Friday, Nov 15, 2019 | Last Update : 08:37 PM IST

Trump arrives as May exits: How will Brits stomach this?

In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."
Published : Jun 8, 2019, 4:54 am IST
Updated : Jun 8, 2019, 4:54 am IST

Even Mr Johnson, in the leadership campaign, has said he intends if he wins “to put Farage back in his box”.

British Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo:AP)
 British Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo:AP)

“When in the Kingdom of the Blind
You attempt to sell spectacles
Beware of their one-eyed king
Who’ll sentence both your testicles
To be chopped off and fed
To the eight-eyed monster spider
The living undead!
This fable is a warning to men
And its message is pretty ghoulish
Women wouldn’t sell specs to the blind
Womankind is never so foolish.”
From Any Homme, The W**** War Cry by Bachchoo

A song from my schooldays went “Tramp, tramp, tramp the boys are marching/ Cheer up comrades they will come…” And my idle mind, gentle reader, was filled with these recurring words all last week — with a variation which was: “Trump, Trump, Trump, etc.” You’ve guessed it, master Tweeter Donald Trump was on a state visit to Britain and the ceremonially uniformed troops marched to welcome him.

The second line fortunately gave this idle mind some pause. The “comrades” weren’t cheered up or cheering. Around 75,000 people gathered in Trafalgar Square to protest against the monarch and royal family being ordered by the feeble outgoing Prime Minister to host such a visit.

Jeremy Corbyn addressed them, denouncing Mr Trump’s policies on trade, foreign relations, climate change and attacking his attitudes which he labelled as racist, homophobic and Islamophobic.

He didn’t say, though he could have, that Her Royal Highness should not have to bang knuckles to greet a person who asserts his delight in “grabbing a p****”, as the Queen has a reputation for loving animals including, I expect, cats.

Mr Corbyn declined the invitation to attend the state banquet on Mr Trump’s first night. Tory politicians were falling over themselves to declare that they respected Mr Trump’s office rather than the man. Most of them would have suffered voluntary amputations to get any attention from Mr Trump and deemed Mr Corbyn’s refusal an insult.

Mr Corbyn’s office did however approach The Donald’s entourage to say that Mr Corbyn was quite willing to meet him for discussions. This was reported as hypocrisy on Mr Corbyn’s part. It wasn’t. Mr Corbyn’s willingness only meant he would tell The Donald exactly what he had told the good and brave in Trafalgar Square.

Another comrade who didn’t cheer the visit of the yellow-haired-tweeter was Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, who said Mr Trump wasn’t welcome in the city. Mr Trump responded, calling Mr Sadiq Khan an out-and-out “loser”.

This, gentle reader, is a vague American term for someone you don’t like. It doesn’t mean someone who has lost a competitive enterprise. Napoleon was certainly the loser at Waterloo, Ibrahim Lodi came second at Panipat and Hillary Clinton was not elected President of the United States despite getting more votes than Mr Trump. Talk about losers! Mr Sadiq Khan was the winner in the mayoral race and maybe so again when it comes to re-election.

The insult to our Muslim mayor was noted, as was Mr Trump’s recorded comment that Meghan Markle, when she wasn’t yet a Duchess, was “nasty”. Mr Trump now denies he said it as he has tea with her father-in-law, Prince Charles. Ms Markle and Prince Harry were not seen with the orange-kopf!

Okay, that’s rude and possibly “hairiest”, but I agree with Mr Sadiq Khan and Mr Corbyn about Mr Trump’s backward reactionary policies. And his behaviour abroad. It’s not good protocol for a foreign head of state to make any pronouncements or interfere in the internal democratic processes of another country and certainly not of the country he is visiting at the invitation of its Queen. Does The Donald care?

Theresa May, the caretaker Prime Minister who will have resigned the office the day before you read this, will be succeeded by one of the eleven Tory MPs who have entered the contest to be leader and thus the unelected Prime Minister. Mr Trump has shamelessly endorsed the candidature of Boris Johnson and has gone further by publicly declaring that Britain should send rabid Brexiteer Nigel Farage to negotiate with the European Union. Mr Farage is not an MP and his only qualification is as someone who flatters Mr Trump and is the chief advocate of a no-deal Brexit, which Mr Trump heartily supports for reasons I shall explore.

Even Mr Johnson, in the leadership campaign, has said he intends if he wins “to put Farage back in his box”. The image is, of course, of a jack-in-the box — a harmless startler for infants. But Mr Johnson may be wrong. Mr Farage, who started a new party with just one policy and won a large share of the vote in the elections to the European Parliament, may be a genie who has escaped the lamp. Watch this space.

So why was Mr Trump here? Ms May had the Queen invite Mr Trump in a last attempt to bolster her disastrous reputation? Brexiteers contend that Britain outside the EU will compensate for the loss of free trade by alliances with the United States. An invitation to a state visit and dinner with the Queen would flatter the President into making statements about the traditional and continuing alliance between the two countries and boost the idea that Brexit will bring benefits.

Before he left office, President Barack Obama warned Britain that in reality, it would, when it left the EU and opted out of the arrangements and treaties the US had with Europe, be “at the back of the queue” for deals with America.

The Trump invitation and its shameless use of the sacrifices of D-Day in World War II as an occasion, was the Tory attempt to reverse the Obama verdict. Mr Trump made ameliorative speeches to that effect but both he and his ambassador to the UK gave the game away. They both said that free trade between the countries would include everything that could be deemed a business, including Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). In other words, they would seek to privatise it and acquire it for America’s insurance policy capitalists.

There’s the rub. British voters, left, right or marginally sane, won’t stand for it. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for any politician to sell Britain’s NHS to America.

Tags: donald trump