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Legislating for Otherness: Proscription powers and parliamentary discourse

  • Lee Jarvis and Tim Legrand
Abstract

This article offers a discursive analysis of UK Parliamentary debate on the proscription of terrorist organisations between 2002 and 2014. It argues that these debates play an important constitutive role in the (re)production of national Self and terrorist Other that remains largely overlooked in existing work on this counter-terrorism mechanism. The article begins with an overview of this literature, arguing it is overwhelmingly oriented around questions of efficacy and ethics. While important, this focus has concentrated academic attention on the causal question of what proscription does, rather than the constitutive question of what is made possible by proscription. The article’s second section situates our analysis within discursive work in International Relations, upon which we investigate three pervasive themes in Parliamentary debate: (i) Constructions of terrorism and its threat; (ii) Constructions of specific groups being proscribed; and, (iii) Constructions of the UK Self. We argue that these debates (re)produce an antagonistic relationship between a liberal, open, and responsible UK mindful of cultural and religious difference, on the one hand. And, on the other, its illiberal, irrational terrorist Others conducting immoral violences on behalf of particularistic identity claims. This analysis, we conclude, has significance for contemporary debate on security politics, as well as for studies of counter-terrorism and international politics more generally.

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Earlier versions of this article were presented to the Critical Global Politics research group at the University of East Anglia; the School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast; and the 2015 annual conference of the British International Studies Association. The authors express their gratitude to all those who attended these events, the three anonymous reviewers of this article, and the editorial board for their helpful and constructive feedback. Any errors remain ours alone.

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1 See, for example, Gunning, Jeroen, ‘A case for critical terrorism studies?’, Government and Opposition, 42:3 (2007), pp. 363393.

2 Crelinsten, Ronald, Counterterrorism (Cambridge: Polity, 2009).

3 Crelinsten, Ronald, ‘Perspectives on counter-terrorism: From stovepipes to a comprehensive approach’, Perspectives on Terrorism, 8:1 (2014), pp. 215.

4 Schmid, Alex P., ‘Introduction’, in Alex P. Schmid (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research (Abingdon: Routledge, 2011), pp. 137 (pp. 29–32).

5 Jackson, Richard, Jarvis, Lee, Gunning, Jeroen, and Marie Breen Smyth, Terrorism: A Critical Introduction (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 225.

6 Banks, William C., de Nevers, Renée, and Wallerstein, Mitchel B., Combating Terrorism: Strategies and Approaches (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2008), p. 85.

7 Legrand, Tim and Jarvis, Lee, ‘Enemies of the state: Proscription powers and their use in the United Kingdom’, British Politics, 9:4 (2014), pp. 450471.

8 Legrand, Tim, ‘Banishing the enemies of all mankind: the effectiveness of proscribing terrorist organisations in Australia, Canada, The UK And US’, in Lee Jarvis and Michael Lister (eds), Critical Perspectives on Counter-Terrorism (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015), pp. 150168 (p. 151).

9 Lipscombe, Sally, ‘The Terrorism Act 2000: Proscribed Organisations’, in Library Standard Note SN/HA/00815 (House of Commons Library, Home Affairs Section: UK Parliament, 2014), p. 6.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Simon Hughes, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 883 (30 October 2002).

13 Epstein, Charlotte, ‘Who speaks? Discourse, the subject and the study of identity in international politics’, European Journal of International Relations, 17:2 (2011), pp. 327350.

14 Neal, Andrew W., ‘“Events dear boy, events”: Terrorism and security from the perspective of politics’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 5:1 (2012a), pp. 107120; Neal, Andrew W., ‘Terrorism, lawmaking, and democratic politics: Legislators as security actors’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 24:3 (2012b), pp. 357374; Neal, Andrew W., ‘Normalization and legislative exceptionalism: Counterterrorist lawmaking and the changing times of security emergencies’, International Political Sociology, 6:3 (2012c), pp. 260276; Fischer, Kathryn, ‘Spatial and temporal imaginaries in the securitisation of terrorism’, in Jarvis and Lister (eds), Critical Perspectives (2015), pp. 5676.

15 Neal, Andrew W., “Events dear boy”, p. 110.

16 These refer to the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and the Coalition government headed by the Conservative David Cameron.

