Christopher Little: “Populism and the British Far-Right: The Psycho-Discursive Construction of Tommy Robinson as Anti-Establishment, Working-Class ‘Hero’”

In Students by General Account

Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) has established himself as the dominant figure in Britain’s new and evolving far-right milieu. He describes himself as a right-wing activist and journalist battling censorship, the establishment, a biased media, far-left ideology, and the ‘Islamification of Britain’.

My project will use a psycho-discursive framework to analyse how mythology, storytelling, and a personalisation of politics enables Robinson to affectively convey the ideology of the far-right. It will critique the populist discourses that construct him as a working-class ‘Hero’ fighting to protect the rights and values of ordinary British citizens. The research will combine analysis of media texts with qualitative semi-structured interviews to investigate the historical, psychological, and socio-cultural complexities of this narrative. It will explore the challenges of attempting to inhibit Robinson and his politics of fear, and how these efforts can be inverted to undermine trust in the media, the legal system, free speech legislation, and progressive democracy.