Monday, February 20, 2017

What to think about Donald.

Big fuss at Westminster today. 3hrs debating the impending State Visit to the UK by the President of the United States. It's been scheduled because two petitions relating to the visit have reached the 100,000 needed to trigger consideration of a debate. The largest petition condemns the invitation - which in turn instigated the petition welcoming the visit. Had a good chat about this with Rachel Garside on Good Morning Wales this morning. And an interview for Newyddion tonight. And there were a fair few protestors in Parliament Square generating a bit of a rumpus.

I should, for context, admit that I am no fan of the new President's style or use of language or some of his declared policy. He does seem to have a variably firm grip on facts, admittedly not a characteristic exclusive to the Donald. But he has been elected President by the US people. In passing, not enough research is being done on why they did this. I suppose it's too easy (and sloppy) just to condemn the stuff that would do for him in the UK - and leave it at that.

The Trump state visit will happen- no matter how much noise there is. No way can the Prime Minister withdraw an invite. Nor should she. State visits are about promoting the British interest. Or should be. Theresa May has had to walk on eggshells in her dealings with the US President.  There may be Trump traits that she may not like. Perhaps she referred to them in private conversations. I hope she did. But publicly, as our Prime Minister, she will be be focussed on the British interest, from both the security and economic standpoint. Not for her the freedom to play to the gallery. She has a hard headed job to do and she is doing it well very well.

And let us for one moment consider some of the other great icons of morality and democracy that have been granted state visits during the reign of Her Majesty The Queen - well over 100 of them. Mugabe perhaps. Or Hirohito. Or Putin. Or Ceaucescu. Or our last visitor, President Xi Jinping. I was there when our current Mr Speaker fawned all over this icon of democracy.

And then we have the entertaining sideshows. Like me writing 300 words for tomorrow's Guardian. Actually, now I mention it, I remember writing a few pieces for the Guardian a few years ago. And there's the sheer pleasure President Trump will take from the way he has dominated British politics this week. How he will have enjoyed the three hour debate in the Palace of Westminster, where he was the subject of not one, but two contradicting petitions running simultaneously.  I do hope we can move on from Trumpmania tomorrow.

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