Identity and Security Narratives in Contemporary Britain

  • Julian Richards


This chapter takes the principles developed in previous chapters concerning identity theory, political myth and discourse analysis, and applies them to three indicative case studies. These comprise: an official narrative about “multiculturalism” delivered by the former British Prime Minister, David Cameron; a critical Islamist narrative in the shape of a response to Cameron’s speech by Hizb-ut Tahrir; and a “Far Right” perspective represented by a statement by the English Defence League (EDL) about inter-community relations in contemporary Britain. All of these narratives to differing degrees display the use of language in weaving an identity politics, and the conscious development of political myth.


Security Narrative English Defence League (EDL) Toxic Brand Extreme Counts Muscular Liberalism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aly RMK (2015) Becoming Arab in London. London, Pluto PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Arendt H (1950) The Aftermath of Nazi Rule: Report from Germany. Commentary (October 1950): 342–53Google Scholar
  3. BBC (2011) Updated anti-extremism strategy published. Accessed 6 October 2016
  4. Cameron D (2015) PM speech on extremism. Accessed 11 October 2016
  5. Croft S (2012) Securitizing Islam: Identity and the Search for Security. Cambridge, Cambridge University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Daily Mail (2016) Enemies of the people: Fury over “out of touch” judges who have “declared war on democracy” by defying 17.4 million Brexit voters and who could trigger constitutional crisis. Accessed 21 December 2016
  7. Economist (2016) Islam in Europe: Perception and Reality. Accessed 21 October 2016
  8. EDL (2016) Media announcement: English Defence League Nottingham demo 6 August 2016. Accessed 15 October 2016
  9. Europol (2014) TE-SAT 2014: European Union Situation and Trend Report. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  10. Europol (2016) TE-SAT 2016: European Union Situation and Trend Report. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  11. Fairclough N (2001) Language and Power. Harlow, Pearson EducationGoogle Scholar
  12. Foucault M (1972) The Archaeology of Knowledge. London, RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Gani A (2015) Muslim population in England and Wales nearly doubles in 10 years. The Guardian. Accessed 21 October 2016
  14. Helm T, Taylor M and Davis R (2011) David Cameron sparks fury from critics who say attack on multiculturalism has boosted English Defence League. The Guardian. Accessed 16 September 2011
  15. Hirsch A (2015) Why has Prevent Policy been branded “Toxic”? Sky News. Accessed 6 October 2016
  16. HM Government (2016) Counter-extremism policy: an overview. Accessed 11 October 2016
  17. HUT (2015a) ‘Prevent’ is not just a toxic brand, it is a toxic agenda that needs challenging. Accessed 6 October 2016
  18. HUT (2015b) Cameron announces another nail in the coffin of “British freedoms” calling them “counter-extremism measures”! Accessed 11 October 2016
  19. John P and Margetts H (2009) The Latent Support for the Extreme Right in British Politics. West European Politics 32(3): 496–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kahneman D (2011) Thinking Fast and Slow. London, PenguinGoogle Scholar
  21. Knefel J (2013) Everything you’ve been told about radicalization is wrong. Rolling Stone. Accessed 11 October 2016
  22. Kundnani A (2009) Spooked! How not to Prevent Violent Extremism. London, Institute of Race RelationsGoogle Scholar
  23. Leibovich M (2016) Anatomy of a Media Conspiracy. New York Times Magazine. Accessed 20 October 2016
  24. López IH (2015) Dog Whistle Politics: How Code Racist Appeals have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. Oxford, Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  25. Migration Observatory (2016) Migrants in the UK: An Overview. Accessed 20 October 2016
  26. Nidditch PH (1975) The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Oxford, Clarendon PressGoogle Scholar
  27. (2011) PM’s speech at Munich Security Conference. Accessed 16 September 2011
  28. Pai H-H (2015) The English Defence League and the new far-right. Open Democracy. Accessed 11 October 2016
  29. Rattansi A (2011) Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, Oxford University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Richards J (2010) Evaluation of the Aylesbury Vale Prevent Programme and Research into Local Muslim Communities. Buckingham, University of BuckinghamGoogle Scholar
  31. Schmid A (1988) Political Terrorism: A Research Guide to Concepts, Data Bases and Literature. Amsterdam, SWIDOCGoogle Scholar
  32. Simon B, Reichert F and Grabow O (2013) When Dual Identity Becomes a Liability: Identity and Political Radicalism Among Migrants. Psychological Science 24(3): 251–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Smith A (1991) National Identity. Reno, University of Nevada PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian Richards
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BuckinghamBuckinghamUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations