Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mad Rant: British "Tea Party"

It was recently reported (by Fox News Channel at least) that the “Tea Party” movement has spread to Great Britain. The first such tea party will be held in Brighton with the main attraction being conservative MEP Daniel Hannan who is most famous for the eloquent dressing-down he gave Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Strasbourg in 2009. There are many things I like about Mr. Hannan and a great many things I agree with him on like cutting government spending and opposition to the EU. There were some things he has said that smelled bad to me but I attributed it to the fact that he said them on American television and was likely trying to ‘make nice’ with the host. After a while though a mad man has to start to wonder…

I should also say that in general I am in favor of these tea parties as have been breaking out in the US since the TARP fiasco. However, all of that aside, I have to say there is something I find rather off-putting about the idea of anything being called a “tea party” being held in Great Britain. I am generally in favor of that which is being advocated by the tea parties but, in Britain especially, could they not find an example to follow in their own history rather than borrowing from America?

This, I assure you, is not because of any jealousy on behalf of the Boston tea party (probably would have been on the other side of that little bit of vandalism) but because I hate to see European “conservatives” following the example of American “conservatives”. Liberals in the US have long followed the example of European liberals because they are further down the socialist path than America. The same could not be expected on the right for the simple reason that there is hardly any real conservatism left in Europe these days and because American conservatives can, by the nature of the founding of the country, go right only so far as the Revolutionary War will allow them.

However, real traditional conservatism came from Europe; they should have plenty in their own history to draw from that is even the more legitimate “real thing” than what the most right-wing folks in America can muster. The whole idea of a tea party in Britain sounds like something anti-war Whigs would have done in 1776 to thumb their nose at Lord North and King George; not something done by what will probably be a mostly Tory crowd in Britain today. I don’t like people who blame everything on America nor do I approve of those who wish to follow the American example in absolutely everything. Surely in the long history of Great Britain there is something in their own tradition they could adopt instead of borrowing from a group of people who were actually the enemies of Britain? I still wish them the best of course, I also wish they would do something a little more “British” and monarchial and of course I am … The Mad Monarchist.


  1. I don't mind the name as much as the Politics behind it, for Britain. The name is just a carry over from the movements American Origins, and it makes sense that it'd be brought over as that was the name that mad International Headlines. Why change the Brand Name when you already have name recognition? The fact that Tory's are largley behind the British Tea Party Movement and yet opposed toe Boston Tea Party is more of a Historical Irony than something I worry about.

    That said, The Tory's and Labour Agreed that Britain needed ot be Democratised and updated for the 21st Century, and both agreed to getting rid of the Hereditary Peerage as it wa sunthinkable that in the 21st Century we'd have an Unelected House of Legislature. They both also generally supported the Creation of the Supreme Court in the UK.

    The TEA Party's Principle advocates and writers are all American, or base their ideas on American thinking, and the result will be that the TEA Party in the UK will lead to more American-style "Reforms" that takes Britain away form its past and brings it closer to resembling an American-style Republic.

    I'm far more worried about that since the TEA Party's themselves are a sign of just hlwow Broken that SYstem is, and despoite what the TEA Party's main thinking seems ot be, you cna't fix the problems inherant in the system by simply VOting the Bums out or imposing Term Limits or making the SUpreme Court Elected. The Answer is not even going back to the Vision of our Founding Fathers. The System itself creates the problems they see, yet they think the system is perfect and the flaw is not following it.

    If Britain goes down this road, expect more Scottish Nationalism, more multiCultural Divisions, and more general Political divides. We now speak of "Two Americas", just imagine what happens if American Neo-Conservative political thinking takes hold of the Tory's. You'd have two, and possibly three, Britain's.

  2. I would agree, it is not simply the name that I find objectionable but the overall following of America's example. It has happened too often in the past and at the very least only leads to America being blamed for European problems. That being said, I have heard nothing from the British Tea Party about the objectionable items mentioned but only support of the economic position -cutting taxes and cutting government spending, and it is that with which I am in agreement and would be for any country.

    Although it is not exactly related to the above subject, I have often been frustrated by the American neo-con fawning over Tony Blair. As far as I can tell this is exclusively related to his support for the Iraq war but, as I try to point out to these types, Blair is an open socialist who has done immense damage to British traditions and obviously not the sort of man anyone calling themself any kind of conservative should be supportive of.

  3. Its more than Blair's support for Iraq. Blair has always been Popular in the United States. People tend to think of him as the man who would FINALLY bring Britain out of the ark Ages and into th Proper, modern, Advanced state of the world. Blair more than any Prime Minister before him had been Hell Bent on creating a British Republic and becoming President. He's more "American", in that way.

    The fact is, most American NEo-COns can't even grasp the concept that England hasn't had a Monarchy of its own since 1707, and instead refer to Her Majesty the Queen as "The Queen of England", have no idea the Lords have been Reformed and will soon be divested of its Remaining Hereditary Peers, and can't really understand that the Commons controls virtually everything int he most Democratically elected way possible.

