Investigating the 2016 EU Referendum in the UK, The Language of Brexit explores the ways in which `Brexit' campaigners utilised language more persuasively than their `Remain' counterparts. Drawing parallels with effective political discourse used worldwide, this book highlights the linguistic features of an increasingly popular style of political campaigning.
Concentrating on the highly successful and emotive linguistic strategies employed by the Brexit campaigners against the comparatively lacklustre Remain camp, Buckledee makes a case for the contribution of language towards the narrow 52-48% Brexit victory. Using primary examples, what emerges is how urging people to have the courage to make a bid for freedom naturally invokes more grandiloquent language, powerful metaphors and rousing partisan tone than a campaign which, on balance, argues that it's best to simply stick with the status quo.
Examining the huge amount of discourse generated before, during and since the June 2016 EU Referendum, The Language of Brexit looks into the role language played in the democratic process and the influence and impact it had on electors, leading to an unexpected result and uncertain future.
Steve Buckledee is a Researcher/Lecturer in English language and linguistics at the University of Cagliari, Italy.
Introduction 1. "The EU isn't much cop but...": Remain supporters' use of coordinative constructions 2. Hedging and modality versus strident claims and apparent absence of doubt 3. More to imperatives than meets the eye 4. Inclusive we, the former City broker as champion of the common man, and good old Bojo: how the pro-Brexit press created the illusion of a classless alliance 5. Democracy myths and facts: a double defeat for David Cameron 6. "Free": a little word that did a big job for Brexit 7. Nominalization, presupposition and naturalization 8. The language of racism lite, and not so lite 9. Comparison with the Scottish independence referendum of 2014: how Project Fear worked in 2014 but not in 2016 10. Leave's appointment with history and Remain's another day at the office 11. Little Englanders or reaching out to the world beyond Europe? Comparison with the 1975 referendum on remaining a member of the European Economic Community 12. From "Up Yours Delors" (1990) to "Stick it up your Juncker" (2016). Was it The Sun what done it once again? 13. Dirty Tricks: lies, personal attacks and 'the Queen supports UKIP' 14. The Day After: How could this happen? 15. The issue that would not go away: the General Election of 2017 Epilogue Bibliography