This booklet tells you how to make your public services, Labour Party branches, trade unions, ideology and beliefs as safe as possible in the event of a neo-conservative attack during and after the 2005 General Election. To do this we try to advise how you can undermine neo-conservativism through a strategy of "constructive rejection."
If the country were ever faced an immediate threat of the most right-wing, corrupt, reactionary, repressive and militaristic Labour Prime Minister ever being re-elected, a copy of this booklet would be posted on the internet.
II. Challenge to Survival
III. Planning for Survival
IV. Refusing Politely
V. Issues of Nutrition
VI. Action Before Attack
VII. Precautions for Tony Blair
VIII. Labour MPs against the Iraq War
If Britain elects another neo-conservative government, we do not know what targets will be chosen or how severe the assault will be.
If neo-conservative policies are used on a large scale, those of us over the age of 60 may be exposed to as great a risk as those studying in the universities. The Blairite spin, falling where the media blows it, will bring the most widespread dangers of all. No part of the United Kingdom can be considered safe from both the direct effects of Blairite policies and the resultant social dystrophy.
The dangers which you and your integrity will face in this situation can be reduced if you do as this booklet describes. Read this booklet with care. Your sense of wellbeing may depend upon it. Do as it advises. Keep it safely at hand.
Challenge to survival
Within a short time, everything within a certain distance of Islington will be totally unfashionable. Even people living outside this area will be in danger from -
HEAT AND AIR
The heat and air emitted from a 3 hour Tony Blair conference speech are so severe that they can numb, and finally pacify leading labour movement figures, for up to five rows from the front of the hall. Beyond that, there can be severe damage to the reputation of the Party.
Spin are small particles of untruth which are sucked up from Blair's mouth by the media. It can be deadly dangerous, especially in the six weeks preceding an election. It rises high in the airwaves through wires and can be carried hundreds of miles before it exposed as nonsense.
The effect of these lie particles is dangerous. They cannot be felt or seen. They have no smell, and they can be detected only by special instruments. Over-exposure to these can cause pointless, unwinnable wars and the systematic privatisation and outsourcing of government functions. The techniques of endless repetition could be employed instead of reasoned argument. If the particles enter the UK political dialogue, the effects of these lies could eventually lead to dangerous nationalistic and xenophobic impulses. The less exposure to Murdoch-owned media outlets, the less the danger from spin.
The danger to the Labour Party is most serious, as it could lose all credibility and find itself friendless, bankrupt and run by a small elite of careerists.
Planning for survival
Staying at Home?
Your own local authority is probably a powerless, subcontracted and outsourced shell of what it was, so do not expect them to help you in case of a future neo-liberal, neo-conservative or fascist dictatorship. The local authority no longer owns any housing, so during a severe financial meltdown or "neo-imperial atomic war" situation it may be best to find an empty house and squat.
So maybe you ought to stay at home, because the police are out there, and if they see you walking around at night, they will know you're up to no good. And if you have no ID card, maybe they'll take you to the cells for a jolly good kicking. But we don’t automatically do what we’re meant to… do we?
First, your Group
The first priority is to form a group within your branch or organisation to protect against Blairite contamination. Your best protection is at least 10 members who are already active in your local organisation. It may be increasingly hard to persuade your friends and people you agree with politically to join the Labour Party. You can call your group something like "Seldon Labour Party Grassroots," for example.
The continued dominance of the Blairite faction within the Labour Party, with tacit acceptance by most trade union managers, means that you and your group may feel isolated by the central offices, and feel exposed during branch meetings, or when you see David Blunkett on TV. Your group can arrange public meetings with guest speakers to protect against this happening. You can also arrange meetings which are aimed at local party members. To do this you need access to the membership lists.
You should be aware that if your group looks even slightly successful, somebody in the party hierarchy will arrange for someone to go along and join it. These people may not be what you expect, and may wear very radical clothes - however, it is up to all of you to keep the group working constructively, without getting sidetracked. Written guidelines help in this, but obviously run the risk of being excessively bureaucratic...
If your branch is already one of the left-leaning branches in the country, you have other factors to consider. To what extent should you participate in the National Policy Forum, knowing the likely result? How much time should be spent trying to press the party to honour conference decisions? Probably a balance needs to be struck.
