As Sunny Hundal notes on Liberal Conspiracy:
A weekly briefing by the City of Westminster’s ‘Counter Terrorist [sic] Focus Desk’ (see here– PDF file) calls for al anarchist activities and events to be reported to the police.
Next to an anarchist symbol, the briefing states:
Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local Police.
As Sunny then notes on Twitter:
I'll only accept this if they arrest Tory libertarians first. They believe about the same and present a far bigger danger to society.
I'm a long, long way from being an anarchist and have no sympathy with the underlying logic of their philosophy. Given that I'm at the computer today working on my new book, 'The Courageous State', I think that's pretty obvious. But Sunny is right: those left-wing anarchists who the police are focusing upon are not a major threat to society. Again, let's be clear - I do not condone any violence, and some anarchists have undertaken it in the last year, but a shop window or two, whilst reprehensible and worthy of punishment is behaviour about equivalent to that of many yobs on a Saturday night, and cannot be considered a serious threat to the state.
On the other hand, on the Tory right there are many organisations that are actively going out of their way to suggest the state is a bad thing. As I noted recently, I spoke at a supposed All Party Parliamentary Group meeting in the House of Commons last month sponsored by three organisations that seem to have outright opposition to the state at the core of their purpose. They are the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Adam Smith Institute and the Cobden Society. At that meeting the audience, drawn very largely from those organisations and certainly not representing All Parties or even Parliament (which is unsurprising, this Group - which is new - appears to be yet another right wing Tory front) lapped up the comments by one speaker - Mark Pennington - who argued that the state does not have the legitimacy to create law and only the market does. Now that I call a serious challenge to the state - but it was readily apparent that it was popular with some Tories present, including sitting MPs.
And if we are talking about threats to democracy I have long argued that the four largest organisations that pose a serious, coordinated, threat to democracy are the Big 4 firms of accountants. They are, after all, largely responsible for legitimising the activities of tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions as I prefer to call them*, and use them in coordinated fashion (detailed here) to ensure that their clients pay less tax than the democratically elected governments of major states think is due to them as a result of their activities. Is there any better way to undermine democracy than to deny a government the tax revenue stream it requires to fulfil the mandate it has been given by its electorate? I can't think of one that's likely to be more subtly effective.
We do face threats to democracy, our way of government and our way of life right now: very serious threats indeed. But it seems the police aren't able to identify them. And perhaps that is one of the most worrying things of all.
* Secrecy jurisdictions are places that intentionally create regulation for the primary benefit and use of those not resident in their geographical domain. That regulation is designed to undermine the legislation or regulation of another jurisdiction. To facilitate its use secrecy jurisdictions also create a deliberate, legally backed veil of secrecy that ensures that those from outside the jurisdiction making use of its regulation cannot be identified to be doing so.