Enemies of the People. A Multimodal Critical Analysis of Populism, the Popular Press and the Judiciary in Post-Brexit Britain

Michael S. Boyd


The article provides an in-depth critical analysis of an article published by the UK mid-market press newspaper the Daily Mail criticizing the role of High Court judges for ruling that Parliamentary approval was necessary to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and formally leave the EU. It argues that the article and the newspaper itself can be considered populist through the discourse strategies that they adopt to represent the pro-Brexit voters and public positively and negatively the three judges involved in the High Court decision. The investigation is based on a fine-tuned multimodal analysis of the newspaper report and demonstrates that textual means are combined with visual means to denigrate the three judges responsible for the decision but further expanded to the entire judiciary and pro-Remain supporters and to legitimize the voice of the “people” of the Daily Mail or those 17.4 million Britons who voted to leave the UK in the referendum of June 2016.


populism; Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA); Multimodality; popular press; Brexit

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/2281-4582/2020.i15.720


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