The British Right and the Road to Serfdom
Britain needs a Tea Party, but not one that hits out against minorities. The risk is that Britain is heading down the Road to Serfdom, so we had better get this right, and get it right soon
Last week the Tea Party celebrated its 5th anniversary, 5 years since millions of citizens, disgruntled with out of control spending, a widening budget deficit and Obamacare decided to take a stand.
The Tea Party’s agenda of smaller, more accountable government and a massively simplified tax system has seen 48 Congressmen and 15 Senators voted into office in an electoral revolution that many thought impossible.
Meanwhile, despite all the talk of austerity and cuts to public finances in the UK, our state spending still stands at 45 percent of GDP. No matter how ''conservative'' the government claims to be, they are simply not adhering to conservative values.
As the Tea Party has shown, change from within is the best way to change anything. Well then, it's time for some change from within here too.
The entire premise of a grassroots campaign effecting real change isn't something we have a particular affinity for in the UK. We're far more inclined to allow party bosses to select a candidate that we will duly vote for because they're the least bad on the ballot paper, then go back to complaining about what politicians are doing to the country.
Anyone who wants to see a reduction in the role of the government but does nothing about it is guilty by inaction of the direction this country is taking: towards greater state intervention and spending.
Make no mistake, if there is no Tea Party-esque movement, there will be no change. As Grover Norquist put it when he spoke in London in July, we are on the Road to Serfdom and it will take a grassroots movement in the mould of the Tea Party to stop it.
As the rise of UKIP has shown, there is genuine anger with the political status quo in the UK just as there was in the United States. There is certainly, therefore, the base for change. But UKIP is on the outside looking in, and any gains they make will just result in Ed Miliband and his socialist nightmare getting in by the back door.
The Tea Party were smart enough to know that only by hijacking the system from within would they avoid splitting the vote on the Right and letting the left in.
So merely dividing the centre-right isn't the answer. It's about infiltrating the Conservative Party: taking advantage of the roll-out of primary elections to select small government candidates like Douglas Carswell and forcing the party leadership to move towards a real reduction in the size of the state.
Here, British conservatives could learn a lot of lessons from their counterparts across the pond. If there's anything that makes politicians stand up and take notice, it's high publicity campaigns and rallies that carry real electoral power behind them.
And the only thing that will ever scare politicians into action is the possibility of losing elections.
I'm not calling for a religion-led movement -- the kind of madness we see from Michele Bachman, Rick Santorum and others in the Tea Party ranting against gays and atheists. This has alienated moderates and marginalised some Tea Party members.
For a movement to be strong and bring about real change it needs as many members as possible, and by speaking out against minorities so flagrantly the Tea Party do themselves nothing but harm. If the British can manage to avoid this, then the march along the Road to Serfdom can be halted.
It's about time it is.
Elliot Burns is a freelance writer for The Commentator and others. He is also the Director of Political Policy at The Institute for Policy Design
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