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Trump’s state visit is golden opportunity for pro-Europeans

by Hugo Dixon | 31.01.2017

Being anti-Trump and anti-Brexit is not the same thing. But there’s a huge overlap between being the people who are outraged by the new US president and those who voted to stay in the EU.

Theresa May’s rushed and mistaken decision to invite Donald Trump to Britain on a state visit is a golden opportunity to reenergise the pro-European movement. Before and during his trip, there’ll be mass protests. Those campaigning against a destructive hard Brexit will be able to tap into that energy.

In a Venn diagram, there would be a big intersection between anti-Trump and anti-Brexit supporters, as well as their values. The same goes for pro-Trump and pro-Brexit supporters, and their values.

This is not to say that all Brexiters are keen on Trump. Far from it. But many of the most high profile anti-Europeans – such as Nigel Farage and Michael Gove, both of whom have made sycophantic trips to visit the president – are his cheerleaders.

What’s more, the realities of Brexit are pressurising Britain to suck up to Trump. Now that we are planning to quit the world’s largest market and putting at risk ties with 27 other like-minded European countries, we feel alone and weak.

Hence, Boris Johnson saying he was “looking forward” to working with the president just after he was elected, whereas he had said Trump was “unfit” for office when he was Mayor of London. Hence, too, May’s decision to invite the president to Britain on a state visit.

The BBC’s Nick Robinson tweeted yesterday: “Why won’t PM cancel Trump state visit? Suspect was deal – you give us first White House visit & post-Brexit trade deal & we give you Queen”

Given that the president is pushing through policies that confront our interests and values, May’s hurried embrace is unwise. But she can’t scrap the invitation without destroying their new “special” relationship.

So despite a huge petition opposed to the visit, Trump is almost certainly coming to Britain. And, when he comes, he will be dogged by huge angry demonstrations. The ones last night across the country and the women’s march in London the day after his inauguration are just the foretaste.

The pro-European movement is currently depressed and unfashionable. Parliament is on the verge of voting through legislation authorising May to trigger Article 50. By contrast, the anti-Trump movement is vibrant and fashionable.

But both movements agree about what sort of Britain we want (a fair and open society and honest politics) and what sort of country we don’t want (a xenophobic and sexist one). If we can build a broad popular movement articulating these values, we will also find we have a stronger base from which to fight a destructive Brexit.

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4 Responses to “Trump’s state visit is golden opportunity for pro-Europeans”

  • Will we all be here when Trump is due to visit this coming Summer ?
    I feel the sanity of Donald Trump is questionable.
    We need the refrain ‘lock him up’ before its too late for all of us.

  • I quite agree with the above but I would also point out that Theresa May owes her position as PM to Brexit; idem for Johnson, Davies and Fox so they will pursue that objective come what may ( pun unintended ). And it must inevitably be a destructive Brexit as there is no other Brexit on offer.
    As to the implications of Brexit on Anglo-Scottish relations, I would refer your readers to the House of Lords Report on Brexit and in particular the paragraphs ( 170-172 ) dealing with the impact of EU membership on UK -Irish relations and how that joint membership transformed relations between them. The Brexiteers would do well to reflect on the findings of the House of Lords as what is actually happening with Brexit at the moment is England ( speaking in the name of the UK ) imposing a policy on Scotland that the Scots do not want.

  • Scotland absolutely needs the single market. At the moment there is “apparently” no appetite for another Scottish independence referendum. However, if such a referendum was tied unequivocally to remaining in the EU, there might indeed be a majority in favour, even a slim one. And, given the small majority which is taking us out of the EU at present, even a slim majority would be democratically sufficient. And I’m absolutely certain that, whatever the noises coming out of Europe at the moment, the EU would welcome Scotland into the fold, if only to make the UK government, and May, look foolish. As for Trump, the chances of him completing his first term in office are, I think, pretty slim, if his Republican sycophants eventually choke on his insanities. Check out the 25th amendment.

    • Two things on Scottish independence and EU.
      1. As long as Scotland is a part of the UK, the EU will say nothing to break up the union, this is an internal politics of the UK.
      2. Very country in Europe can apply for the EU. Your statement: “…the EU would welcome Scotland into the fold,…” should state: the Eu has the obligation to give welcome to Scotland when it is a separate state. If Scotland is ready to join the EU is a different question, what currency will it have, etc.

      Note: On the future relationship with the UK and how the EU will be preserved in the global world, will keep the negotiations as neutral as possible.