I, along with nearly 2 million other people, received an email from government petitions today. I have grown accustomed to these responses which are usually fall in to one of 2 categories of responses from the government explaining why they will take no action at all;
- A message with a lot of political fluff explaining that they have already debated the issue at some point in the past and so no reason to do it again… Even if what they’ve debated bares no relation to the petition subject
- That the issue will be debated, but no action will be taken anyway
But today I knew the email would be referring to the petition that was signed by nearly 2 million people asking for the government not to extend the courtesy of a full state visit to Donald Trump. This was following the ban on people entering the US from 7 majority Muslim countries, dubbed a ‘Muslim Ban’ because of Trump’s pledge during his White House campaign to ban all Muslims from entering the US…
This petition has been signed by 1.8 million people and is now the 2nd largest petition to be signed on the government site ever – behind 4.6 million signatures on a petition call for a 2nd EU Referendum. The petition states;
Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.
Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit.
Now I don’t really care about embarrassing the Queen if I’m honest and would perhaps reluctantly agree that we will have to have dealings with Trump. But certainly there should be no reason why he should be welcomed with all of the glamour and prestige of a state visit just as if he hasn’t been racist, sexist and supported torture.
Given the huge numbers signing this petition you might think the government would have to have a fairly robust defence of it’s position; even if you are cynical like me and expected no change in the plans. Well no. It seems they don’t have to even really try that hard at all;
HM Government believes the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a State Visit. We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised.
HM Government recognises the strong views expressed by the many signatories of this petition, but does not support this petition.
During her visit to the United States on 27 January 2017, the Prime Minister, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, invited President Trump for a State Visit to the UK later this year. The invitation was accepted. This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the State Visit.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
And that’s it. The government don’t care what near 2million people think. But they’ve gone even further and said “we look forward to welcoming President Trump”
Really? Fucking really?
As said, I expected the petition to be ignored. But I at least expected a little more on the “we know there are string views” front and perhaps a little bit of the ‘we do not support the presidents recent actions on immigration blah blah blah’ and ‘we need to protect our special relationship’. But to outright state that the government is “looking forward” to this racist mysogynist’s visit?
This is a grotesque position. When history looks back at this time it will judge the actions of those who failed to stand up against this latest rise in fascism. Our government haven’t even taken the smallest protest of a position of begrudgingly accepting Trump’s views and visit. No, they’ve welcomed him with opens arms extended across a red carpet.
This is not how our political leaders should act and I was pleased to see that plenty of other politicians have taken a stand; the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has stated;
“My position is that Donald Trump should not be coming to the UK. Donald Trump has been promoting something that undermines international law, he has been promoting misogyny, he has been making some awful statements in the USA and threatening to build a wall with Mexico. [ ]And our Government seems to think that this is a man they should be doing deals with. [ ]We should be challenging Trump on international law issues and we should also not be rolling the red carpet out.”
“We will condemn the British Government’s appallingly meek response to the US president’s barbarism. And we will demand something better [ ] History teaches us the consequences of silence at moments like these. All of us have a duty to stand up against oppression and hatred. So today I urge you to join a demonstration near your home, to sign the petition and to join me in telling our Government that we won’t accept them backing away from standing up to tyranny.”
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has also stated;
“Downing Street has finally distanced itself from President Trump’s appalling ban on Muslim people after Theresa May failed to do so. By then the damage to Britain’s reputation had been done.
The British people were waiting for a Love Actually moment, instead they saw our Prime Minister behaving like Trump’s poodle.
Any visit by President Trump to Britain should be on hold until his disgraceful ban comes to an end. Otherwise Theresa May would be placing the Queen in an impossible position of welcoming a man who is banning British citizens purely on grounds of their faith.
Still Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office is dithering and has provided no travel advice to British citizens who could be caught up in the ban.
When will Theresa May’s Conservative Brexit government stop costing up to unsavoury leaders and get a grip of this mounting crisis?”
These are the messages that we should be able to expect from our political leaders in the face of Trump’s awful actions. Instead though, this Conservative government would rather support hate and tyranny.