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The Legacy of ThatcherismAssessing and Exploring Thatcherite Social and Economic Policies$
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Stephen Farrall and Colin Hay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265703

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265703.001.0001

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Thatcherism and Crime: The Beast That Never Roared?

Thatcherism and Crime: The Beast That Never Roared?

(p.207) 7 Thatcherism and Crime: The Beast That Never Roared?
The Legacy of Thatcherism

Stephen Farrall

Will Jennings

British Academy

This chapter explores the Thatcherite legacy for crime and the criminal justice system. We argue that, despite much of Thatcher’s rhetoric on ‘law and order’, most criminal justice activity during her period in office was essentially liberal (that is, progressive) in nature. Nevertheless, the social and economic policies pursued in the early to mid-1980s were, we argue, associated with rises in the crime rate, which in turn shifted public attitudes towards crime and the treatment of offenders. Coupled with the Labour party’s shift rightwards from the early 1990s and Blair’s focus on crime as a topic Labour ‘owned’ meant that both the Conservative and Labour parties were engaged in a crime ‘arms race’ towards policies which were in tune with the Thatcherite instinct on crime.

Keywords:   Crime, law and order, time series, public policy, spill-over effects

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