Abstract painting of subject, generated by DALL-E 2

Name our Tea Party

22 Mar 2009 - Bruno Prior

There is a movement developing in the States to send tea-bags to senior Democrats (including the President) and to hold local "Tea Parties", in reference to the Boston Tea Party, in objection to the massive Obama programme of bail-outs and public "investment". One could quibble about the precision of the analogy, but in essence it's a nice way of using American history to draw people together and illustrate the dangers of heavy-handed government. The Americans intuitively treasure this tradition and distrust the state.

I was trying to think what historical event we would use in the UK if we wanted something similar to symbolize the people rising up for liberty and against tax-unfairness and oppression by an overmighty state. After thinking about this for a couple of weeks and discussing it with a few friends, I don't think we have such an event in our history. Which tells you something about Britain, doesn't it?

I reckon a couple of factors are significant: (a) our establishment has generally known just how far they could push their authority without causing rebellion, and (b) where there was resistance, the opposition was usually led by another bunch who were just as authoritarian. There are probably many other factors, but whatever they are, they all combine to make us a particularly supine (what we might like to think of as "phlegmatic") lot.

The upshot is that British classical-liberalism is like the frog in the slowly-warming pot. And the water is reaching boiling point.

Can anyone think of a suitable event?

Locations: UK

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