Britain Is Only ‘Four Meals Away From Anarchy’

[Site notice: Re-posting this now (originally posted 7/19/2011) due to a timely observation (of an older post) from Disinfo.com commenter SuddenlySpam.] A blast from the past for all you newshounds. Enjoy via the Times:

Modern civilisation may not be quite as safe as we thought. Britain’s security services have been privately warning their staff that western societies are just 48 hours from anarchy. MI5’s maxim is that society is “four meals away from anarchy”. In other words, the security agency believes that Britain could be quickly reduced to large-scale disorder, including looting and rioting in the event of a catastrophe that stops the supply of food.

The maxim will provoke debate over whether MI5 is over-egging the threat, partly to justify its rapidly growing budget. It also opens a wider question as to whether civilised societies could so quickly revert to primitive behaviour. MI5 — whose motto is “regnum defende”, defend the realm — uses the “four meals” rule to assess the threat levels from attacks on strategic installations, such as computer networks and power stations; natural disasters; or widespread strikes and civil disobedience.

Read More: Times

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  • The_Baffler

    The people have not been traumatized enough for a proper revolution.

    • SF2K01

      Revolution and chaos are two completely different events. Outrage at lack of basic needs could easily throw any country into a chaotic dystopia.

  • Anonymous

    The people have not been traumatized enough for a proper revolution.

  • Hadrian999

    this is the case most places, a natural disaster or the breakdown of normal order and the facade of modern society starts to crack, we saw it in the Katrina aftermath, i saw it in iraq, I’m afraid we’ll see it in the united states in my lifetime.

    • respect cult

      I like you comments 

  • Hadrian999

    this is the case most places, a natural disaster or the breakdown of normal order and the facade of modern society starts to crack, we saw it in the Katrina aftermath, i saw it in iraq, I’m afraid we’ll see it in the united states in my lifetime.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    How about a little austerity for MI5′s budget eh? Or is the hopped up threat of total societal collapse the only means to avert a few nicks and cuts in staffing and luxuries? Of course…what really constitutes a threat is a sudden urge by people to start forcing out complacent politicos and move in some people who might risk making a few real substantive changes. Something as horrifying as that must be prevented at all costs!!!

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    How about a little austerity for MI5′s budget eh? Or is the hopped up threat of total societal collapse the only means to avert a few nicks and cuts in staffing and luxuries? Of course…what really constitutes a threat is a sudden urge by people to start forcing out complacent politicos and move in some people who might risk making a few real substantive changes. Something as horrifying as that must be prevented at all costs!!!

  • http://twitter.com/jasonpaulhayes jasonpaulhayes

    Problem, Reaction, Solution! Dissent is the Problem, the Reaction is to cut off the food supply, the Solution is to get people out on the street where they can be apprehended … because we know all hungry people are criminals.

  • jasonpaulhayes

    Problem, Reaction, Solution! Dissent is the Problem, the Reaction is to cut off the food supply, the Solution is to get people out on the street where they can be apprehended … because we know all hungry people are criminals.

  • Pbechard

    City life. It costs more (than rural), and it’s dangerous. 

  • Pbechard

    City life. It costs more (than rural), and it’s dangerous. 

    • Godozo

      And the wise must always ask themselves whether it’s worth the risk and cost.

      I know a few who came to the city…and left the city for that reason.

    • respect cult

      thats true, but does not make logical sense, since living in close proximity with a more sophisticated infrastructure lowers the price of transportation of goods and people.

  • Godozo

    And the wise must always ask themselves whether it’s worth the risk and cost.

    I know a few who came to the city…and left the city for that reason.

  • Godozo

    Four meals from Anarchy? Heck, every halfway-prosperous society should think of itself as such.

  • Godozo

    Four meals from Anarchy? Heck, every halfway-prosperous society should think of itself as such.

  • Anon

    when there’s no beer in the pubs, the mob will walk the streets

  • Anon

    when there’s no beer in the pubs, the mob will walk the streets

  • Anonymous

    Revolution and chaos are two completely different events. Outrage at lack of basic needs could easily throw any country into a chaotic dystopia.

  • Redacted

    This was prophetic. Also, Me and The_Baffler are totally not the same person.

    • MrSta

      Prophetic how? MI5 is talking about a wholesale seizing-up of society caused by a breakdown in the food supply….not looting of electronics and designer goods in a few areas in a few large cities by thieves and opportunists because a known criminal got shot.

      Also riots are simply one of those hazards that strike from time to time, you know what animals people can be.

      • respect cult

        Looting is just a bonus. Getting to smash windows is the real reward. Bankers loot us all the time and use paid brain washed agents to do the violence by proxy. Tomato, Tomaato. Its a natural disaster plain and simple. No one to blame reality is chaotic this is just a show of it. Plus all that stuff is insured. Do you think insurance companies exist for no reason? Shit happens, no one is dying all is good. Soon the looters will have paying jobs in construction or at least real work to keep them busy.

