Libertarian US Tea Party organizations attended a conference in London today… and described their activities as ‘an insurgent campaign’ against their government’s tax and spending policies. The move reflects an increasing desire within rightwing circles to establish a British version of the Tea Party ‘uprising’ and a growing belief that expected union action against the coalition government’s programme of cuts could be harnessed to mobilise vocal counter-demonstrations.
I’m curious to see what a British tea party would look like. Would it have the same wide streak of racism that runs through the US party? The same inflated attendance numbers? One would hope that British anti-tax activists would not adopt “teabonics” but then, the 1773 Boston Tea Party was virulently anti-British, so who knows? It’s a topsy turvy world.
Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity (AFP) are two of the tea party groups that are advising the British TaxPayers’ Alliance in grassroots activism, though both sides are open about the fact that such “grassroots” events are often financed, promoted, or supplied by large, established right-wing groups. The conference itself is being paid for by the Heritage Foundation and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and is attended by reps from Philip Morris, BP, and a climate change denial thinktank called the Global Warming Policy Foundation whose Board of Advisors is composed of five Lords, one Baroness, a Sir, a bishop, and one poor title-less Frenchman. I confess I’m a bit surprised to see tea partiers, who pride themselves on being ‘salt of the earth’ kind of folks, hobnobbing with BP and British lords. Despite the differences in background, though, the American partiers and the British Global Warming Policy Foundation show a similar know-nothing approaches to reality. GWPF ignores rising sea levels in favor of slamming the IPCC, and the tea partiers ignore the fact that a Republican president initiated TARP bailouts in favor of slamming Obama. Maybe this bi-coastal tea party will work out after all. Pass the scones, please.