Friday was the UK’s Day of Shame

may-and-trump

A Trump and May relationship would be a  marriage of conveneience and not a  marriage of love!

I suspect that none of my readers will expect me to like Donald Trump. I think he is an evil, misogynistic, little man with the literacy of a 12 year old and has behind him a string of broken promises in both politics and business. But if that is who the Americans choose to elect that is up to them and there is little we can do about it.

What I can do something about is the appalling behaviour of our own Prime Minister who saw fit to be the first Head of State to curtsey at Donald Trump’s knee. This was a huge mistake for the UK although perhaps is understandable in the light of her incompetence in understanding and dealing with Brexit.

Firstly, she arrived at a time when this lunatic was signing a whole load of disgusting executive orders and to which she will clearly have been seen to commend whether she meant to or not. And I do accept that she will have found some of these as distasteful as me.

In the few days since Trump became President he has banned refugees, defamed Muslims, reduced options for poorer people to buy their house and has destroyed Obamacare which gave poor people the option of getting affordable health care. This is the man that May went to court. She claims she does it because we have a special relationship. Perhaps that it is true but it is not a relationship of equals. As we saw throughout the last century and the beginning of this it has been a case of our subservience. Most notably this was seen in the last decade when Tony Blair was so keen to appease America that he took us into an illegal war.

If I have a friend who I think is doing something wrong then I think it a vital part of my friendship to tell them so. No friend can let their friend take up positions and do things which, at the end of the day, are dangerous and difficult. If May had been over to the USA to be robust in a relationship then I would have supported her going but clearly this was not the case. She went to America because she needs to do anything she can to improve trade relations with none EU Countries. She will now do anything to achieve such a relationship but she is naïve in the extreme to think that Trump will give this Country anything. He has made it clear that in his mind trade deals only work one way – in favour of the Americans.

Of course May’s lack of leadership is backing her in to a corner. Her inability to frame a response to Brexit in a way that will elicit some support amongst the other European Countries means that she has to turn to places like America and Turkey for support. Her sycophantic ways with Trump will actually make our relationships with and negotiations with Europe even worse. Take the situation with Syria. By blocking Syrian refugees he increases the burden that Europe will have to take on to deal with the humanitarian crisis which was largely started by US behaviour (supported loyally by the UK) with their bombing raids in the Middle East.

If going to the USA when and in the way that she did was not enough she then went straight through to Turkey. I have a soft spot for Turkey because I lived there for 3 years and indeed worked for the Turkish Government. 30 years ago Turkey was on its way to becoming a fully democratic, secular, modern state based on the teachings and practices on Kemal Ataturk. Over the past 10 years that has changed and particularly so in the past 3 years. Turkey is now becoming a religious state with democracy pushed to the side-lines and a strongman President being elected in a way that Ataturk would be appalled with. In fact it looks as if both the USA and Turkey will soon have a lot in common with each other in terms of governance. A blinkered, ill-educated President leading their Country into the dark ages!

I am not saying that we should not trade with the USA or Turkey. Indeed I have many friends in both Countries who, for obvious reasons are even more appalled at what is happening in those Countries than am I. We must continue to trade with these countries. We must continue to engage with all aspects of the communities within those countries and help them through their present travails. But that is entirely different to the brown nosing that we witnessed from Theresa May over the past 3 days.

As I look around the World I can see all sorts of relationships which we need to make irrespective of whether we leave the EU or not. Clearly though the EU is of paramount importance to us. This is a trading bloc of 540 million without us. It is on our doorstep. It does things in the same way that we do not just because we have shared laws for 40 years but because we have shared cultures for decades. I particularly hope that we can do more with countries in the Commonwealth of Nations which the Gambia is now rejoining. There is a huge potential for us to do more in the Commonwealth where thee also strong historical, cultural and language ties.

Of course there is nothing to stop us doing more anyway. The Commonwealth and Europe are not either/or but should be complementary. ‘Leavers’ often talk of us being free to trade with India to a higher level. It is a sad fact that despite the historical, cultural and language links that we have Germany manages to do more than 3 times the two way trade with India than we do.

As we look to the future we must undertake our global mission with a strong sense of our moral compass points. We do believe (even the Tories) in a free at point of delivery health service; we do believe in a sense of obligation to those countries poorer than our own; we do believe in the interconnectivity of our nation state with the rest of the World; we do believe climate change and what we should do about these things. The differences that we have between us inside the UK are, are for the most part, tiny compared to the abyss which has opened up between most of us in the UK and what is now happening in the USA and Turkey.

Should the Presidents of Turkey and the USA come to the UK? I personally believe that they should. That will give all of us the opportunity to make our distaste for these two Presidents absolutely clear. They would be met with protests and demonstrations the scale of which could not be ignored either by them and their entourages or by the media that would travel with them. I don’t normally believe in demonstrations because they are often ‘gesture politics’ when we could be doing practical things. However, in the case of visits by people of the likes of Erdogan and Trump gestures are important!

Mrs May will take no notice of any of the things that I am saying here. She must answer for herself how a Vicar’s daughter can have forgotten her upbringing so much that she supports uncharitable mean-minded and spiritually bereft people like Erdogan and Trump

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. UK representative on UCLG Finance Committee, Executive Bureau and World Council. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperon on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and three grandchildren.
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