No shock doctrine for Britain: Stop Boris Johnson

Director of Global Justice Now, Nick Dearden, calls for swift action to stop Boris Johnson shutting down Parliament

August 29, 2019 · 3 min read

protestors march with red banner saying stop tory brexit

Britain’s political crisis just got much deeper when the prime minister announced he would suspend parliament from mid-September for five weeks. Coming the day after MPs agreed a cross-party plan to avoid No Deal, it’s clear that Boris Johnson’s purpose is to prevent MPs from having time to stop his dangerous vision for Brexit.

Whether you were for Leave or Remain, this is about democracy. We cannot allow this prime minister to suspend parliament because he doesn’t think it will vote for No Deal. Every one of us needs to stand up and be counted.

Already, over 1.4 million have signed a petition on the government website calling for the suspension to be reversed. Thousands of people have taken to the streets to say no to the shutdown of democracy and further protests are scheduled across the UK.

The Shock Doctrine comes to Britain

At Global Justice Now, we always feared that Brexit would be used to push through a radical programme of deregulation and liberalisation, which is why we campaigned to remain in the EU during the referendum. It’s why we set out our red lines for any acceptable Brexit deal in the aftermath of the result. And it’s why we opposed Theresa May’s deal earlier this year.


Since Boris Johnson became prime minister, we have got a clearer idea of what this extreme Brexit would look like: a toxic trade deal with the US, a hostile environment extended to millions more migrants, and free market policies extended into more and more aspects of our society. Now he is attempting to bypass our elected parliament to force this through.

It’s what the author and activist Naomi Klein has called ‘the shock doctrine’, creating a political crisis in order to restructure an economy in deeply unpopular ways. Johnson knows that he can’t get this vision through parliament, so he’s proposing to render our elected representatives powerless to stop it.

A dangerous moment

This attack on democratic rights is part of a global trend which is being used by authoritarian leaders in the United States, India, Brazil, the Philippines and more. Donald Trump and his fellow populist leaders are attempting to subvert democracy so they can push through policies which will make the world a less fair, equal or sustainable place.

We would never claim that our democracy is perfect. We urgently need to reform our political system, as well as radically change our economy and our relationship with our environment. But Johnson’s attack on our democratic rights will only make it harder.

This is a very serious moment for this country, and a very dangerous moment for the world. Please help challenge this attack on our democratic rights, and using those rights to work for a better world. Sign the petition against the suspension of parliament. Join the nationwide protests this Saturday 31 August to defend democracy and #StopTheCoup.

This blog was originally published by Global Justice Now.


Political blackness and Palestinian solidarity

The question of Palestine has become a black political litmus test, argues Annie Olaloku-Teriba, defining the very nature of black identity and politics

After the virus: no return to the old economy

As the Covid recession hits, Adam Peggs lays out alternative economic proposals the Labour left should be demanding

In and against, and outside, the party

Following major defeats, the left on both sides of the Atlantic must urgently get stuck into community organising, movement building and political education, argues Joe Guinan


A tribute to Mike Cooley

Co-creator of the Lucas Plan, Mike showed how the immense talent of workers could be deployed for social use rather than private profit, writes Phil Asquith

Build small, think big

Phillip O’Sullivan looks at the role of community energy groups in disrupting the energy status quo

All Eyes on Wet’suwet’en

Suzanne Dhaliwal, in collaboration with Indigenous Climate Action, explains how the struggle to end Canada’s colonial violence is continuing in the face of fossil fuel extractivism

Only fearless, independent journalism
can hold power to account

Your support keeps Red Pepper alive