Remember this…

Whatever happens today at the polls and whoever eventually forms the next government, real change will only happen at the grassroots in our neighbourhoods, workplaces, colleges and out on the streets when we decide to act and fight collectively for a better world…


Dragging party politics into the campaign against the Lower Thames Crossing

Back in February 2016, we attended a packed and very lively meeting at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal to discuss the options on the table for the Lower Thames Crossing. Campaigners against the crossing such as George Abbott were there in force. Highways England were there to attempt to sway what was a largely hostile audience – they failed miserably! Also present were councillors and MPs from across the political spectrum. In the fractious world of Thurrock politics, it seemed that for one brief moment, divisions had been forgotten and we were all united against the crossing. The one thing we took from that meeting was the desire of the campaigners against the crossing to keep party politics out of it.

Fast forward to the present and we have this: Thurrock UKIP claim to be only party to “reject Thames Crossing proposals” Yup, Tim Aker has attempted to hi-jack a non-party political campaign in a cynical bid to boost his election campaign in the Thurrock constituency. Aker is up against John Kent, the former Labour leader of Thurrock Council who’s also on record as being opposed to the crossing and the sitting Tory MP, Jackie Doyle-Price who was in favour of Option C, Route 4 that mainly went through the neighbouring South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency.

Supporters of Labour have waded into the debate refuting Aker’s claims to be the only party against the Lower Thames Crossing: Letter to Editor: UKIP wrong over Lower Thames Crossing Fair enough, Labour have a right to counter the crap that Aker is coming out with but there are issues with this… Namely that responding in this way has turned the campaign against the Lower Thames Crossing into a party political football in what is a bitter election battle in the Thurrock constituency.

As much as we have occasionally questioned George Abbott’s strategy and tactics in the past, our sympathies go out to him and the other campaigners on the ground who want the crossing stopped and don’t want the fight against it sullied by petty political point scoring in an election clash. Dragging this campaign into the squalid realm of party politics and the squabbling and bickering that goes with it is going to damage it. That seems to matter little to the politicians who seek to exploit the issue to gain an advantage for their respective parties, regardless of the consequences. This is why we as anarchists want nothing to do with party politics and the system as it stands and why we prefer to work with grassroots campaigners whose concern is the issue they’re dealing with and not seeking political advantage…

Pre-election desperation!

The Tory MP for Thurrock, Jackie Doyle-Price, has held urgent talks with PM Theresa May regarding the decision by Highways England to go for Option C (Route 3) for the Lower Thames Crossing: Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price in urgent talks with Prime Minister over Lower Thames Crossing proposals Those of you who have been following the saga of the Lower Thames Crossing will be aware that Doyle-Price has long been an advocate for Route 4 which was to run between Orsett and Stanford-le-Hope and eventually join up with the A127. She saw this route as having the least impact on her constituents because it predominately went through the neighbouring South Basildon & East Thurrock constituency. Don’t you just love politicians when they play their little games of divide and rule?

Doyle-Price has long criticised opponents of Option C, basically saying we had no option but to accept it. However, as soon as Highways England announced their preference for Option C (Route 3), she expressed her objections to it, fearing for her slim majority. Well, not long after the decision, May goes and calls a general election sending Doyle-Price into a panic. At the 2015 election, it was pretty much a three horse race. Our gut instinct is that a fair view of the votes that may be leaving Labour will go to UKIP and as much as we detest Tim Aker and think he’s a total plonker, there’s a fair chance that as he opposes Option C outright, he could oust Doyle-Price from her seat.

Doyle-Price holding urgent talks with May is a deeply cynical move – no surprise really, she’s an MP desperate to hang onto her seat and the influence and perks that go with it. While the furore over the Lower Thames Crossing will make the election battle in Thurrock even more of a spectacle for those who like their politics dirty, we would like to add a few words of caution… Basically, don’t rely on the outcome of the election in Thurrock to make any difference to the intentions of Highways England. While a fair number of voters will see it as a chance to give Doyle-Price a well deserved kicking, that’s all it will be. As anarchists, we don’t believe that elections will make a significant difference in a system that’s rigged…

We want to conclude with this excerpt from a post we wrote back in April when the decision was made: Lower Thames Crossing decision – let battle commence! However, this question has to be asked – has it come to the point where direct action aimed at physically stopping the road and crossing from being built has to be considered? That could well be something along the lines of the infamous protest against the Newbury bypass in the 1990s: Twenty years after the protests, what is the legacy of the Newbury bypass? with the obvious caveats that lessons from their experience need to be taken on board. For obvious security reasons, we don’t want to publicly comment on what could happen in terms of direct action as we don’t fancy being branded as ‘domestic terrorists’! Suffice to say, there ‘s a lot to discuss in terms of strategy and tactics…

Lob a spanner in the works and let’s have some real change!

There has been a lot of speculation as to why May has done a massive U turn and called for a general election on June 8th. A fair few people think it may have something to do with the ongoing election expenses scandal that’s dogging the Tory Party: Claims May called an election to escape Tory expenses scandal The Crown Prosecution Service is currently investigating claims that up to 20 Tory MPs broke spending limits during the 2015 general election.

If these MPs were prosecuted and had to stand down thereby forcing by-elections, the government’s slim majority would have been made considerably slimmer or possibly even wiped out. Given that May is facing enough grief trying to negotiate a Brexit deal, the thinking is that she’s taking a gamble on a general election in the hope that the Tories will get a big enough majority to give her the support she needs. What May has done is a crass act of cynicism – no surprise there as she’s a politician.

The right wing element in the media have gone into overdrive with talk about ‘crushing opponents’ and the like. No surprise there either, that’s what rags like the Daily Mail do. The problem is that the predictable hype from the right wing gutter press has led to a level of hysteria among Labour supporters, particularly Momentum activists, who are pretty much implying that it’s our duty to vote Labour on June 8th. Even some people we thought were ‘comrades’ are falling for this, saying that we need to set aside our anarchist principles and cast a vote for Labour.

If you want to see examples of principles being abandoned, take a look at any Labour run council in London and the way they’re jumping on the re-generation gravy train, sucking up to the property developers and becoming complicit in socially cleansing the poor from the capital. This is just one example of what a Labour run London council is doing and how it impacts on the housing crisis out here on the estuary and beyond: The housing domino effect… Tamely going along to a polling station to cast a vote for Labour as the ‘lesser of two evils’ will do sod all to bring about change.

This is the best chance we’ve had in ages to send a message to the political class that we’re sick of their machinations and that we want power from the grassroots upwards. Actively campaigning for a boycott of the election or mass spoiling of ballot papers will, if we can get the numbers, send a chill up the spines of the political class. If the turnout drops towards the 50% level, that sends out a massive signal that people are losing faith in the system and that whatever government gets elected, they will have no meaningful legitimacy.

When you have a government with no real legitimacy, when the shite hits the fan as austerity tightens its grip, it’s only a few steps from this to starting to make the country ungovernable. When the country starts to become ungovernable as a government with no legitimacy starts to get ever more grief trying to push through austerity, that’s when we can start to get meaningful system change on to the agenda. Basically, there’s everything to play for… Now is the time to think creatively about how we can lob a sodding great spanner into the works!