Friday, 29 October 2010

Time for SANITEA?

If you're clued up with our Twitter and Facebook then you won't have missed news of 'Sanitea'.

Tomorrow over 60,000 people are expected to descend on Washington DC. They will be part of Jon Stewart's (of The Daily Show fame)'Rally to Restore Sanity'. The rally is a response to the grass-roots organising and rallies of the US tea-party (or independents') movement. It's about trying to open up a space, in US politics, for collaboration and dialogue, reasonable argument and sane discussion.

In the UK we, at the Independent Network, have been keeping an eye on the development of the US tea-party movement. We're a little worried that the tea-parties taking place across the Atlantic aren't keeping with the tradition of a tea-party: to have a civilized chat over a sanely sipped cuppa. We're also worried about their use of the name 'independents'. In our opinion the true measure of an independent is whether their policies grows from the firm foundations of the Bell Principles. These principles are all about a non-discriminatory, pluralistic and responsive politics. Currently the independent or tea-party movement in the States shows little commitment to such a set of principles.

So. We got thinking. We wondered whether we might hold our own Rally4Sanity in support of Jon Stewart's venture. But the more we thought about it, the more obvious it seemed that all things 'tea-party' belong to a very long British tradition. Instead of holding a rally we decided that the best way to reclaim the tea-party and the cause of an independently-minded politics was to hold a tea-party. And not just one tea-party, but three - across the regions and in London.

The setting for our London tea-party is Hays Galleria - the first and largest wharf for ships bringing tea into London (est. 1856) - in the Horniman pub. The Horniman was the name of the most prolific tea-merchant.

We will meet. We will drink tea. We will chomp on cucumber sandwiches. We will have political discussion and an opportunity to establish what independent politics is all about. Then we will look at our watches and decide, calmly, that it's time to go home.

Join us between 1pm - 3pm tomorrow because independent politics can be returned to Sanitea.

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