In late February this year, the Maily Telegraph carried a short piece by arch Europhobe and occasional Tory MEP Dan, Dan the Oratory Man. In it, Hannan announced the inauguration of the British Tea Party Movement. Very few people noticed.
Undeterred, the idea of a UK Tea Party took root – but only with those very few people, mind. So it is that organisations like the Freedom Association, which are only mildly barking, have taken up the idea. Typical of the publicity push is Stephen Hoffman’s piece on the FA website from yesterday. It does, at least, make a change from their incessant whingeing about the EU.
But still very few people are noticing. What to do? Well, there is one media outlet that has honed the art of inflating non-stories way beyond their real size and shelf life, and now it’s trying to work that dubious magic on the UK Tea Party: step forward our old friends at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
Fresh from their blatant cheerleading for the Tea Partiers in the US Mid-Terms, where they helped the GOP lose Senate races in Nevada, Colorado, Delaware and probably Alaska, Fox have decided that “The Tea Party Movement Gains Traction In The UK”. It does? When did that happen? Perhaps I blinked and missed it.
This, though, is to underestimate the ability of Fox to manipulate news for their own ends: this video has managed to include footage of a recent student protest as if it were part of the UK Tea Party. More disturbingly, they have also featured, albeit briefly, the EDL as if they were also on board.
Otherwise, though, Fox are reduced to calling the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance “one of the largest [groups] in Britain with a Tea Party slant”. The TPA, as any fule kno, is dedicated solely to demonising Government – any Government – along with public works and public service. It has no significant grassroots presence, being merely one of many – too many – Astroturf lobby groups.
But they have found a real MP prepared to talk to them, one Robert Halfon. Who he? Well, he just won Harlow at the third attempt, and thinks Sarah Palin (Fox News contributor) is wonderful. And he’s a supporter of homeopathy.
But Fox don’t tell you the last bit. That might suggest that the UK Tea Party is not quite in the mainstream.