LONDON – Almost 250 years after the Boston Tea Party, problems are brewing again between the United States and the United Kingdom over hot drink.
This time it is unlikely to inspire a full-blown revolution, but it has sparked a very diplomatic but public difference of opinion between the British ambassador to the US and his American counterpart in London.
It all started when an American woman posted a video showing how to make “hot tea or British tea” on the social networking site TikTok. The woman, who posts under the username “jchelle36”, describes herself as an “American living in the UK”. On Instagram, he says her name is Michelle.
His demo did not win over his fans in the UK, to say the least, and comments were flooded.
One said he was referring to “having a heart attack,” another called it “a crime,” while many called it “watery milk.”
It is not the first time that “jchelle36” has caused controversy with one of his videos, which are clearly designed as a joke. She has gotten a similar response to her “UK eggs” recipe.
But this time, diplomats decided it was time to assess the controversy that threatened to spoil the strong transatlantic alliance.
Dame Karen Pierce, British ambassador to the United States and former president of the United Nations Security Council, responded with a video of her own, posted on Twitter.
He explained that “the Anglo-American relationship is defined by tea,” referring to the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
The direct action led by the Sons of Liberty in Boston against the Tea Law, which allowed the British East India Company to sell tea in the American colonies without paying taxes, was one of the factors that contributed to the American Revolution, he finally saw the 13th The colonies defeat Britain and establish the United States.
Pierce’s video featured three branches of Britain’s armed forces, which did what a Royal Navy sailor called “a cup of tea.”
But if you thought that was the end of the matter, you were very wrong, as Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador to the UK, responded with a video of his own.
“I am going to make a cup of American coffee, as I do every day, responding to Ambassador Pierce’s perfect cup of tea and his instructions,” he said.
Then she poured a bottle of water into a teapot, put a spoon of instant coffee in a cup, before adding a pinch of milk.
“Have a good day,” he said.
Pierce has yet to respond, but the joyous dispute comes at a difficult time for the alliance, which after decades of parenting by presidents and prime ministers, is enduring some of its toughest tests.
With economic uncertainty over Britain following its exit from the European Union, a process known as Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs the UK’s old ally more than ever to forge a new free trade agreement.
The country has seen its currency drop and its AAA credit rating dropped. It also faces the possibility of EU tariffs and trade restrictions.
Meanwhile, under President Donald Trump, relations with traditional allies in Europe have become strained with him testing long-standing norms and emerging from widely-backed international agreements, such as the Paris Agreement and the nuclear deal with Iran.