17 These included the London bombings of 7 July 2005; the attempted attacks of 21 July 2005, also in London; a June 2007 attack at Glasgow International Airport; and the May 2013 killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London.

18 Most prominent amongst these were a thirteen-year military campaign in Afghanistan and a six-year campaign in Iraq.

19 Although, see Hocking, Jenny, ‘Counter-terrorism and the criminalisation of politics: Australia’s new security powers of detention, proscription and control’, Australian Journal of Politics & History, 49:3 (2003), pp. 355371; Legrand and Jarvis, ‘Enemies of the state’.

20 Silke, Andrew, ‘The road less travelled: Recent trends in terrorism research’, in Andrew Silke (ed.), Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures (Abingdon: Routledge, 2004), pp. 186213 (pp. 194–5).

21 See, for example, Douglas, Roger N., ‘Proscribing terrorist organisations: Legislation and practice in five English-speaking democracies’, Criminal Law Journal, 32:2 (2008), pp. 9099; Lynch, Andrew, McGarrity, Nicola, and Williams, George, ‘Lessons from the history of the proscription of terrorist and other organizations by the Australian Parliament’, Legal History, 13:1 (2009a), pp. 2554; Lynch, Andrew, McGarrity, Nicola, and Williams, George, ‘The proscription of terrorist organisations in Australia’, Federal Law Review, 37:1 (2009b), pp. 140; Roos, Oscar, Hayward, Benjamin, and Morss, John, ‘Beyond the separation of powers: Judicial review and the regulatory proscription of terrorist organisations’, University of Western Australia Law Review, 35:1 (2010), pp. 81118; Tham, Joo-Cheong, ‘Possible constitutional objections to the powers to ban terrorist organisations’, University of New South Wales Law Journal, 27:2 (2004), pp. 482523.

22 See, for example, Marques da Silva, Sofia and Murphy, Cian C., ‘Proscription of organisations in UK counter-terrorism law’, in Iain Cameron (ed.), EU Sanctions: Law and Policy Issues Concerning Restrictive Measures (Cambridge: Intersentia, 2013), pp. 199222; Muller, Mark, ‘Terrorism, proscription and the right to resist in the age of conflict’, Denning Law Journal, 20:1 (2008), pp. 111131; Sentas, Victoria, ‘Terrorist organisation offences and the LTTE: R v Vinayagamoorthy’, Current Issues Criminal Justice, 22:1 (2010), pp. 159169.

23 Shapiro, Julie B., ‘The politicization of the designation of foreign terrorist organizations: the effect on the separation of powers’, Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal, 6:1 (2007), pp. 547600.

24 As demonstrated further below, Parliamentarians are themselves not unaware or uninterested in these questions.

25 Cameron, Iain, ‘European Union anti-terrorist blacklisting’, Human Rights Law Review, 3:2 (2003), pp. 225256 (p. 237).

26 Sentas, ‘Terrorist organisation offences’, p. 16.

27 Douglas, , ‘Proscribing terrorist organisations’, p. 98; Finn, John, ‘Electoral regimes and the proscription of anti-democratic parties’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 12:3–4 (2000), pp. 5177 (p. 66); da Silva, Marques & Murphy, , ‘Proscription of organisations’, p. 13; Tham, , ‘Possible constitutional objections’, p. 491.

28 Pantazis, Christina and Pemberton, Simon, ‘From the “old” to the “new” suspect community examining the impacts of recent UK counter-terrorist legislation’, British Journal of Criminology, 49:5 (2009), pp. 646666 (p. 652); see also Sentas, , ‘Terrorist organisation offences’, p. 16.

29 Lynch et al., ‘Lessons’, p. 49.

30 Finn, , ‘Electoral regimes’, pp. 6566.

31 Douglas, , ‘Proscribing terrorist organisations’, p. 99.

32 Goldsmith, Andrew, ‘Preparation for terrorism: Catastrophic risk and precautionary criminal law’, in Andrew Lynch, Edwina MacDonald, and George Williams (eds), Law and Liberty and the War on Terror (Sydney: Federation Press, 2007), pp. 5974 (pp. 70–1); Hogg, Russell, ‘Executive proscription of terrorist organisations in Australia: Exploring the shifting border between crime and politics’, in Miriam Gani and Penelope Matthew (eds), Fresh Perspectives on the ‘War on Terror’ (Canberra: ANU E-Press, 2008), pp. 297326 (p. 304); Jarvis, Legrand and, ‘Enemies of the state’, p. 304; Lynch et al., ‘Lessons’, p. 34.

