The mother of all injunctions

In our first Heathrow Climate Camp report Plane Stupid's Robbie Gillett gives his take on BAA's inju

The British Airports Authority (BAA) effectively scored an own goal in their bid to secure an injunction against the Camp for Climate Action.

As was widely reported, the original was massively reduced in scale and severity by the High Court.

Initially BAA had applied for a far reaching injunction against four defendants and the members of their associate organisations.

These were Leo Murray and Joss Garman from the direct action group Plane Stupid, John Stewart - Chair of Airport Watch and Geraldine Nicholson from the No Third Runway Action Group (No TRAG).

Since Airport Watch is an umbrella group including the National Trust, RSPB and other large organisations, the original injuction would have restricted the movements of approximately 5 million people.

BAA do not want next week's Climate Camp to happen, obviously fearing the adverse publicity. They proposed that parts of the M25 and parts of the M4 be out of bounds to potential climate campers as well as platforms 6 and 7 of Paddington station and the entire Piccadilly Line.

As it covered so many people over such a large area, it soon became known as the 'Mother of all Injunctions'.

Ken Livingstone, furious that Transport for London had not been consulted prior to BAA's application, publicly waded into the debate, saying that someone at BAA must be "out of their skull."

Unsurprisingly, Mrs Justice Swift told BAA to come back with something workable. On Monday 6th August, BAA were granted an injunction against John Stewart, Leo Murray and Joss Garman and members of Plane Stupid only.

It stipulates that these persons are not allowed on Heathrow property.
Despite some clever press releases from BAA declaring victory, the whole saga has really been an own goal.

The Climate Camp has received massive coverage from the mainstream press, and will now be bigger than it would otherwise have been. It is not covered by the injunction and it is perfectly legal to attend the camp.

BAA's lawyer Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, now known as 'TLC' amongst Climate Campers, had bragged of his track record of using the 1997 Protection from Harrassment Act, a law originally designed to protect women from stalkers, to gain injunctions against animal rights and weapons-manufacture protesters.

He had called himself "a rottweiler"
(http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/transport/article2833915.ec... ), a market-leader in criminalising otherwise lawful behaviour, now he looks more like Scooby Doo.

The injunction granted was not the Protection from Harrassment sought, but a rather softer injuction under common, not criminal, law.

For the majority of people that will attend the camp (estimates range from 2000 to 4000 people) the injunction does not affect them.

However, there are some disturbing consequences for Plane Stupid's members regarding freedom of speech. This is because anyone who breaches the injunction "in concert with Plane Stupid" is also covered.

This means that if anyone from Plane Stupid (that is anyone who has been arrested on Plane Stupid actions and spokespeople) aids, abbets or incites direct action against Heathrow until the 31st August (when the injunction expires), they will be in breach of the injunction.

Plane Stupid has already had to alter one of their workshops at the camp.
Members of Plane Stupid (such as myself) are now having to watch what they say.

For example, could acknowledging the importance of direct action to the Chartist and Suffragette movements in a press interview at the camp count as incitement? Our lawyers are unsure.

The Camp for Climate Action will happen at Heathrow from Tuesday 14th- 21st August. Each time Heathrow expands, it is granted permission on the basis that it will not expand further. Terminal 4 was accompanied by a promise there would be no Terminal 5. Terminal 5 was accompanied by a promise there would be no third runway. Terminal 5 is not even open yet, but BAA are already pushing for that third runway and Terminal 6.

For the last thirty years, Heathrow residents have been continuously lied to. Meanwhile, aviation's rapid growth rate threatens to undo all our climate change efforts. The Camp will run a variety of workshops and act as an example of sustainable living. As for the rest, the injunction prevents me from commenting further.

Robbie Gillett became politically active in 2001 attending the Mayday protests. Since then he’s been involved in anti-war demos, the DSEI arms fair protests and a blockade at Faslane. He is also involved with Plane Stupid.
Getty
Show Hide image

The New Times: Brexit, globalisation, the crisis in Labour and the future of the left

With essays by David Miliband, Paul Mason, John Harris, Lisa Nandy, Vince Cable and more.

