IT EMERGED in the bourgeois press at the weekend that the army has been drawing up plans for troops to be sent onto the streets of Britain to deal with civil unrest resulting from the crisis around Brexit.
According to these reports the military have drawn up plans to mobilise 11,200 troops to deal with what is termed a ‘range of operations and contingencies’ under the Operation Temperer. This is the code name for a secret plan devised in 2015 to deploy the army in the event of a major terrorist incident.
When it was finally uncovered by the press much later it was claimed that the then prime minister David Cameron had opposed this new power on the grounds that he didn’t want Britain to appear as if the government had lost control and was imposing martial law. Clearly Theresa May and her embattled minority government have no such qualms.
Last week twenty officers who usually oversee Operation Temperer were ordered to immediately prepare for the situation of Britain pulling out of the EU with no deal and instructed to come up with a strategy to maintain public order by putting an extra 11,200 troops on the streets.
Interviewed on Sky news British defence minister Tobias Wellwood said: ‘The armed forces stand ready to support Britain on a practical basis’ adding: ‘There are contingency plans being made, there are discussions being held behind the scenes as to what support our armed forces can give’.
The chief of defence staff General Sir Nick Carter was even more upfront when he told the BBC last week: ‘We make sensible contingency plans for all sorts of eventualities whether it’s a terrorist attack, a tanker driver dispute or industrial action. At this stage, I think people are confident there will be a deal, if there is not one then we stand ready to help in any way we can’ and that the army would ‘stand ready to help’ in the event of a ‘No Deal’, something the ruling class has made clear it will not accept.
In other words, troops will be called out onto the streets to break strikes and quell an uprising by workers if the ruling class dump the overwhelming vote to leave the EU. As Carter makes clear the role of the army will not just be to ensure medical supplies, as they claim, but to act as a strike breaking force to be used against the anger of millions of workers demanding an end to a system that offers them absolutely no future except to be the vassals of European bankers and bosses.
This turn to the military is a sign of the desperation gripping the Tories and capitalist class as they strip away the facade of bourgeois democracy and openly reveal the truth made plain by Engels that in the final analysis the state rests on ‘bodies of armed men’. The Tories aren’t the only ones to be talking about troops and the necessity to build up armed forces.
At the weekend, French President Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined hands to call for the creation of a new European army. In a speech to the German parliament Macron said Europe must not ‘become a plaything of great powers’ saying Europe ‘has the obligation not to let the world slip into chaos.’
The fact is that capitalism is already in a state of complete chaos with workers across Europe rising up against the austerity imposed to bail out the bankers and capitalist class from their economic crash. In Britain the Tories are in a state of complete collapse and forced to rely on the treachery of the Labour leadership to keep May’s EU deal alive and the Tory government staggering on.
The working class is much stronger than this weak capitalist state, it must meet any threat from troops on the street by immediately organising a mass general strike to bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers government that will have the support of the working class throughout Europe in the struggle for the European socialist revolution.