    They don't bother with British Politics, and see only the glossy Image of Blair, so they really don't comprehend the Depths of his Socialism. In fact, most Americans think of him as a Fellow Neo-Con.

    The fact that Blair's Principle political beliefs do align with American thinking and he is an outright Amerophile who wants to reshape Britain into a New Version of the American Republic shouldn't really be ignored in his High Esteem over here either.

    To them, America IS the Solution, and everyone n the world should be like America. Combine this with their Ignorance of what Blair really is, a Hard Core Socialist, and you get them seeing him as the man who will Bring Britain to Greatness by Installing Americanic changes.

  4. Given how appalling a rump the Commons are now, I think that an unelected House of Lords is really the only way to balance the system. To replace it with a democratically elected Senate would destroy not only a unique institution, but a superb counter-balance to the short-sighted Commons.

    And Zarove is right - neo cons think that every nation on Earth should be a little America, and any traditions or actual practical benefits to alternate forms of government are dismissed (as they were in Afghanistan and Iraq with their respective monarchies).

    I think Hannan is also quite enamoured by America. I'm not sure if that extends to him being a republican, but certainly he does want to constrain the government as best he can, which is ingrained in the American conservative conscience.

    Again, I think you're right that Europe should draw on its own traditions of conservatism if it is to rally against the multi-cultural republican elite, rather than importing American conservatism, since the latter is, as you say, tinged with the Whig's touch. However, a part of the problem is Godwin's Law, reductio ad Hitlerum. However, it is becoming generally seen that the invocation of Godwin's Law is an unconditional surrender by the invoker. Still, it's sticky mud, and the crisis of confidence that Hitler's brutality has caused in the entirety of Western civilisation still bears with us to this day.

    However, such attacks do not answer the concerns of the conservative population, and as such, the longer the ideas are left, ignored, or ridiculed, the more powerful they become.

    What is the process? First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hate you, and then you win.

    So long as the British tea parties maintain an independence of issue (keeping it to reducing government expenditure and debt, etc), and do not attempt to lobby for Britain to become America-Lite, then they will do well. With the internet, these movements are extremely hard to ignore and counter, unlike any time before in history.

  5. I'm writing from Canada, so I don't have a horse in this race specifically.

    Nevertheless, I wonder a lot about what "reducing government spending" and "cutting red tape" *mean* exactly.

    Reducing duplication and increasing efficiency?

    Or getting rid of national parks, auctioning off museum artifacts to the highest bidder, and lowering food safety standards?

    So I really want to know *exactly* what it is the Tea Party types have in mind before I start cheering.

  6. "Or getting rid of national parks, auctioning off museum artifacts to the highest bidder, and lowering food safety standards?"

    -That would be my first guess. They'd probably also want to lower pay for teachers, close schools, disband the police and fire department and probably ditch the emergency services too.

    The important thing is that funding for politicians pensions, in-door rain forests, studies of prostitution in China, union boss retirement funds, travel for politicians' families, saving the delta smelt and works of art that insult religion. Those of course would be the priorities for all reasonable people.

    For you in Canada obviously you would want to close national parks and lower food safety standards before stopping things like providing free drugs to heroin addicts. Again -every country *must* keep its priorities in order.

    And if anyone cannot pick up the sarcasm here, you really should see a doctor...

    The Tea Party crowd in the US has been pretty specific about what they oppose -the bank bailouts, the state taking over the car companies and the effort to takeover the healthcare system which would represent about a sixth of the economy. In Britain I would imagine there are even more possibilities -the biggest of which would be the NHS (not that any politician would have the guts to oppose it) which is so bloated it is actually the third largest employer in the world behind the Indian national railway and the People's liberation Army -quite a horde for a small country like Britain.

  7. Kathleen cant be fully blamed. As much as I have reservations about the TEA Party myself, I am appauled by the Media Coverage. Most seem to wantot depict the TEA party as a group of whiote racists who hate Obama because he's black, and who are ultra right wing NAZI's who want to take over the United States and create that dreaded theocracy were Homosexuals ar emobbed in the Street and were no one but the rich have a say in anything.

    It seems the worst Sterotypes given to Conservatives over the years is basiclaly applied to the TEA Party and doubled. So perhaps our Canadian Friend is simply beign mislead.

  8. Perhaps so, I wasn't try to be hard on anyone, I just have a rather sarcastic nature I suppose. In this country anyway, as I'm sure you know, that is the first thing you hear when anyone starts talking about cutting government spending or shrinking government. They never bring up the innumerable wasteful policies of the government but immediately start shouting about cutting police, firing teachers, taking away free lunch for children and old people eating dog food. It's usually a distraction tactic though, that being said, whenever it comes to cutting government programs one reason it is rarely done is because what is wasteful to one person is absolutely vital to someone else.


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