Politics and Policies of Rural Authenticity. Pavel Pospech, Elisabete Figueiredo, Eirik Magnus Fuglestad (eds). pp 27-41.

This chapter examines connections between Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016 and the earlier British countryside protests in the early 2000s. Revisiting data on rural protests and activists collected in the mid-2000s alongside analysis of the Brexit campaign, the chapter compares the framing of the two movements and the motivations of participants. It argues that whilst there are few direct connections between the two movements, there is resonance between the discursive framing of the rural protests and that of the Leave campaign, with both using populist tropes. Additionally, the attitudes and beliefs of rural activists in the 2000s reveal an emerging distrust of established politics that prefigured the disruptive moment of Brexit. As such, whilst the ‘politics of the rural’ does not explain Brexit, it provides insights into the willingness of rural voters to join broader populist or insurgent coalitions.