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Friday, 19 February 2010


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What is admirable in the US is that a truly grass-roots movement - the Tea Parties - can get up and running and prove effective in months. The TPs have the machine apparatchiks of both the main parties wondering what to do next. The Republicans, of course, seeing that the TPs are conservatives and probably are "natural" supporters of the Republican Party seek to bring them into the Republican tent. However, as you have spotted, the election of Obama was a signal that "business as usual" is not an attractive proposition to a large part of the electorate. Palin plays to the not "business as usual" theme but, even so, the Republican machine (as the Democratic machine) is reluctant to change itself.

Contrast this democratic liveliness with our moribund polity. The 3 main parties have produced policies (on tax, the EU and climate change for example) which are indistinguishable. The only genuine alternative in the next general election is marginal: the possibility of a BNP, UKIP or Green MP being elected are vanishingly small. Even so, if an "independent" were elected, one swallow would not actually make a summer: the big 3's predictable response would (like Gordon's response to the fiscal deficit) be more of the same. There is, as yet, no grass-roots movement in the UK. My fear is that when the reaction comes - and I believe it will come - it will be ugly and violent: it will not be a civilised tea party.

Yes, 'Bongers', I go along with your 'American remarks' and one thing I am watching with keen interest is which way Mrs. Palin will move. I suspect she recognises that she needs the Republican machine to clinch her chances for a presidential run because third-party candidates have a poor history. However, I think she is trying to build her popularity to a level where they need her more than she needs them.

Like you, I guess, I am torn between my natural inclination to vote Tory but my impatience with Cameron & Co to give me some idea where they intend to go and what they intend to do. Alas, I think it's going to be UKIP for me! (I should add that I doubt whether UKIP could actually run the mythical piss up in a brewery were they actually to form a government but I needs must use them for my 'protest' vote.)

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