President Trump's incendiary interventions in British politics are completely unacceptable and must be called out, argues David McAllister
Donald Trump had not even set foot in the UK yet when he tweeted a deeply personalised insult at London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, calling him a “stone cold loser” who has “done a terrible job” as London Mayor.
Sadiq Khan has shown concerns about the rise of racism, the far right, and the impetus Trump has given to these forces. These concerns are widely shared, as we shall see in widespread protests again Trump’s state visit today and tomorrow. The rise of the racist right has an international dimension and Trump appears to think that Khan was overstepping the mark by suggesting Trump’s role in it.
Yet Trump does not appear to apply this standard to himself. His decision to pass such a sweeping judgement on the London Mayor is just the latest example of his constant interference in British politics. He also feels it appropriate to pass comment on who our next Prime Minister should be, singling out Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage for special praise ahead of his visit.
This fraternising with the right and hard right of British politics goes right to the heart of why protesting against his presence here is so important. Tories have wasted no time at all in lining up to take Trump’s side. With a sickening smirk, Jeremy Hunt’s response to questions about Trump’s comments were to repeat many of the smears we have become familiar with against the Corbyn project – specifically, weaponised accusations of antisemitism. As for Trump’s childish and highly personalised attacks on Twitter? Only excuses from Hunt. Esther McVey also appears to be perfectly fine with the comments by saving the charge of being “churlish and childish” exclusively for Sadiq Khan.
Despite some attempts to chalk this up as a simple tit-for-tat between two politicians, the London Mayor has never stooped to the level of his opponents in the UK or elsewhere. Don’t forget that the Tory London Mayoral campaign against him was criticised as being one of the most racially motivated in years.
But this is not just about Sadiq Khan. There should be absolutely no doubt that it is part of Donald Trump's agenda to bolster the hard right in this country. We are not just protesting against Trump himself, but against the forms of 'Trumpism' which are being cultivated in the UK. This doesn’t just relate to his fraternising with assorted clowns in the Tory Party, but also to his emboldening of fascist movements in the UK and around the world.
This exposes the sheer cynicism of the interviewer during Trump's visit last year when he questioned me on why we should protest against the President of another country. This ought to be an easy one. Anyone with even the faintest memory of the Blair-Bush War on Terror, or indeed the 75-year-long ‘special relationship’ with the US, has every right to be concerned with Trump's sabre rattling, this time in the direction of Iran.
As Trump arrives in the UK, he will clearly attempt to legitimise his state visit on the basis of commemorating D-Day. Stop the War will be taking part in protests today and tomorrow with a different message: respect for those who were lost in war, but resistance to the warmongers of today, not least among whom is the awful visiting President.
We need to be clear that the threat represented by Trump is international. In response we need a coalition of forces to signal our strong rejection of everything he stands for and which continues to build a fighting left in this country: no to sexism, no to racism, freedom for Palestine, action on climate change, and an end to the recklessness of war.
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