Once again the “new times” are associated with the ascendancy of the right. The financial crash of 2007-2008 – and the Great Recession and sovereign debt crises that were a consequence of it – were meant to have marked the end of an era of runaway “turbocapitalism”. It never came close to happening. The crash was a crisis of capitalism but not the crisis of capitalism. As Lenin observed, there is “no such thing as an absolutely hopeless situation” for capitalism, and so we discovered again. Instead, the greatest burden of the period of fiscal retrenchment that followed the crash was carried by the poorest in society, those most directly affected by austerity, and this in turn has contributed to a deepening distrust of elites and a wider crisis of governance.

Where are we now and in which direction are we heading?

Some of the contributors to this special issue believe that we have reached the end of the “neoliberal” era. I am more sceptical. In any event, the end of neoliberalism, however you define it, will not lead to a social-democratic revival: it looks as if, in many Western countries, we are entering an age in which centre-left parties cannot form ruling majorities, having leaked support to nationalists, populists and more radical alternatives.

Certainly the British Labour Party, riven by a war between its parliamentary representatives and much of its membership, is in a critical condition. At the same time, Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has inspired a remarkable re-engagement with left-wing politics, even as his party slumps in the polls. His own views may seem frozen in time, but hundreds of thousands of people, many of them young graduates, have responded to his anti-austerity rhetoric, his candour and his shambolic, unspun style.

The EU referendum, in which as much as one-third of Labour supporters voted for Brexit, exposed another chasm in Labour – this time between educated metropolitan liberals and the more socially conservative white working class on whose loyalty the party has long depended. This no longer looks like a viable election-winning coalition, especially after the collapse of Labour in Scotland and the concomitant rise of nationalism in England.

In Marxism Today’s “New Times” issue of October 1988, Stuart Hall wrote: “The left seems not just displaced by Thatcherism, but disabled, flattened, becalmed by the very prospect of change; afraid of rooting itself in ‘the new’ and unable to make the leap of imagination required to engage the future.” Something similar could be said of the left today as it confronts Brexit, the disunities within the United Kingdom, and, in Theresa May, a prime minister who has indicated that she might be prepared to break with the orthodoxies of the past three decades.

The Labour leadership contest between Corbyn and Owen Smith was largely an exercise in nostalgia, both candidates seeking to revive policies that defined an era of mass production and working-class solidarity when Labour was strong. On matters such as immigration, digital disruption, the new gig economy or the power of networks, they had little to say. They proposed a politics of opposition – against austerity, against grammar schools. But what were they for? Neither man seemed capable of embracing the “leading edge of change” or of making the imaginative leap necessary to engage the future.

So is there a politics of the left that will allow us to ride with the currents of these turbulent “new times” and thus shape rather than be flattened by them? Over the next 34 pages 18 writers, offering many perspectives, attempt to answer this and related questions as they analyse the forces shaping a world in which power is shifting to the East, wars rage unchecked in the Middle East, refugees drown en masse in the Mediterranean, technology is outstripping our capacity to understand it, and globalisation begins to fragment.

— Jason Cowley, Editor 

Tom Kibasi on what the left fails to see

Philip Collins on why it's time for Labour to end its crisis

John Harris on why Labour is losing its heartland

Lisa Nandy on how Labour has been halted and hollowed out

David Runciman on networks and the digital revolution

John Gray on why the right, not the left, has grasped the new times

Mariana Mazzucato on why it's time for progressives to rethink capitalism

Robert Ford on why the left must reckon with the anger of those left behind

Ros Wynne-Jones on the people who need a Labour government most

Gary Gerstle on Corbyn, Sanders and the populist surge

Nick Pearce on why the left is haunted by the ghosts of the 1930s

Paul Mason on why the left must be ready to cause a commotion

Neal Lawson on what the new, 21st-century left needs now

Charles Leadbeater explains why we are all existentialists now

John Bew mourns the lost left

Marc Stears on why democracy is a long, hard, slow business

Vince Cable on how a financial crisis empowered the right

David Miliband on why the left needs to move forward, not back

This article first appeared in the 22 September 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The New Times