Do not merely shelter in institutions which are already comfortably left-wing. Targeted direct action is a way of gaining publicity for your causes and your candidates, and good relations with other labour movement branches in your area will greatly help you. If your sitting MP is a Blairite Labour MP do not be afraid to confront them and take direct action on specific issues, as well as questioning the extent to which they truly represent you.
The Militant Bungalow
Joining factional militant left groups will not provide much protection from the Blairite agenda. You may enjoy the atmosphere much more than in the Labour Party and find the people’s views a lot closer to your own, but the chances of achieving anything concrete are fairly remote - not impossible.
Just a Little Red Caravan in the Purple Sea
If you live in an area which is heavily Blairite (eg Clapham, Sedgefield) try to contact other people who think similarly to you. Maybe try labourgrassroots and see what is out there.
Any unpopular policies are likely to buried within the first 2 years of the next Labour government, for example, on ID cards, or rising tuition fees for students. Claiming a popular mandate, New Labour may also attempt to push through a program of spending and job cuts in the public sector. Maybe the remaining labourist cabinet ministers will also be purged.
To put these plans under some scrutiny and expose them to opposition we need a core of MPs who can be trusted. To develop this core of MPs we recommend:
- Encouraging committed and tenacious socialists who have stayed in the Party to run for Parliament. As well as this, ask yourself if they will vote with their conscience rather than with any misconceived career interests.
- Looking at the list of anti-war Labour MPs (included) and working for your MP if they're there. This will introduce you to other like-minded people.
- Working for your nearest sitting anti-war MP
- Finding out how your local candidates stand on the Iraq war and other issues. Raise these issues at selection meetings.
- If you're in a union branch, blocking support, financial or otherwise, for pro-war candidates or MPs. By arguing for anti-war candidates and putting these forward for sponsorship.
You will probably need to argue your case at meetings - not only what you' re opposed to, but what you are in favour of. The internet, magazines and other organisations such as thinktanks have lots of resources to help.
Don't be afraid to dream, and to think of plans which may at first seem far-fetched or utopian. It's better to have a dream than a nightmare to come. Labour has overdosed on pragmatism for too long and this has weakened the whole reason for its existence.
As activists, we work to make the world a fairer and more equal place.
Unfortunately realisation of these dreams may take some time, not only because of how the world is, but because people who are not idealistic currently control the labour movement and are running it down. Whilst they are ruining our assets, we cannot remove them through dreaming, telepathy or simply changing Party leader. But these may help.
Issues of Nutrition
Labour has always focused on local issues that concern people - eg factories which break labour rules. Encourage opposition to plans which threaten public services, and maybe promote grassroots initiatives, such as publicizing the mismanagement of housing estates, earmarking land for allotments, and arguing for the expansion of school playing fields.
It is better to take the initiative. If you think a playing field is under threat, begin a campaign to expand or develop the existing playing field. Then it will get harder to argue for the sell-off. Similarly with privatisation and outsourcing: if there are hints that an organisation wants to hive off a function, start your own small "Privatisation Campaign Group" and outline why privatisation doesn't work by looking at the failures of existing privatised services and arguing for re-socialisation. Make the climate hard for “them.” The pioneers of the Labour Party were all involved in local campaigns to improve working people's lives. We need to get back to basics in this regard. Contacts with trade unions and in local government will be invaluable in mounting these campaigns.
The internet can be a useful link with other people who think the same way. It isn't a substitute for direct action, but you can start a website for your group and it can be used to advertise your meetings (as can labourgrassroots)
The Bottle Opener
You will find parties a useful way of getting to know your group. Keep everything in perspective and give yourself a "normal" life as well. If you have periods of being less active no-one will blame you.
Dress to Undress
Unlike New Labour clones, you do not have to wear a suit at every political event. The extra comfort this will provide will assist the flow of blood around your body and brain. You will certainly be able to thrash them in any argument.
Don't go to Sleep
Help create more situations where the Blairs lie in Number 10 Downing Street, unable to sleep for the sound of popular protest outside their window. Join direct action groups, join demonstrations and make sure you have fun.
Strike a light
Help to shine a light on any Labour Party or trades union electoral fraud or bias from officials, by contacting the media, and going to the NEC or regulatory bodies. “Private Eye” are a good place to go if this is at a national level. Remember support for the Labour Party or your union has never been about uncritical admiration. That is not how democracy works.
Table and Chairs
If you can become chair of your local party, you can try to encourage affiliation to a number of left organisations. The internet helps with this, too.
