Britain embarrasses itself again. Not in my name says Steve Beauchampé.
So Desperate of Downing Street has dashed with unseemly haste to Washington, eager to be seen fawning over Donald Trump, the lying, racist, misogynistic, narcissistic, tax dodging, five times bankrupt new occupant of the White House. Where other national leaders gave a restrained, diplomatic welcome to the incoming US President, British Prime Minister Theresa May and her coterie of hardcore Brexiteer colleagues have been more than eager to form an alliance with Trump, keen to secure a free trade deal between the UK and the US following the Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, keen to, in her words: “unite to lead the world, together”. Let’s hope that when the Prime Minister arrives for her meeting at the White House Nigel Farage isn’t sitting there too.
Official rhetoric surrounding Theresa May’s visit will naturally be positive. Given her belief that the two countries enjoy a special relationship, as well as Trump’s distaste for the EU and admiration for our decision to leave, it is easy to understand why. Yet the new administration in Washington espouses a brand of authoritarian nationalism, with its avowedly protectionist outlook as regards international trade and its doctrine of America first and always, buy American, employ American. Which does not augur well for Britain, as Theresa May seeks a quick bi-lateral (or should that be bespoke?) trade deal.
With the UK’s pressing need for a US trade deal, the Prime Minister is unlikely to cite concern about Trump’s behaviour, views and actions on any of a whole panoply of issues during their meeting. Following pressure at home she was forced to raise concern at the implications should the US re-introduce torture on terror suspects but her speech to senior Republicans in Philadelphia on Thursday was fulsome in its praise for both Trump and her audience, with any cautionary notes hard to spot above the obsequiousness.
But in essence Theresa May and her government colleagues are happy to look the other way, to ignore both Trump’s grossest outbursts and his most outlandish policies. It’s a response that increasingly describes the UK in 2017 (May also visits Ankara and autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday – cue more handshakes and smiles with a ruthless leader); as we prepare to leave the EU we’ll sell anything to anyone, no matter the consequences, the morals, the ethics.
Weapons to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain? kerching; Got nuclear waste? …we’ll store it; Looking for an unregulated offshore tax haven? you’re welcome; Want a wall built? …we’ve got the builders. Britain is open for business… and it’s EU regulation free business! The barriers are down and if we want free trade deals, particularly with the US, where Trump intends scrapping at least 70% of business regulations, then the UK may have to submit to importing dodgy overpriced pharmaceuticals, low grade food, unsafe consumer goods.
Back in the USA, the warning signs are everywhere. In less than a week Trump has already shown that not only is he temperamentally unfit to be US President, but via a catalogue of erratic, impulsive and extreme actions and statements he also appears to be seriously psychologically deficient too and not a little megalomaniacal.
After a bizarre and ungracious self-written inauguration speech, and a pointless spat with the media about the size of the crowd at his inauguration ceremony, Trump tried re-writing history about his relationship with the CIA, made unsubstantiated claims about the number of construction jobs two controversial oil pipelines would create whilst claiming that he was an award winning environmentalist. Almost missed in this nonsensical blizzard was Trump’s assertion that the US should have taken Iraq’s oil after the invasion of 2003 (that’s around 100 years worth of reserves; where was he planning to store it all?).
The President also re-iterated his claim of massive voter fraud at last year’s Presidential election (an allegation based in part on a conversation involving the German golfer Bernhard Langer!!), suggesting that up to five million people had voted illegally (and all seemingly for Hilary Clinton), thus explaining why he lost the popular vote by almost three million. T
his nod to the politics of Robert Mugabe may yet have more sinister implications. Trump has commissioned an investigation and those undertaking it will be expected to uncover something to legitimise their paymasters deluded theory. What then follows could well be an attempt to fix voter registrations in Trump’s favour ahead of the 2020 Presidential election.
And I haven’t even touched on his introduction of extreme vetting for immigrants entering the USA from seven Muslim nations, support for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, the removal of information on climate change and LBGT rights on government websites….
Come on Britain…the man’s an absolute monster. Do we really want to be close to him?