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The Revolt Against Uncertainty

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Part of the Crime Prevention and Security Management book series (CPSM)


But there were to be long-term consequences. The ravages and great cracks the neo-liberal mode of governance had caused to the social fabric had to be patched over if it was to be able to sustain itself. To this end, the security sanction had been able to perform this function, to a degree at least. But to allow this to happen, expert knowledge had to give way to populist common sense: ideas of safety and security and how these might be protected were likely to be based on newspaper headlines, angry voices on talkback radio and law and order lobbyists “full of sound and fury” (although usually “signifying nothing”) rather than considered social scientific inquiry. Nonetheless, as restructuring continued, the dam provided by the security sanction kept filling. Filling and filling. Filling continuously as social divisions widened still further, filling as tensions, uncertainties and anxieties caused by these divisions continued to increase. Filling and Filling. Eventually the dam proved insufficient to contain all this venom, toxicity and hostility. It started to overflow, spreading right across the social body, polluting and infecting all in its way. Those governments, especially those that had moved furthest down the track of restructuring and where levels of trust in the central state were also in sharp decline, found that the provisions of the security sanction were no longer sufficient to provide a level of social cohesion that would then allow restructuring to continue unchecked.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-48872-7_8
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  1. 1.

    An average of surveys in the US shows a decline of trust in federal government from forty-three per cent in 2003 to a mere ten per cent in 2017. In the UK, trust in government fell from thirty-eight per cent in 1986 to seventeen per cent in 2014 (Simpson and Phillips 2015). In Australia, trust fell from forty-three per cent in 2007 to twenty-six per cent in 2016. However, in recent years, trust in central government in Canada and New Zealand has actually increased. In the former, it reached forty-four per cent of those surveyed in April 2016, the highest level in 1990, and compared to thirty per cent in 2015 (when Stephen Harper’s right-wing Conservative government was in power), and a low of twenty-two per cent in 2014 (Connolly 2016). In the latter, fifty-nine per cent of those surveyed said they trusted Government “to deal successfully with national problems,” up from forty-seven per cent in 2016; in addition, sixty-five per cent agreed that they trusted government “to do what is right for New Zealand” (forty-eight per cent in 2016)—a reflection perhaps of the popularity of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as much as anything else (see New Zealand Herald 2018).

  2. 2.

    According to the 2018 New Zealand Census, twenty-eight per cent of the Auckland regions population is Asian and twelve per cent is Maori. In regards the total New Zealand population, fifteen per cent is Asian and seventeen per cent is Maori (Statistics New Zealand n.d.).

  3. 3.

    Rob Ford, for example, Mayor of Toronto 2010–2014, referred to himself as “the most racist guy around” in 2014. The Conservative Premier Stephen Harper stated in 2011 that “Islamicism poses the greatest threat to Canada’s national security.” However the People’s Party of Canada is the only one that campaigns specifically on an anti-immigration platform. Its website claims that it represents “a coalition of people who are disenchanted with traditional politicians who say one thing one day, and another the next.” For them, immigration must be more limited, with restrictions on family members, as well as more straightforward deportation mechanisms. But in the 2019 federal election, it received just 1.6 per cent of the popular vote and has no representatives in the federal parliament.

  4. 4.

    Prime Minister David Cameron speaking during Question Time in the House of Commons in November 2010 (UK Parliamentary Debates 2010, col. 921).

  5. 5.

    That is, the Affordable Care Act 2010. In general terms, everyone would be required to health insurance or pay a tax penalty. In this way, the amount of uncompensated health care the average US family pays would be reduced.

  6. 6.

    In contrast, journalist Adam Serwer (2019) describes the very different conditions that observers found: “the children at a facility in … Texas were sleeping on concrete floors and being denied soap and toothpaste. … A visiting doctor called the detention centres ‘torture facilities’ … at a processing center in El Paso, 900 migrants were ‘being held at a facility designed for 125. In some cases, cells designed for 35 people were holding 155.’”


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Correspondence to John Pratt .

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Pratt, J. (2020). The Revolt Against Uncertainty. In: Law, Insecurity and Risk Control. Crime Prevention and Security Management. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-48871-0

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