At long last, some good news!
President Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom was very successful and has given the British people a much needed boost in the midst of Brexit.
The British would probably have been ok even without the US, but Trump’s promise of a trade deal couldn’t have come at a better time. Mrs. May ceases to be prime minister at the end of the week, having failed in her bid to do a “deal” with Europe. (She will continue in a caretaker role until a new leader of the Conservative Party is chosen.)
Mr. Trump made the effort to talk to Boris Johnson and to meet with both Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, the three most likely men to replace Mrs. May. He already knew the first two. He also spent some time with Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit party. Mr. Trump is firmly on the side of Brexit, which will put a dent in the European Union, arguably America’s greatest trade rival.
Some voices were raised against Trump. PBS said the “streets were flooded” with demonstrators. 250,000 were expected; 75,000 turned up, according to organizers. Others felt the number was considerably less. Hardly a flood! An opinion poll found that 46% of the British people supported the visit; only 40% were against. Those numbers were a lot better than on his previous visit. People have seemingly become aware that he is in favor of a strong, individual nation state, and against globalization.
He was well received by the royal family, in spite of the revelation of a negative comment made by Meghan Markle prior to her marriage to Prince Harry.
Criticism from London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, continues but it did not influence anybody else. Mr. Khan, a Muslim, began his spat with Trump when the president introduced curbs on immigrants from Muslim countries. His negativity only strengthens how actor John Cleese described London a few days ago as a non-English city – it’s unlikely to be in step with the rest of the country from now on. Jeremy Corbyn was another critical voice. The leader of the Labor Party seems happy to meet with terrorist leaders but not with the US president.
President Trump extolled the virtues of the Anglo-American alliance, two nations that have been the greatest alliance in history. It took Robert Tuttle, a former US Ambassador to the UK on Sky TV, to add another three countries: “Canada, Australia and New Zealand.” The Australian prime minister sat behind the Queen and President for the celebrations commemorating D-Day. The Canadian prime minister was also present. All three countries contributed to the D-Day landings.
There are now two clearly defined ideas when it comes to the future of the western world. Angela Merkel gave the commencement speech at Harvard University. Her priority is still globalization. While Trump’s speeches in England were all about the nation state. Comments posted to websites talked about role reversal – that Merkel believes in freedom while Trump is for fascism. Such comments show people’s ignorance. Nationalism is a far cry from fascism. And fascism is more likely to come out of the EU than the US. Too many people on the left are too quick to label a conservative “fascist.”
Other challenges lie ahead. Britain is in the midst of a constitutional crisis; the US seems headed for one.
Britain’s is all to do with Brexit. And the referendum on the subject was won three years ago by supporters of the country leaving the EU. Parliament will not support the British people’s vote and, instead, is split between those who support Brexit with a deal and those who wish to remain members of the EU. Those supporting Brexit with a deal are not facing reality as the EU will not give them a deal it could accept. The uncertainty has gone on for three years, eroding any respect for Britain that the EU might have had. If they upset the EU any more, they may find themselves kicked out of the organization.
On the anniversary of D-Day today, June 6th, the Daily Express Head of News, Paul Baldwin, mused on the anniversary of the landings: “It’s interesting and quite moving to think that 75 years ago today one of the biggest armadas ever assembled was about to set off and head for northern France and liberate Europe from the yoke of Nazism. And we’re now seeing 75 years later that Britain is, at best, tolerated by our European neighbors and at worst, possibly despised.” (Daily Express 6/6)
Not only is there uncertainty over Brexit. There is also uncertainty over who will replace Mrs. May as PM. The choice is most undemocratic.
“At some point in June or July roughly 124,000 people in Britain can expect to receive a ballot paper in the post. It will offer them the names of two Conservative MPs (members of parliament). The one they select will, shortly thereafter, enter 10 Downing Street as prime minister. The rest of Britain’s 66 million inhabitants will have no say whatsoever.” (“The Referendums and the damage done,” The Economist, 6/1).
The new leader will serve out the term of this government. Then he will have to stand for election with everyone else and may be defeated. More uncertainty.
The US has a constitutional crisis pending, as most Democrats want President Trump to be impeached, claiming his behavior warrants this. More likely, it’s because they know there is no prospect of winning the 2020 election and want to find some way to get rid of him so that a Democrat is more likely to win. In other words, it’s all politics.
But, the process of impeachment would damage the US considerably. Financial markets hate instability. Trump has been good for business; any attempt to remove him would likely have a negative effect on the economy.
So, both countries may have constitutional crises’ at the same time.
This would make ineffective the famed Anglo-American alliance, upon which the free world has been largely built.