This chapter deals with the response of populist actors in the UK to the COVID-19 pandemic. Populism in the UK is divided among Nigel Farage and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Farage and Johnson, both campaigning for Britain to leave the EU, had distinct responses to the pandemic, the former being more in line with common themes of populist discourse. True to his anti-immigrant stance, Farage antagonized national and international agencies for allegedly smuggling migrants into the UK, blamed China for the pandemic and echoed the US president Trump’s trade war in calling for a boycott on Chinese goods. Farage criticized government lockdown and social distancing measures for allegedly being too harsh. In doing so, Farage employed common far-right conspiracist tropes and populist rhetoric aimed at UK politicians, the EU and China. Johnson, on the other hand, displayed a rather measured response and did not engage in antagonizing political entities.
|Title of host publication||Populism and the Politicization of the COVID-19 Crisis in Europe|
|Editors||Giuliano Bobba, Nicolas Hube|
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|