      • Jin The Ninja

        i consider the biggest “animals” (although i do not choose to denigrate our nature-dwelling cousins in this way) in human society to be those that put on a suit, smile and institute (or perpetuate) policies that actively or even peripherally encourage horrific human rights abuses: food picked by slaves, pharma that explicitly encourages illness and long-term medication (as opposed to cures), manufacturing weapons, oil, and most financial services (credit unions notwithstanding).

  • Anonymous

    This was prophetic. Also, Me and The_Baffler are totally not the same person.

  • Anonymous

    Prophetic how? MI5 is talking about a wholesale seizing-up of society caused by a breakdown in the food supply….not looting of electronics and designer goods in a few areas in a few large cities by thieves and opportunists because a known criminal got shot.

    Also riots are simply one of those hazards that strike from time to time, you know what animals people can be.

  • respect cult

    I like you comments 

  • respect cult

    Looting is just a bonus. Getting to smash windows is the real reward. Bankers loot us all the time and use paid brain washed agents to do the violence by proxy. Tomato, Tomaato. Its a natural disaster plain and simple. No one to blame reality is chaotic this is just a show of it. Plus all that stuff is insured. Do you think insurance companies exist for no reason? Shit happens, no one is dying all is good. Soon the looters will have paying jobs in construction or at least real work to keep them busy.

  • respect cult

    The Zombie apocalypse its not about the undead, its about the unfed in more than just a nutritional sense. Or maybe its a virus (28 days later)

    • MoralDrift

      I’ve thought that for a while now, the zombies are the unfed masses come to eat your stockpile and maybe even you. Once the facade of society breaks down and the support systems cease to be, those of us with a more internal locus of control will be faced with the prospect of hordes of the mindless without direction and constant control, reduced to hungry beasts. Lest I sound too haughty, we will also have to face ourselves if we go hungry for long periods…..

      • Jin The Ninja

        the horror genre is rife with social implications- the zombie subgenre very much so. george romero pretty much codified the handbook on horror cinema subverting genre conventions to explore social themes.

  • respect cult

    The Zombie apocalypse its not about the undead, its about the unfed in more than just a nutritional sense. Or maybe its a virus (28 days later)

  • respect cult

    The Zombie apocalypse its not about the undead, its about the unfed in more than just a nutritional sense. Or maybe its a virus (28 days later)

  • respect cult

    thats true, but does not make logical sense, since living in close proximity with a more sophisticated infrastructure lowers the price of transportation of goods and people.

  • respect cult

    thats true, but does not make logical sense, since living in close proximity with a more sophisticated infrastructure lowers the price of transportation of goods and people.

  • respect cult

    thats true, but does not make logical sense, since living in close proximity with a more sophisticated infrastructure lowers the price of transportation of goods and people.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve thought that for a while now, the zombies are the unfed masses come to eat your stockpile and maybe even you. Once the facade of society breaks down and the support systems cease to be, those of us with a more internal locus of control will be faced with the prospect of hordes of the mindless without direction and constant control, reduced to hungry beasts. Lest I sound too haughty, we will also have to face ourselves if we go hungry for long periods…..

  • Anonymous

    the horror genre is rife with social implications- the zombie subgenre very much so. george romero pretty much codified the handbook on horror cinema subverting genre conventions to explore social themes.

  • Anonymous

    the horror genre is rife with social implications- the zombie subgenre very much so. george romero pretty much codified the handbook on horror cinema subverting genre conventions to explore social themes.

  • Anonymous

    i consider the biggest “animals” (although i do not choose to denigrate our nature-dwelling cousins in this way) in human society to be those that put on a suit, smile and institute (or perpetuate) policies that actively or even peripherally encourage horrific human rights abuses: food picked by slaves, pharma that explicitly encourages illness and long-term medication (as opposed to cures), manufacturing weapons, oil, and most financial services (credit unions notwithstanding).

  • Anonymous

    i consider the biggest “animals” (although i do not choose to denigrate our nature-dwelling cousins in this way) in human society to be those that put on a suit, smile and institute (or perpetuate) policies that actively or even peripherally encourage horrific human rights abuses: food picked by slaves, pharma that explicitly encourages illness and long-term medication (as opposed to cures), manufacturing weapons, oil, and most financial services (credit unions notwithstanding).

  • Anonymous

    i consider the biggest “animals” (although i do not choose to denigrate our nature-dwelling cousins in this way) in human society to be those that put on a suit, smile and institute (or perpetuate) policies that actively or even peripherally encourage horrific human rights abuses: food picked by slaves, pharma that explicitly encourages illness and long-term medication (as opposed to cures), manufacturing weapons, oil, and most financial services (credit unions notwithstanding).

