Migration has been an integral part of public discourse in the United Kingdom over the last few decades, with prominent roles in media and politics over this time. Understanding how the public attitude and discourse around migration has connected with electoral politics is important to understanding both how migration has evolved in the UK, and how electoral politics have progressed and evolved since 2005. This study will illustrate how public discourse around politics has evolved since 2005, and how this connects to national elections and referendums in that time – both in how elections have influenced public opinion, and how public opinion has influenced election results. The rising trend in populist, anti-migrant politics in elections were driven by a public appetite for change and culminated in a 2016 referendum result which channelled those anti-migrant sentiments, leading to a reduction and polarisation of interest thereafter. However, these changes in public appetite were also obviously driven by the increased relevance of anti-establishment parties, produced by their improved electoral standing. The relationship between these two dynamics is important to understanding how political events and election results came to be in the last 15 years, and this study can hopefully help to draw conclusions from this to inform future political decision making and change future public discourse on similar issues.
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