The study of terrorism and security rarely includes the politics of politicians. This is surprising, because we know that politicians like to appear tough on terror, which surely means something. Nevertheless security politics remains absent from security research.

Politicians do many other things that are important for security. They debate, they ask questions of ministers, they gather evidence from experts, they write reports, and they pass or block new laws. All this can shape security policy,  its effectiveness, its unforeseen consequences, and the message it sends out. It also shapes public perceptions of threat and insecurity.

But terrorism and security scholars see security as a matter for governments and states.

They study what political leaders and their ministers say and do. They study how their policies work. They do not study the politics of politicians.

This excludes a lot. There are many more politicians than members of governments. In the…

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