Accounting for the dominance of control: Inter-party dynamics and restrictive asylum policy in contemporary Britain

Squire, Vicki (2008). Accounting for the dominance of control: Inter-party dynamics and restrictive asylum policy in contemporary Britain. British Politics, 3(2) pp. 241–261.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/bp.2008.4

URL: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/bp/journal/v3/n2/...

Abstract

This paper charts the development of restrictive asylum policy since New Labour came into power in 1997, and assesses party political responses to asylum during this period. It considers how far a discourse of control has become dominant across the political spectrum over recent years, and develops an account of the flourishing of restrictive asylum policy in contemporary Britain. In so doing, the paper challenges conventional interpretations that perceive restrictive policies to be a direct result of rising numbers of asylum applications and 'abuse' of the asylum system. It also challenges interpretations that perceive restrictive policies to result directly from popular pressures to intensify controls. Instead, the paper argues that restrictive policy is conditioned by inter-party dynamics, which need to be understood in relation to a wider discourse of control. This discourse of control, the paper suggests, has become increasingly dominant both in political and also in public or popular discourse, and is evident both at the domestic as well as the European levels.

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