It’s time to rethink the way we use terms such as ethnicity, identity, culture and race
Whatever one makes of Brexit and the recent success of Mr Trump – including how similar or dissimilar they are – the two phenomena appear to indicate a growing sense of uncertainty among people who feel they may no longer have a place of value in society. Those who feel that somehow they have been ‘left behind’.
The rise of rightwing politics and discourse is also noticeable in the backdrop, including those on the far and extreme right. The Danish Freedom party (DFP), the Front National in France and the UK Independence party (Ukip) all seem to have a greater influence than was anticipated. Along with their sense of populism (plain-speaking, anti-elite, anti-establishment discourse) and nativism, a common feature seems to be a strong scepticism, if not dislike, of ‘Muslims’.
Far-right parties portray themselves as representing the ‘man on the street’ against the elite, who have ‘betrayed the nation’ by opening its borders. This is not just about a voter base that should be dismissed as racist, or, in reality, even rightwing (a significant element of the far-right success lies in attracting votes from the left and centre). They are often from working-class backgrounds, but bolstered by educated middle-class voters who now seem to be joining ranks, perhaps driven less by economic pressures and more by an instinct to preserve national identity or out of fear of losing some of the values they deem threatened….