TOP secret contingency plans have been drawn up to counter the threat posed by a “summer of discontent” in Britain.
The “double-whammy” of the worst economic crisis in living memory and a motley crew of political extremists determined to stir up civil disorder has led to the extraordinary step of the Army being put on standby.
MI5 and Special Branch are targeting activists they fear could inflame anger over job losses and payouts to failed bankers. One of the most notorious anarchist websites, Class War, asks: “How to keep warm during the credit crunch? Burn a banker.”
Such remarks have rung alarm bells in Scotland Yard and the Ministry of Defence. Intelligence sources said the police, backed by MI5, are determined to stay on top of a situation that could spiral out of control as the recession bites deep.
The chilling prospect of soldiers being drafted on to the streets has not been discounted, although it is regarded as a last resort.
What worries emergency planners most is that the middle classes, now struggling to cope with unemployment and repossessions, may take to the streets with the disenfranchised.