If you start an active group within your union or constituency, soon various people will be very worried. As a symbolic present, used and unused toilet paper can be presented to your local pro-war MP as a symbol of their bravery and consistency.
The Labour Party is sick - everyone acknowledges this. The membership is now close to 150,000 people, many of whom simply pay a donation every month. Any medicine has to come from within the Party, and inevitably this will mean an internal struggle for elected positions. If you are accused of dividing and weakening the Party remember that the Party is rapidly weakening at the moment, and unless something is done, we could soon lose any Labour Party worth the title.
Brushes and shovels
You need to draw attention to issues which are being swept under the carpet before the election. There are many of these: GM food, nuclear power, road-building schemes and privatised education.
Toys and Magazines
Write to magazines and tell them that New Labour doesn't reflect the attitudes and policies of the wider labour movement.
If your MP feels threatened, maybe he or she will change his voting in the House Of Commons. Even though you may be a member of the Labour Party, your vote in any election is between you and your conscience.
Write letters to newspapers and magazines, particularly if your group or branch has decided to advocate policies for peace in Iraq. In any case, do not let the Labour Party as a whole be stained with innocents' blood.
Turn up at public meetings where New Labour figures have been invited. Press them on the questions that you want to hear answered. Follow up their answers. Make sure you act in a co-ordinated way to make the meeting harder to stage-manage - for example, sit scattered around the room, and ask less vocal members to pose the initial questions.
The Attack Warning
When a neo-conservative attack is expected the sirens will sound a rising and falling note.
THE SPIN WARNING
When there is danger from spin you will hear three loud bangs or three whistles in quick succession.
The All Clear
When the immediate danger from both air attack and fall-out has passed, the sirens will sound a steady note. This indicates a Hung Parliament, where legislation is hard to enact, and unpopular initiatives are unlikely to be attempted. In recent times, this often means a situation where the least damage can be done (eg 1996-97).
The Attack Warning
If you are able to, you should not:
Send the children to a local religious school
Buy shares in oil, private health, chemical, contracting and accountancy companies.
Close down your local union branch.
Go to the Labour Party Conference and give Tony Blair a 15 minutes ovation.
If you are in a position of power, you should refuse to enact any directives originating from Labour HQ during this time. It is best to put your hands over your ears and shout "Blah! Blah! Blah!" if possible, which simply saves time.
Heat from a Tony Blair campaign speech can last for up to twenty seconds, but boredom may take up to a minute to reach you. To avoid these entirely, do not rely on printed material produced by Labour HQ. Be prepared to rely on your own resources.
The period between a Blair campaign speech and the media spin can be used effectively. Remind yourself of the reality of the situation. Think how things have developed over the last few years, and why the last Queen's Speech found room for ID cards, but no room for renationalising the railways, re-instating SERPS or other policies agreed by Conference.
Do not obey Government advice and instruction under this current leadership. Generally, past experience shows that they are not to be trusted.
The dangers for socialists, trades unionists and leftists will be so intense if there is a third Blair term that we would advise all of you to become very active in your local constituency. Unity will be very important in this period to encourage a quick transfer of power to a different leadership.
It is vitally important that a large number of people refuse to register and carry ID cards at the outset. We must make the scheme incredibly expensive and difficult to operate.
Action Before Attack
Tick When Completed
1. Do you know the boring sounds?
2. Do you know what action you must take when you hear each boring sound?
Your local group
3. Have you formed your local group?
4. Have you had your first meeting of your local group?
5. Have you had a public meeting, or invited speakers from, for example, the anti-war movement?
Your trade union
6. Have you made your trade union pass anti-war resolutions?
7. Have you discussed withholding sponsorship from Blairite candidates?
8. Have you tried the following campaigns?
a) a local campaign that has wider resonance, eg school playing fields, outsourcing, mobile phone masts?
b) built a website or blog where people can arrange meetings and comment ?
c) participated in a noisy direct action to highlight incompetence, corruption or stupidity?
d) hosted parties and fundraisers for your group?
e) informed media of the mistakes and corruption within neo-conservative policies?
f) attempted to gain an elected position in your branch (eg membership officer) ?
g) informed your sitting MP that docile acquiescence with the Blair leadership is a bad career move?
h) presented your sitting MP, in this instance, with objects symbolising their status ?
i) made sure that people know about the hidden agenda in the 2005 Campaign, that they know what is being secretly planned for after the election ?
