My feeling on this is that a fair bit of the what, for want of a better phrase, I’ll call anti-establishment voting springs from the same root as the conspiracy theories; a desire for a simple problem with a simple answer. At the moment we’re in a world where we’ve got more change, more quickly, than perhaps at any other time in history*, coupled with a huge threat to global and individual survival in the form of climate change, coupled with new technologies which allow news to spread more quickly than ever before. The old adage, that a lie can fly round the world before the truth has got its boots on is doubly true right now; these days a lie can fly round the world business class with a stopover in Hong Kong for a bit of shopping before the truth has even woken up and checked its phone.
Similarly, the new technologies encourage the overwhelming idea that we are in huge and immediate danger, because of our tendency to pay more attention to things which we, or rather, our amygdalas, perceive as threats. We can’t do anything about this; it’s hard-wired into us, and while it was doubtless very helpful when we were roaming around the Rift Valley, it’s not so great when we’re surfing Facebook and Snapchat of an evening, or looking at the BBC website, or Sky News. We’re bombarded with news, we glom onto the bad stuff, because that’s what we do, and because of the nature of much of the media we consume, especially now there’s so much more choice, we get our preconceptions confirmed.
And thus we become more and more convinced that the world is scary, threatening and uncontrollable (which of course it is and always has been) and the more we search for something to make us feel better.
*although I’m aware that people always say that