Over the last few days there has been a media offensive by the right wing of British Politics, namely the Tax Payers Alliance, UKIP and Rally Against Debt. UKIP have apparently obtained the right use the term “Tea Party”, if or when it decides to create an American style Tea Party movement against government spending.
The Tax Payers Alliance explained on various media outlets how they represented the “Silent Majority” in the UK and need to show their voice is heard in the debate.
So the question surely is – Are they the SILENT MAJORITY. It is a phrase easily used quite often when people are losing either the argument or the possibility of political power.
Recently we have heard the likes of Polly Toynbee talking up the existence of a progressive alliance, the idea that actually most people in the UK are progressives in their political thinking and that they represent the majority. Yet the facts do not back this up. Over the past 30 years we have had right wing governments, pretty much exclusively, with a quasi Tory party existing within the Labour Party power structure. This does not show a “silent majority”.
In March this year we had a “March For An Alternative” – that attracted over Half a million men, women and children who marched through the capital against the cuts.
Yesterday we had 350 people with banners stating they quite like them. Does this show a “silent majority”? I think not.
The tax payers Alliance has been arguing that we should be performing MORE CUTS and not less, and not ring fencing vital services.
There is also a European dimension to this with both UKIP and the Tax Payers Alliance largely anti Europe.
What this shows is not that there is a silent majority for the cuts, but that the fringe right wing pressure groups have something in common with those in power. They are influencing policy at the heart of government and stand along side mainstream politicians on a platform to reduce public spending on an ideological basis.
I neither think this is a “majority”, or that there is an appetite for a “Tea party” movement in the UK. The fringes of the right claim they are note being heard, when in reality they have a few of their fingers on the levers of power.