For David Cameron and 'Big Society' Tories, folk culture means organic food, nu-folk pop music, and pastoral myths of Englishness. Meanwhile, postmodern liberal culture teaches us that talking about a singular 'folk' is reductive at best, neo-fascist at worst. But what is being held in check by this consensus against the possibility of a unified, oppositional, populist identity taking root in modern Britain? Folk Opposition explores a renewed contemporary divide between rulers and ruled, between a powerful elite and a disempowered populace. Using a series of examples, from folk music to football supporters' trusts, from Raoul Moat to Ridley Scott, it argues that anti-establishment populism remains a powerful force in British culture, asserting that the left must recapture this cultural territory from the far right and begin to rebuild democratic representation from the bottom up.
Alex Niven is a writer from the north-east of England. He blogs at thefantastichope.blogspot.com.