See Dub Profile picture
Jul 22, 2018 28 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I'm going to start another uber-thread, this one on #prepping for a no-deal crash-out #brexit. The main theme is going to be that the best #BrexitSurvivalKit is a prepared community working together, not a shopping list. 1/x
This thread is inspired by a number of things. I was about to go and buy some dried food, before deciding that there would be little point. Also, for work reasons I know a bit about UK civil defence and food policy in WW2 and the lessons we can learn from this.
Most ‘Prepping’ only ever makes sense in a low-population density context. This is Great Britain. I can cycle the length of it in ten days. There is nowhere to run to: we stand or fall here.
Our level of _political_ trust in each other is being eroded because <reasons>, but we are a high-trust society still, in our social and economic transactions -- particularly those involving necessities. If we retreat from high trust, the complex systems will fail.
Intermission1. This is the sort of thing people can do if we pull together.
To resist the disruption, therefore, we should not be retreating behind our front doors and weighing rice: we should be outside them, talking to our neighbours, plugging ourselves into networks, strengthening these, and connecting them together.
The networks we can use best are the ones where we live. So, don’t join any refugee exodus (NB for some, such as those with dependent relatives, relocation is a necessary option – that’s OK, just make sure you do the same shtick there).
Food, water, power, social and medical care, emergency response – these are the things which need to keep working like clockwork during the events. How can you help this happen? Do you have family or friends who work in those sectors? Ways to help…
Helping people could be: letting them know there’s a spare car and phone if they need it to get to work. Babysit. Offer to make sure their elderly relatives are OK. Do their shopping for them if they need to kip over between shifts. Etc.
Do you have skills (and associated tools) which could come in handy? Can you drive a lorry? Mend things? Connect 12v lighting? Change a nappy? Cook a meal for 30 in a community centre kitchen? Run a neighbourhood watch scheme?
Things which are currently boring and dull but might suddenly get very important and interesting: Local government; RVS; WI; the British Red Cross; St John Ambulance; radio ham networks; food bank networks; commercial homecare providers; pharmacists.
Local authorities have a statutory duty to keep an emergency plan up to date. As we learned last year, RBKC weren’t very good at this. Is your council? Maybe contact your local councillor privately to ask if they can review their plan for Brexit disruption?
Intermission2. GOOD NEWS! My friend the magnetosphere expert reckons that a repeat of the Carrington Event (massive C19th magnetic storm) wouldn’t screw us up, provided that we used the notice we get to switch off the power grids while it passes. Optical fibre FTW!
The label ‘Law and order’ has been used to justify oppression, punishment, and containment. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing. Complex societies are maintained because nearly everyone expects civic peace to endure and personal property rights to be respected.
Resist the temptation to expropriate anything at this stage. One way to divert would-be expropriators from doing this is to recruit the more practical of them to the neighbourhood organising committee.
Prevent looting (expropriation done by poorer people). Once retailers see the public as potential looter, not potential customers, credit dries up. To reduce this risk, make sure that some of the potential looters have actual paid tasks to do during the events, helping out.
Shorter Home Front Lessons: the British did better than anyone else, 1938-45, because their government had a high degree of political legitimacy, and was willing to mobilise people from across the political spectrum to get things done. Jack Jones, FFS!
So – this is actually a moment to pull together: it’s OK, you don’t have to salute the flag if you don't want to. There are any number of leftist self-organisation victories -- including Workers Aid and the support for Calais refugees -- for us to think of instead.
Keep party politics about the, um, broader issues out of it. If yours is the correct view, then success of the resilience endeavour will undoubtedly prove your point, right? Reserve a space for political organisation, but keep it separate from resilience activity.
Make sure that everyone gets included in the relief effort. This might involve working with religious groups you don’t particularly like – on the other hand, this is likely to be one of those rare points where you get to talk to their congregations directly…
Also re politics: now is a good time to (temporarily?) big up the unlucky saps who are currently elected representatives. Like it or not, they’ve got a moral authority which technocrats lack, they won an election. They need to be endorsing and fronting things.
Got any mates who work in media? Maybe remind them privately that master-narratives about how it’s all falling to bits, ‘other’ people are taking the piss, etc, are likely to lead to a pitchforks/torches situation which won’t spare their advertisers.
Now might be a good time to visit your local councillors’ surgery and talk about emergency plans? Maybe check out the St John Ambulance, the BRC, the WVS? If some techno-hippies are running a mending session, say hi.
Have you got a local community centre? (NB this might be called a ‘church’ or a ‘temple’, etc) Who runs it? What programmes does it host? Could you find your way round its kitchen? Make a note of its phone number.
Make a note of lots of phone numbers, and addresses.
And now, to end, a cheery tune. Thanks for your time.
I make that 26/26.
Correction above - I conflated the WI and the RVS into a fictitious org called the WVS. This hasn't existed for decades, if at all.

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More from @Chris_A_W

Jul 11, 2018
Hey, UK HE hive mind, where do I go for the most up-to-date report on the way that students who have full-time caring responsibilities (particularly those who have been carers in childhood) face systemic barriers when participating in HE? @ucu @oubucu #wideningparticipation
But, @nusuk there's no link to the PDF of the report. Can you stick it back up there?
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Part one of a series of posts explaining why I think there's about to be another crisis in UK HE. 1/x
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This announcement by @PeterHorrocks didn't surprise me (though the salary context did) because he'd already said to the Guardian in Nov 2017 that he was planning "many, many hundreds of job losses in the university". 3/x…
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