Publication Details

Rix, M., Johns, N. & Green, A. (2013). Reasserting freedom? Response to the prevent agenda by the UK coalition government. Journal of Social Research and Policy, 4 (1), 65-76.

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Journal of Social Research and Policy


In the UK the New Labour government under Tony Blair bought into the 'War on Terror' declared by George Bush Junior in 2001 the consequences for the general public was a significant loss of civil liberties that was supposedly justified by the enhanced degree of risk. In opposition the Conservatives argued that this loss was unacceptable and that on a sliding scale of freedom and security, freedom should always take priority as the fundamental political principle. In power from 2010 alongside their Liberal Democrat partners, they sought to return what had been lost, and to rebalance the scales. One of the central means of achieving this has been to increase surveillance rather than employ more direct alternatives. This essay aims to evaluate in theory and practice how effective this attempt has been. Is the UK now both safer and freer?

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