Guido is intrigued at how the U.S. Tea Party and the Labour Party can prosper at the polls without a leader. Arguably the lack of a Labour leader for the coalition to attack makes them less vunerable to the likely onslaught that is to come – the next leader of the Labour party will have his record in government thrown in his face – hard.
The Tea Party in the U.S. is consciously leaderless, they talk about being a “Starfish organisation”, drawing on some of the ideas in the bestselling book The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.
Some on the left see the Tea Party as a right-wing version of MoveOn.Org, the Soros-funded grassroots mobilisation campaign to support left-wing Democrats. Having met a few Tea Partiers, Guido thinks they are more about changing the political culture back from “Republicrat tax and spend”, to the limited government imagined by the founding fathers of the U.S. constitution. Jonathan Rauch has filmed this snippet on the organisational structure for the National Journal:Vodpod videos no longer available.
Rauch has done a serious investigation into the Tea Party that goes beyond the hysteria (“they’re rednecks!”) and looks at how they organise – the Monday night conference calls, the Ning online social network and the federated sister organisations. The Tea Partiers have very quickly put the fear of voters into the Republican Party.
Could it happen here? If the Coalition fails on the economy, if the VAT hike hits the consumer hard, the economy double dips, inflation and middle-class unemployment rises, you never know. The Coalition is offering no prospect of tax cuts, people may not be willing to accept a permanently high-tax culture…