Part or chapter of a book
From the 'Neurotic' to the 'Rationalising' State: Risk and the Limits of Governance
Forecasting, Warning and Responding to Transnational Risks
Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan
187 - 208 p.
World Trade Organisation, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy , Acceptable Risk , Policy Domain, Risk Governance
During New Labour’s third term in office in the UK, risk-based regulation and management came to form a major plank of public policy. In 2005, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair argued in a well-publicised speech that there was enormous pressure on decision-makers ‘to act to eliminate risk in a way that is out of all proportion to the potential damage’ and called for a ‘sensible debate about risk in public policymaking’ (Blair, 2005). ‘Something is seriously awry’, he argued, where ‘…health and safety rules across a range of areas is taken to extremes’, and when the Financial Services Authority is ‘seen as hugely inhibiting of efficient business by perfectly respectable companies that have never defrauded anyone’. Arguing that we need to ‘replace the compensation culture with a common-sense culture’, the prime minister committed the government to ensuring regulatory action is ‘risk based’ to help ensure that creativity in the private and public sectors is not stifled by overly risk-averse cultures.