Author: Gearoid Murphy

Pundits are Blind to the Grassroots of Political Change

Last month, in Al Jazeera, Alasdair Soussi wrote about the rise of the “celebrity politician” honing in on the phenomenon of Nigel Farage. Soussi wrote that Farage “took the British political scene by storm” and within just two years had “fulfilled his ultimate ambition” by convincing the British people to vote Leave in the EU Referendum. While Farage is a celebrity now, this is the fundamental misunderstanding of what happened last year. Pundits such as Soussi continue to reduce politics to caricatures while ignoring grassroots political change. On the 4th of July last year, in the wake of the Brexit result, when Nigel Farage announced that he was retiring from UKIP he indicated that his retirement was for personal reasons, but also because he had achieved what he had gone into politics for in the first place. Straight away, newspapers and social media commentary ran with the narrative of a rat fleeing a sinking ship. He supposedly attempted to cook a daring meal and wandered off once the kitchen caught fire. The same was said …