It will not be the ‘Stars and Stripes’ that people will be flying when Trump visits but this 15 metre balloon which accurately summarises what the majority of Brits think about him!!
By and large Brits are a very polite group of people. We have a saying, “manners maketh man”. When we flash our lights in our cars it is to let other drivers through and doesn’t mean get out of the bloody way. We say please and thank you and mean it not because have been told to say it.
That’s why it really is surprising to see the public reaction to the visit of Donald Trump in the next few days. We are used to seeing all sorts of people in London. Dictators; Princes; Emirs; Sheikhs, Prime Ministers and Presidents. Some of these have very dodgy and dubious backgrounds but by and large we recognise that the they are Heads of State and as we are not at war with them we should treat them civilly.
That just is not true about the visit of Donald Trump. I suspect that is largely for two reasons:
- We feel highly disappointed that a long-time ally of ours could elect such a foul minded, misogynistic, lying bully. Of course, that is their choice. Our own Government is not a good one but with Davies and Johnson gone it at least looks as if it is reasonably competent and civil.
- We feel that he really is a vulgar and undignified little man who does not know how to behave and by his bad behaviour is threatening the alliances and protocols that make life possible.
This can be summed up by the responses given by the public in a newspaper today.
In essence Trump is causing two major problems:
- He has embarked on a global trade war which will reduce global trade and thus our chances of dealing with poverty and its associated problems throughout the world. Ironically, although he doesn’t appreciate this the biggest loser will the USA as farmers and motor cycle makers are already finding out!
- He is damaging the strategic defence alliance of NATO which has helped guarantee peace for so long. He adds up what people put into the defence budgets compares that with that of the USA and concludes that we don’t put in enough. He ignores the other budgets such those for Aid and Diplomacy which prevent or reduce tension and where we are much more generous than the USA. As Winston Churchill so rightly said, “Jaw-Jaw is better than War-war”.
I have many American friends. In fact, the daughter of one of them will be staying at my house close to the famous Penny Lane from tomorrow night. That’s what we want to return to. A strong friendship with the USA both nation to nation and person to person. That will not happen at the national level whilst Trump is President. It also stops things at the personal level. I would find it very hard to justify going to the US in present circumstances.
We must all hope for and strive for the day when we can renew old acquaintances and alliances when Trump, just like the other meaning of his ‘name’ will be remembered as a foul smell that didn’t last too long!!