Theresa May must take a firmer stand against Trump's misguided orderby Tom Brake / January 30, 2017 / Leave a comment
The 9th of November was a dark day for liberal democracy. The US presidential candidate who had on countless times made racially charged and deeply xenophobic comments on the campaign trail, mocked disabled reporters, divided communities and embodied misogynistic attitudes towards women on an unprecedented level had won the election. Our world was much less stable, yet so many people tried to put on a brave face and say that when “The Donald” reached the Oval Office, common sense, channeled from those around him, would prevail—and the worries all had on the 9th November would not be realised. One week into his presidency and the results couldn’t be further from this increasingly desperate prediction.
In recent days, Trump has issued an executive order which bans immigration to the US from nationals of certain predominantly Muslim countries. This isn’t just illogical and unconstitutional—it smacks of religious discrimination. The entire refugee admissions system has been suspected for 120 days; entry of citizens on any visa category from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been banned for 90 days; and the Syrian refugee programme has been suspended indefinitely. There is a loophole: an exemption from the ban on refugee entry for “religious minorities.”
With every brash executive order, in a pen stroke, this new president is breaking down the pillars of what held the United States up as a liberal democracy. Trump has no concern for this form of politics, and it is pitiful that Theresa May flew over at the earliest moment, clutching a delusional dream of a strong trade deal for the UK, to stand next to him and congratulate him on his stunning victory.
If the “special relationship,” which the government loves to champion, really is so special, then the Prime Minister should use her so-called influence to condemn Trump for his actions. This demagogic leader is trying to isolate himself from his international obligations.
But alas. While she cosies up to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and strikes arms deals, May’s statement that she “does not agree” with Trump’s ban is not nearly strong enough. It was also made remarkably late in the day. All this exemplifies the role her government has let the UK play on the international stage.
May must come out harder against Trump’s misguided position. There is clearly…