Five out of the seven leading parties in British Parliament have finally come together in a broad alliance over one single issue. No, it’s not Brexit, but the impending visit of President Donald J. Trump. The president will travel across the Atlantic in June, where he will ostensibly shore up the “special relationship” between two old allies.
When he made an informal jaunt to the U.K. in 2018, Trump was greeted with protests and the infamous “baby blimp,” as well as a small welcome rally. This time, for his first official state visit, the self-important Westminster elites have made it abundantly clear that they will not be lining up to meet the U.S. leader.
The head of the opposition Labour Party and out-and-proud socialist, Jeremy Corbyn, showed-off his anti-Trump credentials in a statement, saying that he would not attend any official banquet that honors the president:
“Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit to honour a president who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric.
Maintaining an important relationship with the United States does not require the pomp and ceremony of a state visit. It is disappointing that the prime minister has again opted to kowtow to this US administration.”
He left himself room to maneuver, however, by adding that he would “welcome a meeting with President Trump to discuss all matters of interest.”
The Left Comes Together
Mr. Corbyn is not alone in this diplomatic snubbing. Leaders and followers from all the major left-leaning parties in parliament have denounced the decision to hold a state banquet for President Trump. This includes not only Labour, but also the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the Scottish National Party and the newly-formed breakaway group, Change UK.
Liberal Democrat Party leader, Sir Vince Cable, released an open letter that he hopes will garner support among the British public:
“It is extremely disappointing that President Trump has been granted a state visit in June when the opposition to rolling out the red carpet for him has been communicated widely.
This is a man who seeks to spread division and alienate minorities in his own country, and across ours. When the Government are trying desperately to pull us away from our partners in Europe, this is not the relationship we should be cultivating.
Anyone spreading such views should not be welcome in the UK, regardless of the office they hold and the Liberal Democrats demand better.
I am calling on you today to cancel President Trump’s state visit.”
Not only does Sir Vince want the pomp and ceremony abandoned, he is suggesting that the president be denied entry to the United Kingdom.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, both Mr. Corbyn and Sir Vince have not shown such compunctions when other ethically questionable world leaders have come to call. In 2015, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, a man who oversees an arguably totalitarian state, and who has a hotly debated human rights and environmental record, was awarded a state banquet. Mr. Corbyn was only too happy to attend.
The Labour leader has also sat down with:
- The Irish Republican Army (IRA)
- Bashar al-Assad
In fact, he has referred to the terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas as “friends,” despite backtracking in 2016 and saying that he regrets using that term. With Mr. Corbyn’s track record of meeting with “undesirables,” even left-leaning news outlets such as The Guardian are beginning to question his reasoning.
Divided Over Trump
The president will be hosted by Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Theresa May, whose governing Conservative Party is divided on the matter. While much of the party has been supportive of the visit, there are some who remain dead set against it. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House – a position that demands impartiality – has floated the idea that he would forbid Mr. Trump from addressing the House of Commons. Conservative MP Nigel Evans, on the other hand, railed at his colleagues on both sides of the House. He said: “The people have spoken and they voted for Donald John Trump. For those who find it difficult that the American people have voted for Donald Trump – get over it. He’s President of the United States.”
When President Trump visited the U.K. in 2018, it was not part of an official state visit. There were a number of both pro-Trump and anti-Trump rallies held in London and Liberty Nation was on the ground to cover them all. There will almost certainly be similar protests and marches held during his next jaunt across the pond.
At the center of these protests will be the political elite of Britain, denouncing the American president. But looking at Mr. Corbyn’s track record, perhaps his refusal to attend a meal with Mr. Trump is not because The Donald is too extreme, but rather because he is not extreme enough?
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