33 Muller, ‘Terrorism, proscription’, p. 129.

34 Pantazis and Pemberton, ‘“Old” to the “new”’; Sentas, ‘Terrorist organisation offences’.

35 Nadarajah, Suthaharan and Sriskandarajah, Dahnanjayan, ‘Liberation struggle or terrorism? The politics of naming the LTTE’, Third World Quarterly, 26:1 (2005), pp. 87100 (p. 99).

36 Finn, ‘Electoral regimes’, p. 66.

37 Muller, ‘Terrorism, proscription’, p. 128.

38 Hocking, Jenny, ‘Counter-terrorism and the criminalisation of politics: Australia’s new security powers of detention, proscription and control’, Australian Journal of Politics & History, 49:3 (2003), pp. 355371; Hogg, , ‘Executive proscription’, p. 312; Shapiro, ‘Politicization of the designation’.

39 Epstein, , ‘Who speaks?’, p. 329.

40 Ibid., citing Onuf, Nicholas, World of Our Making: Rules and Rule in Social Theory and International Relations (Abingdon, Routledge, 2012).

41 Epstein, ‘Who speaks?’, p. 344.

42 Torfing, Jacob, ‘Discourse theory: Achievements, arguments, and challenges’, in David Howarth and Jacob Torfing (eds), Discourse Theory in European Politics: Identity, Policy And Governance (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005), pp. 132 (p. 23).

43 For a recent account of different approaches to discourse within the field of International Relations, see Banta, Benjamin, ‘Analysing discourse as a causal mechanism’, European Journal of International Relations, 19:2 (2012), pp. 379402.

44 On the importance of Campbell’s contributions, see Mutimer, David Roger, ‘My critique is bigger than yours: Constituting exclusions in critical security studies’, Studies in Social Justice, 3:1 (2009), pp. 922; and, Peoples, Columba and Vaughan-Williams, Nick, Critical Security Studies: An Introduction (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), p. 68.

45 Campbell, David, Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity (rev. edn, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998b), p. 199.

46 Campbell, David, National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity, and Justice in Bosnia (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1998a), p. ix. See also Walker, R. B. J., Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

47 Salter, Mark, Barbarians & Civilization in International Relations (London: Pluto, 2002).

48 Doty, Roxanne Lynn, ‘Foreign policy as social construction: a post-positivist analysis of US counterinsurgency policy in the Philippines’, International Studies Quarterly, 37:3 (1993), pp. 297320.

49 Holland, Jack, ‘Foreign policy and political possibility’, European Journal of International Relations, 19:1 (2013), pp. 4968.

50 Jackson, Richard, Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics and Counter-Terrorism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005).

51 Solomon, Ty, ‘“I wasn’t angry, because I couldn’t believe it was happening”: Affect and discourse in responses to 9/11’, Review of International Studies, 38:4 (2012), pp. 907928 (p. 909).

52 Solomon, , ‘“I wasn’t angry”’, p. 909.

53 For a discussion of the openness of the field of International Relations for those working on issues of discourse, see Vucetic, Srdjan, ‘Genealogy as a research tool in International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 37:3 (2011), pp. 12951312 (p. 1312).

54 Andrew Dismore, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 886 (30 October 2002).

55 Silvia Hermon, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 893 (30 October 2002).

56 Tony McNulty, Hansard HC vol. 462, col. 1379 (10 July 2007).

57 Kris Hopkins, Hansard HC vol. 521, col. 971 (19 January 2011).

58 Patrick Mercer, Hansard HC vol. 566, col. 421 (10 July 2013).

59 Patrick Mercer, Hansard HC vol. 566, col. 461 (10 July 2013).

60 Alan Simpson, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 476 (13 October 2005).

61 Dominic Grieve, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 473 (13 October 2005).

62 This represents a recurrent theme within the academic literature on ‘new terrorism’, too. For an overview, see Peter Neumann, Old and New Terrorism (Cambridge: Polity, 2009).

