As the Queen’s Speech became a game of Bingo for the commentariat on what measures would not be included that existed in the Conservatives’ manifesto (conveniently deleted from the Conservative Party website), the humiliation continued for Theresa May and her backers in the press.
The Telegraph worked itself into a lather about, ‘outside, the revolutionary mob‘, threatening democracy and the government ‘calling for its violent overthrow in the streets’, as if it was the last days of the Russian Provisional Government holed up in the Winter Palace in October 1917, rather than those justifiably outraged at the Grenfell Tower disaster and the policies of May and the Tory government.
But while the right-wing press tried to restore the status quo ante of upholding the rich and denigrating the poor, that other disparager of the less well-off was missing from the Queen’s Speech: Donald Trump and his mooted state visit.
Though the government and the White House administration are circling the wagons, Trump is prone to his own Custer-like sallies. Like a recidivist arsonist who remains at large, he starts more fires while his lawyers and aides are extinguishing his previous conflagrations. Trump has suggested that he won’t go to London if there are protests, delicate flower that he is. If only the signatories of the petition to block Trump from coming at all knew it would be so easy.
This inevitably ties into whether he should be accorded the honour of a state visit at all. Many proponents on the right carp that no such protests or censure from the speaker of the Commons occurred when President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China was accorded a state visit, having selective memory of demonstrations by pro-Tibetan and Hong Kong groups. President Xi, though vigorously expunging the already extremely truncated civil liberties that previously existed, does not pose a threat to Britain’s national interest.
The Queen has had to make nice with various unsavoury characters to advance her government’s foreign policy, from Nicolae Ceaușescu and Mobutu Sese Seko, to kings of Saudi Arabia. The first two were viewed through the prism of the Cold War while the latter make lucrative arms purchases. Disreputable but not against the national interest (though Saudi Arabia might be).
Donald Trump unquestionably is against British national interest. From equivocating on upholding NATO’s collective defence by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, to picking a fight with London Mayor Sadiq Khan just hours after the London Bridge terrorist attack, Trump manifestly undermines Britain. It goes deeper too as Trump shreds the very civilizational values that western society has built up, thumbing his nose at adherence to the rule of law to threatening the Fourth Estate with prison. He is a signal danger to Britain.
Yet Trump might not come at all. Though the talk is of a ‘date not set’, it is highly unusual for a state visit not be included in the Queen’s Speech — as evidenced by the announcement that the King and Queen of Spain will visit in July. It may be that Trump does not want to come given the strong possibility that his ally, Theresa May, could fall at any moment and then a very different prime minister would take charge — one that takes a dim view of making political capital out of terrorism.
Ultimately though, Trump is a narcissist and cannot countenance anything that might detract from his ‘success’; from ‘rigged’ elections denying him the overall popular vote, to ‘faked’ inauguration crowds. For Trump, Theresa May is a failure for losing her parliamentary majority, and to appear next to her would be tantamount to associating himself with failure. As the Tories show no intention of rescinding the premature invitation, it would be the best thing he could do for Britain by not turning up.