A Progressivel Tea Party
February 9, 2011 2:09 PM   Subscribe

"Imagine a parallel universe where the Great Crash of 2008 was followed by a Tea Party of a very different kind.... The name of this parallel universe is Britain." The UK's Progressive Tea Party.
posted by wittgenstein (25 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Crap! A typo. Maybe they are very fond of Esquivel.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:22 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The public demanding a rational response to a political problem?

Britain must be really poorly off to be this short on billionaires.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:23 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wasn't this tried, with protests and gatherings on Wall Street, which were completely ignored by mainstream media and politicians?
posted by Blackanvil at 2:30 PM on February 9, 2011

I wonder how this could work in America? There are certain services that tea-party, older types like that they think of as things they deserve, instead of "entitlements" for "other" (read as: black) people. Libraries are one of those things. Medicare is another. What if you did a poster campaign that said something like "Wish they hadn't cut hours at the library? Thank BIG CORPORATE TAX DODGER!" Followed by similar sit-in and boycott protests. I bet that once you start finger pointing at these offenders with services that they feel entitled to you might start to see results. The biggest problem I can see right now would be finding the right cut services to highlight.
posted by codacorolla at 2:37 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really liked that they could point to one company (Verizon) evading tax owed to the government of the same amount as the government had to cut from housing, throwing thousands out onto the street.

Concrete examples like that really resonate with people, and get things fired up, because people simply do not realize the scale of the tax dodging vs the paucity that can be saved by deep slashing of critical services.

When you can point to real people affected, and actual Parks/Libraries/Hospitals being closed because your asshole phone company refuses to pay the taxes that it owes, after having already inflates your phone bill with said taxes, which you then paid to said company on the understanding that they were TAXES, then that's something that will unite constituents in rage, and a united constituency is much harder for a politician to ignore.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:52 PM on February 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Here's UK Uncut web site.
posted by warbaby at 2:53 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think you're thinking of the Coffee Party, which pitched itself as moderate and was pretty much in-line with and created by the Democrats, IIRC. It was pathetic. Even on issues that were fairly binary, like DADT, it called for compromises.

It was basically a me-too effort that made the mistake of being fairly transparent in its astroturfing. Sadly, I blame the Democrats. They're just plain not as liberal as their base, so they didn't have enough people.

And it's hard to pitch a moderate condition. People like to yell about extremes.

The Rally to Restore Sanity was sort of an exception, although it was more about tone and keeping arguments bound in reality rather than policy, as many people falsely assumed.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:54 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

When and why the fuck is paying your taxes a left-wing thing?
posted by wilful at 3:04 PM on February 9, 2011 [12 favorites]

Wasn't this tried, with protests and gatherings on Wall Street?

Talk about unclear on the concept. Did you even read the article?

Even on issues that were fairly binary, like DADT, it called for compromises.

Which has about as much impact on the budget as my taste in neckties.

tl;dr pick your battles; stick with one clear message instead of seeing how many you can fit under one umbrella; don't call for diversity, employ it as your recruiting policy. Ideological litmus tests for membership are for rent-seekers.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:34 PM on February 9, 2011

In Britain, people think everyone should pay their fair share of taxes so that the government is able to provide essential services no other organization can; in the US the only legitimate role of government is to kill our enemies and keep the Mexicans on the other side of the border. All the uproar here is for smaller government and lower taxes.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:52 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

In the UK, they blame the bankers and super-rich.
In the US, they blame gays, feminists and egghead college professors.
posted by acb at 4:40 PM on February 9, 2011 [7 favorites]

It's nice of you all to think that the British public are managing to stand up to the rich, but we're not really. A couple of protests that have achieved nothing are not the beginnings of a revolution.
posted by seanyboy at 4:48 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Somewhat related piece on a change in UK tax law.
posted by djgh at 5:05 PM on February 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

A proposed change rather.
posted by djgh at 5:06 PM on February 9, 2011

When and why the fuck is paying your taxes a left-wing thing?

