Is the tea party going global? Not quite yet

The British media continue to be befuddled by the tea party movement both in the US and in their own country. Its not just the BBC and the Guardian routinely getting completely the wrong end of the stick about things. Even the mighty Telegraph has rather missed the point.

The delightfully named Crash Bang Wallace blog explains his frustration with the coverage.

“So far, the British media has struggled and failed to develop a plausible narrative for the Tea Party. It’s obvious how many would like to paint it: borderline racists, “only in America” nuttery, an unelectable lunacy dragging the Republicans away from the supposedly hallowed centre ground, a fringe group out of touch with most Americans and based exclusively in Hicksville.”

Needless to say the reaction to the British Tea Party launch has been equally bemused and unimpressed. Andrew Sullivan wrote this screed against both versions.

“I know that the Tory leadership has been particularly worried about the influence of small groups of Christianists potentially hijacking local nominations. But their numbers are mercifully minuscule compared to the US – which is why the British Conservatives have been able to tackle public spending directly without the baggage of religious dogmatism.”

He seems to think that Beckapalooza was a tea party and is convinced the tea party movement is solely Christian, which it clearly is not. Despite what critics on the left might say, the tea party movement is not a religious one.

The Spectator blog scoffs at the entire idea of a British tea party. He has a valid point, but the adoption of alternative voting, after next year’s referendum could charge the situation.

“This is one reason why there is no British Tea Party. The establishment party controls who is put on the ballot even in the so-called open primaries and, generally speaking, the party isn't going to risk putting forward for selection the British equivalents of O'Donnell or Rand Paul. Genuinely open primaries could change that and that's why no party, I think, has any desire to emulate the openness of the American system. Sometimes, you see, the “wrong” people win. “

How in an article on the launch of the UK movement, Simon Richards, head of the Freedom Association manages to set the record straight on who they are trying to attract.

“Simon Richards, director of The Freedom Association, said he was also being assisted by leading activists from Australia and Italy. “Lots of people feel left out by politics at the moment,” Mr Richards said. “It's not just taxes – they feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of government.””

Richards clearly understands the motivation of the tea party movement in the US and the rest of the world. Richards and his colleagues have closely followed the development of the US movement and hope to avoid some of the pratfalls.

The British tea party movement, while ironic in some ways, merely shows that government bloat, high taxes and the desire for freedom is not a wholly American concept.

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