63 Tony McNulty, Hansard HC vol. 449, col. 491 (20 July 2006).

64 Baroness Smith, Hansard HL vol. 747, col. 492 (11 July 2013).

65 Tony McNulty, Hansard HC vol. 479, col. 193 (15 July 2008).

66 Viscount Bridgeman, Hansard HL vol. 640, col. 254 (30 October 2002).

67 Patrick Mercer, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 481 (13 October 2005).

68 Geoffrey Filkin, Hansard HL vol. 640, col. 252 (30 October 2002).

69 David Ruffley, Hansard HC vol. 479, col. 196 (15 July 2008).

70 Keith Vaz, Hansard HC vol. 582, col. 1289 (19 June 2014).

71 Patrick Mercer, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 482 (13 October 2005).

72 Baroness Smith, Hansard HL vol. 754, col. 1015 (19 June 2014).

73 Keith Vaz, Hansard HC vol. 553, col. 766 (22 November 2012).

74 Baroness Smith, Hansard HL vol. 754, col. 1014 (19 June 2014).

75 Lord Filkin, Hansard HL vol. 640, col. 254 (30 October 2002).

76 James Brokenshire, Hansard HC vol. 566, col. 456 (10 July 2013).

77 James Brokenshire, Hansard HC vol. 582, col. 1284 (19 July 2014).

78 David Hanson, Hansard HC vol. 506, col. 1035 (4 March 2010).

79 Lord Filkin, Hansard HL vol. 640, col. 253 (30 October 2002).

80 Lord Bassam, Hansard HL vol. 674, cols 494 (13 October 2005).

81 Baroness Hawee, Hansard HL vol. 717, col. 1638 (4 March 2010).

82 Damian Green, Hansard HC vol. 521, col. 965 (19 January 2011).

83 Baroness Smith, Hansard HL vol. 740, col. 2022 (22 November 2012).

84 Richard Fuller, Hansard HC vol. 566, col. 456 (10 July 2013).

85 Lord Bassam, Hansard HL vol. 674, cols 495 (13 October 2005).

86 Tony McNulty, Hansard HC vol. 462, col. 1370 (10 July 2007).

87 James Brokenshire, Hansard HC vol. 566, col. 456 (10 July 2007).

88 David Blunkett, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 877 (30 October 2002).

89 David Hanson, Hansard HC vol. 506, col. 1036 (4 March 2010).

90 Baroness Neville-Jones, Hansard HL vol. 724, col. 605 (20 Jan 2011).

91 Alan Simpson, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 479 (13 October 2005).

92 Keith Vaz, Hansard HC vol. 506, col. 1040 (4 March 2010).

93 On this see Waldron, Jeremy, ‘Security and liberty: the image of balance’, Journal of Political Philosophy, 11:2 (2003), pp. 191210.

94 Crispin Blunt, Hansard HC vol. 506, col. 1041 (4 March 2010).

95 James Brokenshire, Hansard HC vol. 566, col. 466 (10 July 2013).

96 Keith Vaz, Hansard HC vol. 582, col. 1290 (19 June 2014).

97 Mark Field, Hansard HC vol. 572, cols 205–6 (10 December 2013).

98 David Blunkett, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 895 (30 October 2002).

99 David Blunkett, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 877 (30 October 2002).

100 Hazel Blears, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 468 (13 October 2005).

101 David Hanson, Hansard HC vol. 506, col. 1050 (4 March 2010).

102 James Brokenshire, Hansard HC vol. 566, col. 456 (10 July 2007).

103 Tony McNulty, Hansard HC vol. 478, cols 98–100 (23 June 2008).

104 David Blunkett, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 895 (30 October 2002).

105 Lord Bassam, Hansard HL vol. 674, col. 491 (13 October 2005).

106 David Hanson, Hansard HC vol. 506, col. 1050 (4 March 2010).

107 Baroness Smith, Hansard HL vol. 754, col. 1013 (19 June 2014).

108 David Blunkett, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 875 (30 October 2002).

109 Keith Vaz, Hansard HC vol. 547, col. 1024 (4 July 2012).

110 Baroness Hawee, Hansard HL vol. 717, col. 1638 (4 March 2010).

111 As one reviewer helpfully noted, there are potential connections here between our own analysis and work on ‘image theory’ within International Relations. On image theory, see, for example, Alexander, Michele G., Levin, Shana, and Henry, P. J., ‘Image theory, social identity, and social dominance: Structural characteristics and individual motives underlying international images’, Political Psychology, 26:1 (2005), pp. 2745. For a discussion of the connections between ‘image theory’ and constructivism, see Palan, Ronen, ‘A world of their making: an evaluation of the constructivist critique in International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 26:4 (2000), pp. 575598.