Because the US right wing does not believe that the government has a right to collect taxes. Period. Full stop. No taxes. No government. The free market fairy will make it all ok.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:07 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I saw this article previously, and have thought about it for a couple of days. It overstates the importance of the UK Uncut movement in UK affairs which, despite what the article says, is still below critical mass at a national level and could easily disappear in a few wet weekends and a national distraction. The biggest potential ally for the movement would have been a LibDem party untainted by association with the previous government, and at best neutral towards the incumbents. The LibDems instead chucked their lot in with the Tories, overestimating their influence on policy and underestimating the opprobrium that would accompany a cosy arrangement with the Nasty Party.

Maybe, just maybe, (and I say this as someone further left than any of the mainstream parties), if the LibDems could have kept their powder dry, perhaps with a supply-and-confidence deal, there may have been an opportunity to join forces with the UK Uncut crew and form a cohesive and credible grass roots and political opposition to the current slash and burn idiocracy. Alas, that is not the case, and we now have a popular movement that's crying out for some organisation and leadership. I wonder if a few of the LibDem Left such as Charlie Kennedy and Evan Harris might not be better off jumping ship and trying their luck with the the plebs? I don't think they've got too much to lose.
posted by Jakey at 5:44 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

seanyboy: It's nice of you all to think that the British public are managing to stand up to the rich, but we're not really. A couple of protests that have achieved nothing are not the beginnings of a revolution

Maybe not, but it's more than we could be bothered to do over here, so good on ya'.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:53 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your local Oxfam wants you!
posted by clavdivs at 5:54 PM on February 9, 2011

There actually is a UK Tea Party, launched by Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan. assisted by Roger Helmer, MEP. He's launched it two years in a row now.
posted by quarsan at 10:18 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do check out djgh's link (further comment on Monbiot's piece at Tax Justice), which I'd say is more than somewhat related - highlights precisely how this administration's response is driven by their ideology and the needs of the special interests who back them not any sort of 'good house-keeping'. And all the above goes some way to answering why being in favour of everyone paying their taxes is 'left-wing', even if it may not be the utopian model you have for some ideal future.
posted by Abiezer at 11:10 PM on February 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

It may be small, but it's still good to read.

that said, it's so fucking stupid that companies making money in the UK aren't paying taxes there. It shouldn't matter where their "offices" are -- what matters are where the shops are.

complete derail: a bunch of my British friends make fun of my Canadian habit of saying "a bunch of" for groups of non-bananas, like a "bunch of people" or a "bunch of stores". I just realised that lots of Brits use "loads" in the same way -- and now I'm so going to rib them for it.
posted by jb at 12:30 AM on February 10, 2011

I like how the shed is the unit for the largest load - makes shed loads of sense if you think about it (or is it just a euphemism for shit loads?)
posted by Abiezer at 1:01 AM on February 10, 2011

Jakey, the Lib Dems have never been a suitable party for the kind of cooperation you describe, even before the Orange Bookers took over. They're an opportunistic none-of-the-above franchise, left of Labour where that works, more Tory than the Tories if that's the local flavour, more europhile than anyone where that works and almost europhobic in places.

And now, when they have to make decisions despite facing in all directions, the wheels come off. Inevitable, really.

The Green Party have been more involved. See this blogpost for a similar but briefer point to the one Hari makes.
posted by imperium at 1:39 AM on February 10, 2011

In the UK, the Great Recession inspired ordinary people to take on corporate tax evaders—with enormous success.

I must have been asleep when the enormous success happened.
posted by Segundus at 1:42 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Agreed, Segundus.

I thought this article was some kind of 'counter-factual' thing because its description of the media portrayal of the protests was so far removed from the actual media portrayal of the protests. The Vodaphone event got about 8 seconds of footage on the 10 'o'' clock news, right after ten minutes of the usual "violent anarchists breaking windows" routine.

Best of luck to UK Uncut. I think they've shown a lot of intelligence in their actions. It is certainly a big improvement on the usual mass demonstration model, which is now worse than doing nothing because of the way the media can present it. A million people, well-mannered, nice Volvo-driving taxpayers marched to stop the illegal war in Iraq (Hari was on the wrong side of that argument) and it was completely ignored. The protest had no effect other than to assure liberals that they had done all they could, and so had licence to watch the war on TV whilst tutting and saying, "When will people learn ? (to be as clever as me)"
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 5:09 AM on February 10, 2011

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