  • Anonymous

    i consider the biggest “animals” (although i do not choose to denigrate our nature-dwelling cousins in this way) in human society to be those that put on a suit, smile and institute (or perpetuate) policies that actively or even peripherally encourage horrific human rights abuses: food picked by slaves, pharma that explicitly encourages illness and long-term medication (as opposed to cures), manufacturing weapons, oil, and most financial services (credit unions notwithstanding).

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    In retrospect…it looks like the horror of realizing that the police will happily explain away your death in the event that you are skullshot while fleeing…was enough to make Britons start getting rowdy. That shit happens every day in America and we don’t generally riot over it…and I commend the Brits for NOT being stoic and dignified about it.

    I’m not sure what can end the stalemate we’re in here in the states. We’re so rife with corruption in our legal system that we’re completely paralyzed. In some places, good people are in charge and clean house on their officers the best they can…and they get orderly, honest cops out of it. Other places, dirt dealing douchebags run the show and turn a blind eye to anything and everything…and they get crooked, violent gangsters for cops out of it.

    The angry part of me wants the 50-1 ratio solution…when a cop murders a civilian in cold blood…50 cops die in return. Fifty eyes for an eye, 100 teeth for a tooth. The sane,logical part me just wants to settle for actually holding individual police accountable for their actions…and this can ONLY be done if we snatch the process out of their hands. Police should not get to investigate police. The sheer volume of shit that never makes it to Internal Affairs in beyond comprehension. The thin blue line protects it own at all costs…both here and in England. We’ll never get anywhere while we keep the paradigm of law enforcement policing itself. We know it doesn’t work…and when we aren’t offered any alternatives…

    …into the streets people go.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    In retrospect…it looks like the horror of realizing that the police will happily explain away your death in the event that you are skullshot while fleeing…was enough to make Britons start getting rowdy. That shit happens every day in America and we don’t generally riot over it…and I commend the Brits for NOT being stoic and dignified about it.

    I’m not sure what can end the stalemate we’re in here in the states. We’re so rife with corruption in our legal system that we’re completely paralyzed. In some places, good people are in charge and clean house on their officers the best they can…and they get orderly, honest cops out of it. Other places, dirt dealing douchebags run the show and turn a blind eye to anything and everything…and they get crooked, violent gangsters for cops out of it.

    The angry part of me wants the 50-1 ratio solution…when a cop murders a civilian in cold blood…50 cops die in return. Fifty eyes for an eye, 100 teeth for a tooth. The sane,logical part me just wants to settle for actually holding individual police accountable for their actions…and this can ONLY be done if we snatch the process out of their hands. Police should not get to investigate police. The sheer volume of shit that never makes it to Internal Affairs in beyond comprehension. The thin blue line protects it own at all costs…both here and in England. We’ll never get anywhere while we keep the paradigm of law enforcement policing itself. We know it doesn’t work…and when we aren’t offered any alternatives…

    …into the streets people go.

    • Redacted

      I think flogging works wonders, personally. Police should and are held to a higher standard, after all, who watches the watchers? So when one makes a serious fuck up, tie the fucker to a pole and strip the skin off his back, one lash at a time.

      Military fucks people who screw up, so why not the Police?

  • Anonymous

    Now that this is mostly over, I never expected I would get the story reposted. But it’s nice to know that even a former military drone like me gets heard once in a while.

  • Redacted

    Now that this is mostly over, I never expected I would get the story reposted. But it’s nice to know that even a former military drone like me gets heard once in a while.

  • Anonymous

    I think flogging works wonders, personally. Police should and are held to a higher standard, after all, who watches the watchers? So when one makes a serious fuck up, tie the fucker to a pole and strip the skin off his back, one lash at a time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.tenner1 David Tenner

    You know all those big trucks you see everywhere?  If they stop for a few days, You got nuthin.  Your lifestyle grinds to a halt with them in days, not weeks or months.  There is a massive supply chain that sustains the global coproprate oligarchy.  You may not like being subjects of the corporations who collectively rule humanity, but you also depend on the supply chain to maintain whatever standard of living you attain.  The bigger question is, how low does the average standard of living of the working class sink (or dissappear for lack of a productive job) before the working (or unemployed/underemployed) class rebels?  And how close are we to this tipping point?

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.tenner1 David Tenner

    You know all those big trucks you see everywhere?  If they stop for a few days, You got nuthin.  Your lifestyle grinds to a halt with them in days, not weeks or months.  There is a massive supply chain that sustains the global coproprate oligarchy.  You may not like being subjects of the corporations who collectively rule humanity, but you also depend on the supply chain to maintain whatever standard of living you attain.  The bigger question is, how low does the average standard of living of the working class sink (or dissappear for lack of a productive job) before the working (or unemployed/underemployed) class rebels?  And how close are we to this tipping point?