112 Tony McNulty, Hansard HC vol. 449, col. 491 (20 July 2006).

113 Andrew Dismore, Hansard HC vol. 449, col. 499 (20 July 2006).

114 Lord Bassam, Hansard HL vol. 674, cols 494 (13 October 2005).

115 See, amongst others, Croft, Stuart, Culture, Crisis and America’s War on Terror (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Hoskins, Andrew and O’Loughlin, Ben, Television and Terror: Conflicting Times and the Crisis of News Discourse (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009); Jarvis, Lee, Times of Terror: Discourse, Temporality and the War on Terror (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009); Spencer, Alexander, The Tabloid Terrorist: The Predicative Construction of New Terrorism in the Media (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010); Holland, Jack, Selling the War on Terror: Foreign Policy Discourses After 9/11 (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012).

116 Lord Corbett, Hansard HL vol. 702, col. 1306 (23 June 2008).

117 Lord Wallace, Hansard HL vol. 703, col. 1350 (17 July 2008).

118 John McDonnell, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 474 (13 October 2005).

119 Lord Wallace, Hansard HL vol. 703, col. 1350 (17 July 2008).

120 Douglas Hogg, Hansard HC vol. 391, col. 888 (30 October 2002).

121 Alan Simpson, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 477 (13 October 2005).

122 Keith Vaz, Hansard HC vol. 479, col. 204 (15 July 2008).

123 Alistair Carmichael, Hansard HC vol. 437, col. 476 (13 October 2005).

124 Campbell, ‘Writing security’, p. 9.

125 Huysmans, Jef and Buonfino, Alessandro, ‘Politics of exception and unease: Immigration, asylum and terrorism in Parliamentary debates in the UK’, Political Studies, 56:4 (2008), pp. 766788 (p. 767).

126 As the above discussion illustrates, the ‘we’ in this story is not fixed, referring variously to the British state, society, or the UK Parliament. We are grateful to one of the anonymous reviewers for clarifying this point.

127 See, for example, C.A.S.E. Collective, ‘Critical Approaches to Security in Europe: a networked manifesto’, Security Dialogue, 37:4 (2006), pp. 443–87 (pp. 457–8).

128 Neal, Andrew, ‘Legislative practices’, in Mark B. Salter and Can E. Mutlu (eds), Research Methods in Critical Security Studies: An Introduction (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013), pp. 125128 (p. 126).

129 Neal, ‘“Events dear boy”’; Neal, ‘Terrorism, lawmaking’; and Neal ‘Normalization’. See also Huysmans, Jef, The Politics of Insecurity: Fear, Migration and Asylum in the EU (Abingdon: Routledge, 2006).

130 Roe, Paul, ‘Securitization and minority rights: Conditions of desecuritization’, Security Dialogue, 35:3 (2004), pp. 279294 (pp. 285–7).

131 Neal, ‘Legislative practices’, pp. 125–6.

132 The Australian state of Queensland, for example, has recently enacted legislation outlawing membership of specified motorcycle gangs. The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013 targets so-called ‘Bikie gangs’ specifically and criminal organisations generally with the introduction of a suite of criminal offences targeted at members of such organisations, described as ‘vicious lawless associates’. Amongst other provisions, the Act includes a prohibition on three or more associates meeting in public; and mandatory sentences of 15 or 25 years for crimes committed as part of gang activities.

133 As one anonymous reviewer noted, much work also remains to be done in opening these ‘in-house’ debates to non-academic audiences. For a recent engagement with similar themes, see Fitzgerald, James, ‘Why me? An autoethnographic account of the bizarre logic of counterterrorism’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 8:1 (2015), pp. 163180.

* Earlier versions of this article were presented to the Critical Global Politics research group at the University of East Anglia; the School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast; and the 2015 annual conference of the British International Studies Association. The authors express their gratitude to all those who attended these events, the three anonymous reviewers of this article, and the editorial board for their helpful and constructive feedback. Any errors remain ours alone.

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Review of International Studies
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