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.


Reversing the flow

To undo prison culture, we need to reverse exclusionary, utilitarian, capitalist culture. This includes dismantling the school to prison pipeline, argues Ewa Jasiewicz

One million hours of solitude

Simon Hedges shares his tips on surviving lockdown and government ineptitude

Review – Steal as Much as You Can by Nathalie Olah

Anna Clayton reviews Natalie Olah's book, which explores how upper middle-class pop culture has affected British politics


No solutions, no justice: Covid-19 and BAME communities

Apsana Begum MP asks why no action has been taken to protect BAME communities from Covid-19, despite the Government report revealing disproportionate impact

The nationalist unconscious

To fully grasp the rise of the new authoritarians, we must engage with psychoanalysis as well as economics, writes Richard Seymour

Lockdown live: ‘Race Today’

Join Red Pepper editor K Biswas and guests Paul Gilroy, Lola Olufemi, Ciaran Thapar and Joy White to discuss marginality, inequality, creativity and belonging in Britain

Enjoying this article? Grateful for the lack of ads?
Donate any amount to Red Pepper and support radical media with an independent editorial line, strict ethical advertising policy, and no-paywall promise.