populism and Euroscepticism
Abstract: Abstract With Europe and the EU facing a time of constant political changes and financial crisis in to the Eurozone, the rise of phenomena like Euroscepticism and Populism are more topical than ever. Through the use of populist rhetoric, Eurosceptic parties, such as the British UK Independence Party (UKIP), are gaining support across Europe and have proven their influence on the European political stage. Claiming to speak in the name of the ‘common’ people, UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage regards himself as their representative in a quest to defend democracy, the peoples’ and the British nation states’ interests against the ‘dangerous’ supranational institution and political elite. Farage and UKIP argue against the regulations coming from ‘unelected bureaucrats’ in Brussels and proclaim their main political agenda, favouring the UK’s eventual withdrawal from the EU. The use of wellchosen, cunning populist rhetoric along with the targeting of EU’s supranational institutions and Mr. Barroso and Mr. van Rompuy as ‘Bully-boys’ has proven successful for Farage and UKIP. An examination of speeches and interviews by Farage lays open his implemented populist rhetoric tools and sheds light on the main targets of his criticism, the EU’s institutions and the European political elite. The aim of this thesis is to meticulously single those out and interpret how and why he criticises them. By applying an encompassing quantitative as well as qualitative method of content analysis, twenty-nine of Farage’s speeches and interviews are scrutinised against the backdrop of populism, populist rhetoric and Euroscepticism. Through frequent simplifications of complex issues and a reoccurring lack of substantial arguments, however, his credibility occasionally happens to be negatively affected. Farage does not provide a fundamentally solid plan for the UK’s and UKIP’s future, in case of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
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