New Labour, New Britain: A Critical Analysis of Rhetoric, Securitization, and Politicization of Immigration

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McCrary, Kayla
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Middle Tennessee State University
Throughout the last decade, the United Kingdom has undergone significant political, social, and cultural changes. In the last few years, British politics has become increasingly divided, with the 2016 membership of the European Union referendum revealing deep chasms within the electorate, social classes, and political ideologies. One common theme throughout British politics and history has been the notion of identity and belonging. Immigration to Britain has consistently ranked as a top issue and priority. This contradiction is inherent to the “cold feet” position argued by this thesis. This thesis utilizes the securitization theory to analyze the impacts of rhetoric, political communication, and policy implications of immigration. An overview of a timeline of British history of key moments of immigration legislation reveals a pattern of restrictive measures, as well as some points of welcoming and openness. This overview leads to a case study analysis of the New Labour administration under Prime Minster Tony Blair, which oversaw significant transformative changes to the British immigration system and the multiculturalism of the country. This analysis covers a profile of New Labour and key important legislation. Following this, a chapter dedicated the securitization of immigration under New Labour shows that there are multiple actors involved in the process: the New Labour government, the British media, and the unelected political groups or figures such as fringe single issue anti-immigrant parties. Attention is given to the role of politicization and criminalization of immigration under New Labour, as well as the influences of the age of globalization and War on Terror on immigration policies.
International relations, European studies