Precautions for Tony Blair
1. Have you whitewashed the dirty things your friends asked you to do?
2. Have you got rid of all the old socialists that you were asked to?
3. Have you reduced the membership of the Labour Party?
4. Have you got little crypto-Blunketts waiting in every repressive layer of the Home Office?
5. If you have a Chief Whip, is it ready and in working order?
6. Have you blurred the distinction between state and religious education?
7. Have you disillusioned young people with the Parliamentary process?
8. Have you turned the screw on unemployed people?
9. Have you transformed the UK economy into a high-wage high-skill powerhouse?
10. Have you marginalised all the outlets of opposition within the Party?
11. Have you largely filled the NEC and trades unions with yes-men and nobodies?
12. Have you reminded somebody about that lecture tour of the USA?
13. Have you checked that you are still popular enough to win an election in the UK?
14. Have you checked that your sycophants aren't mainly gay?
15. Have you replenished your drug supplies?
16. Have you turned off the supply of student activism?
The danger from a neo-conservative government is generally greatest in the first two years. During that time you must stay active.
If you have left the Party because you feel disgusted by its current trajectory, do not stay outside it for a second longer than is necessary. We will retake the Party, but it may be in a very bad condition when we do. We will need your help!
LIST OF LABOUR MPs OPPOSED TO THE ILLEGAL OCCUPATION OF IRAQ
Diane Abbott, Graham Allen, John Austin, Tony Banks, Harry Barnes, John Battle, Andrew Bennett, Joe Benton, Roger Berry, Harold Best, Bob Blizzard, Keith Bradley, Kevin Brennan, Karen Buck, Richard Burden, Anne Campbell, Ronnie Campbell, Martin Caton, David Chaytor, Michael Clapham, Helen Clark, Tom Clarke, Tony Clarke, Harry Cohen, Iain Coleman, Michael Connarty, Frank Cook, Robin Cook, Jeremy Corbyn, Jim Cousins, Tom Cox, David Crausby, Ann Cryer, John Cryer, Tam Dalyell (NR) , Valerie Davey, Ian Davidson, Denzil Davies, Terry Davis, Hilton Dawson, John Denham, Parmjit Dhanda, Jim Dobbin, Frank Dobson, Frank Doran, David Drew, Huw Edwards, Clive Efford, Bill Etherington, Mark Fisher, Paul Flynn, Hywel Francis, George Galloway (NR), Neil Gerrard, Ian Gibson, Roger Godsiff, Win Griffiths, John Grogan, Patrick Hall, David Hamilton, Fabian Hamilton, Dai Havard, Doug Henderson, Stephen Hepburn, David Heyes, David Hinchliffe, Kate Hoey, Jimmy Hood, Kelvin Hopkins, Joan Humble, Brian Iddon, Eric Illsley, Glenda Jackson, Helen Jackson, Jon Owen Jones, Lynne Jones, Martyn Jones, David Kidney, Peter Kilfoyle, Mark Lazarowicz, David Lepper, Terry Lewis, Tony Lloyd, Ian Lucas, Iain Luke, John Lyons, Christine McCafferty, John McDonnell, Ann McKechin, Kevin McNamara, Tony McWalter, Alice Mahon, Jim Marshall, Robert Marshall-Andrews, Eric Martlew, Julie Morgan, Chris Mullin, Denis Murphy, Doug Naysmith, Eddie O'Hara, Diana Organ, Albert Owen, Linda Perham, Peter Pike, Kerry Pollard, Gordon Prentice, Gwyn Prosser, Ken Purchase, John Robertson, Joan Ruddock, Martin Salter, Mohammad Sarwar, Malcolm Savidge, Philip Sawford, Brian Sedgemore, Debra Shipley, Alan Simpson, Marsha Singh, Chris Smith, Llew Smith, George Stevenson, Gavin Strang, Graham Stringer, David Taylor, Jon Trickett, Paul Truswell, Desmond Turner, Bill Tynan, Rudi Vis, Joan Walley, Robert Wareing, Alan Whitehead, Alan Williams, Betty Williams, Mike Wood, Tony Worthington, David Wright, Tony Wright, Derek Wyatt
Prepared for the Home Office by Redeye
Thanks to England and Her Majesty's Stationary Office.
First Published December 2004