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Since the United Kingdom’s referendum on European Union (EU) membership in 2016, a new political cleavage of Remainers and Leavers has developed (Kelley, N. . British social attitudes survey: Britain’s shifting identities and attitudes. (36). National Centre for Research). This paper explores how five pro-Brexit newspapers discursively construct political division in Britain in relation to two key events in the final year of Britain’s EU membership: the extension of the withdrawal process past the original date of March, and the introduction of the Benn Act in September. The paper reveals two primary discursive constructions of division in Britain: a divide between incompetent and arrogant political officials and an innocent, suffering public, and an identity cleavage between pro-Remain ‘elites’ and ‘ordinary’ Leave-voting citizens. The study argues that the construction of these divisions threatens a collective national identity in Britain at a time when it is most required. It concludes that by apportioning blame for socio-political divisions, the newspapers obfuscate their role in contributing to disunity in the UK.
Parnell, T. (2021). Humiliating and dividing the nation in the British pro-Brexit press: a corpus-assisted analysis. Critical Discourse Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2021.1983446