Sunday, 12 May 2019

Brexit: and conspiracy theories

"Are we living in a ‘golden age’ of political conspiracy theories?"
BBC Radio 4 - Analysis, Conspiracy Politics 

Certainly, these have largely become normalised:
BBC Radio 4 - Analysis, The War for Normal
Futures Forum: How the political fringes became part of the mainstream

This week, Laurie Taylor on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed also took a look at the conspiracy theory: 

Conspiracy theories

Thinking Allowed

Conspiracy theories: 
Laurie Taylor talks to Thomas Konda, Professor of Political Science at SUNY, Plattsburgh, about the history and changing nature of conspiracy theories. Why have such wild theories overrun America?

Also, Hugo Leal, Methods Fellow at the University of Cambridge discusses the most comprehensive examination of conspiracy theories ever conducted. About 11,500 people were surveyed in a study covered nine countries - the US, Britain (excluding Northern Ireland), Poland, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and Hungary. 

The research found that Trump and Brexit voters were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories than others.

Thomas Milan Konda is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at SUNY Plattsburgh
Hugo Leal at the Cambridge Digital Humanities

Conspiracies of Conspiracies - How Delusions Have Overrun America by Thomas Milan Konda, (University of Chicago Press, 2019)
Conspiracy and Democracy Project at CRASSH, Cambridge

Thinking Allowed - Conspiracy theories - BBC Sounds
BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, Conspiracy theories

Here's the perspective from the US:
Conspiracies of Conspiracies: How Delusions Have Overrun America, Konda

Conspiracies of Conspiracies: How Delusions Have Overrun America, by Thomas Milan Konda | Times Higher Education (THE)

And from the UK:
Conspiracy & Democracy – CRASSH
Is technology killing democracy? - Cambridge Wireless
Britain is becoming a land of conspiracy theorists - Bagehot

And beyond:
Une enquête d’opinion YouGov montre que le complotisme a cessé d’être un phénomène marginal | Conspiracy Watch
Conspiracy Theories, Brexit, and the Nature of the Present Crisis - Sebastian Schindler - European Consortium for Political Research

And one of the most powerful conspiracy theories of our day centres around Brexit: 

Brexit and Trump voters more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, survey shows

Findings suggest that a large number of people across the surveyed countries think their governments are “hiding the truth” about immigration. In particular, researchers found that Brexit and Trump voters are significantly more likely to believe in this and a wide range of other conspiracy theories – including that “Muslim immigration to this country is part of a bigger plan to make Muslims a majority”, that “man-made global warming is a hoax”, and that “the truth about the harmful effects of vaccines is being deliberately hidden from the public”.

Brexit and Trump voters more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, survey shows – CRASSH

And indeed, this has been widely covered:
Third of Brexit voters believe Muslim immigration is part of a secret plot to Islamicise Britain, study suggests | The Independent
Brexit and Trump voters are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories | YouGov

But there have been other studies:
Populism and the internet – a toxic mix shaping the age of conspiracy theories | John Naughton | Opinion | The Guardian
Did conspiracy theories influence the Brexit vote? - UK in a changing EuropeUK in a changing Europe

Of course, a conspiracy theory needs believers:
Shocked as I am to say it, there does appear to be an establishment conspiracy against Brexit | BrexitCentral
Brexit CONSPIRACY: Brexiteer claims MPs 'DELIBERATELY' sabotaged Brexit to FOOL public | UK | News | Express.co.uk

And now the leader of the new Brexit Party has had a bit of explaining to do:

Nigel Farage denies being conspiracy theorist after far-right talkshow appearances

Brexit party leader distances himself from Alex Jones, host of Infowars website

Rowena Mason Deputy political editor
Wed 8 May 2019

Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader, has insisted he is not a conspiracy theorist after he repeatedly appeared on a far-right US talkshow and openly discussed ideas about a “new world order” linked to antisemitic tropes.

The former Ukip leader distanced himself from Alex Jones, the host of the Infowars website, and claimed his appearances on the programme were infrequent, despite a Guardian investigation finding he gave interviews at least six times on the show.

Nigel Farage denies being conspiracy theorist after far-right talkshow appearances | Politics | The Guardian
Alex Jones is a dangerous conspiracy theorist. Does Nigel Farage really share his views? | The Independent

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