Sunday, 29 January 2017

Brexit: independence – or the most demeaning dependence?

Trump’s travel ban is a shameful indulgence in toxic Islamophobia. Sure, he seems to be targeting nations not a religion, but don’t be fooled. That’s just a fig leaf to make it less difficult to charge him with religious discrimination.

The ban has nothing to do with security and everything to do with a campaign against Muslims. As the Huffington Post points out, the number of Americans killed annually by Islamic jihadists is 9, only 2 of them by jihadist immigrants. 737 Americans die by falling out of bed, but Trump isn’t planning to make bed rails obligatory. 11,737 are shot dead by another American, and Trump certainly isn’t planning to do anything about cutting back on guns.

The Huffington Post sets the context for us
No, this is another attempt, like the Nazis’ in the twenties, to blame a group for ills you can’t solve and for which you don’t want to take responsibility yourself. It’s the Muslims, dummy, so let’s ban them.

In Britain, we’re not just sickened by Trump’s behaviour but shamed by May’s fawning on him. She held his hand at the White House and wants him to come over on a State visit. Many of us rightly feel this demeans us and makes us complicit in his disgrace.

I chose my words with care there. “Many of us” can rightly feel that way. Not all, though. Many others, shocked by Trump’s behaviour, have to bite their tongue and live with it. If you voted for Brexit, if you support it today, then you contributed to making our craven attitude towards Trump inevitable.

Many who voted for Brexit did so in the name of restoring British independence. That would be particularly true of the far-right party, UKIP – the United Kingdom Independence Party. Ironically, it is the leader of UKIP at the time of the Brexit referendum, Nigel Farage, who became the first UK politician to dance attendance on Trump. He proved so loyal and obsequious to him, indeed, that Trump called on the UK government to appoint him ambassador to the US.

Theresa May found enough courage to resist that call. But now she has become Farage’s rival in the deference stakes – instead of denouncing Trump’s travel ban, she resisted all attempts to get her to speak out against it, until the pressure became so overwhelming that she weakly assured the country:

Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, but we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking.

Why is she refusing to denounce Trump in the round terms he deserves?

Because we are leaving the EU. The belief of Brexiters is that Britain, freed from EU control, can establish new trading relationships with other nations that will enable it to preserve its commercial position. No trading partner could be more important than the US.

We come to the US as supplicants in these circumstances. We need the deal. We have to pay the price.

Clearly, part of that price will be to give up on our right to speak out against the abuses of the Trump administration. Others will come along: dropping our standards on carbon emissions or food hygiene (you liked our ban on genetically modified foods from the States? Wave goodbye to it). We have to defer to him in the hope that he’ll look after us. That’s the cost of throwing ourselves into such dependence on the US.

Because dependence is the word.

You thought Brexit would give us independence? The opposite, I’m afraid. We have made ourselves more massively dependent on the US than we have ever previously been in peacetime. Just in time for Trump’s inauguration.

Shamed by May’s fawning on Trump? Anyone with a sense of decency would be. But did you vote for Brexit? You voted to make us bow our heads to Trump.

That may not have been what you wanted when you cast your vote. It is, however, what you got. And, sadly, we all have to live with the unwanted consequences of your choice.


Anonymous said...

Take a deep breath and calm down.

David Beeson said...

Thanks for the advice, but I'm completely relaxed anyway.

Anonymous said...

Well let's put it another way, you are never ever going to sway opinion until you do become more levelled and distanced from the core otherwise you will be labelled as bigoted, possibly in that respect of a view point rather similar to Trump, however on the other side of the mirror. Take care and present yourself a little more as an observer.

David Beeson said...

I observe May issuing an invitation to Trump to make a State Visit with unprecedented speed. I observe May hurrying to be the first foreign leader to visit Trump. I observe May being measured and slow in criticising behaviour by Trump that most of us would regard as deeply corrosive of civilised principle.

I observe all these things. Have you observed them?

What I don't do is pretend that my observations are disinterested. I feel it's indefensible to remain disinterested in the face of such an assault on principle. Do you feel that we should stand back and watch and say nothing?

Anonymous said...

Yes ofcourse I have observed them let's see how it all develops and if appropriate deal with issues in a constructive way. Lefties rants and tantrums simply strengthen the view of the right. It's fuel and just what the relish. At the moment there may very well be a silent majority that very much welcomes the actions of Trump. He has simply done what he said he would do which is what many voted for.

David Beeson said...

"He has simply done what he said he would do": you realise that what he said he would do was deeply unprincipled and probably illegal? The man who says "I will commit crimes against humanity" doesn't get permission to do so just because he's announced the intention.