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Dangerous PoliticsRisk, Political Vulnerability, and Penal Policy$
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Harry Annison

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728603

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728603.001.0001

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The Third Way, the Public Voice, and Political Vulnerability

(p.30) 2 Origins
Dangerous Politics

Harry Annison

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers why dangerous offenders were considered to be a pressing issue by the New Labour government at the turn of the century. It argues that there existed three central drivers for the sustained focus on a small number of violent, predatory individuals: widespread recognition among politicians, policymakers, and practitioners that a perennial ‘real problem’ existed; policymakers considered that developments in risk assessment meant that selective incapacitation of ‘the dangerous’ was entirely feasible; the salience of the dangerous offender problem was heightened by the dominant Third Way political ideology and the promotion of the ‘ontological security’ of citizens that was at its core. In conclusion it is argued that the IPP’s creation makes clear that, for policymakers, the ‘rules of the game’ had changed, due to the rise of the public voice. Key political actors are seen to demonstrate an acute vulnerability to the ‘public voice’, notwithstanding its intangibility.

Keywords:   risk, Third Way, political ideology, dangerous offenders, public voice, Labour, populism

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