One of the problems common to Donald Trump (aka Mr Toad) and Teresa May (aka The Wicked Witch of Westminster) and their respective supporters is that both of of our countries are infected with political Nativism, which the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines as “the political idea that people who were born in a country are more important than immigrants (= people who have come to live in the country from somewhere else). Wikipedia has a quite extensive article on the political aspects of the phenomenon: Nativism (politics) which may be helpful.
It is worth remembering that England has a very long history of political Nativism -certainly going back to the England of Elizabeth I who succeeded to the throne in 1558. Over time England exported may of its prejudices to its colonies including those in North America. In England, Nativism even extended to opposition to people coming south from Scotland – “Hadrian built the Roman Wall to keep the Scottish out. But he did not build it high enough, or wide enough or thick enough – and look at us today“. English Nativism extended also to immigration from Ireland. As the Wikipedia article explains, US nativism has its origins in the original 13 British Colonies.
We in England should remember that we exported many things to America via our colonies in the USA. We exported our language, although some Americans do now describe it as “Murkin”. We exported many of our constitutional arrangements and, we exported the common law – including the principle of the separation of powers which means that acts of the executive are subject to judicial review.
Nativisim & Brexit
The Conservative Party has quite a long history of Nativism. But Commonwealth immigration and racism became issues with for the Conservatives starting with Enoch Powell – see the Wikipedia: Rivers of Blood speech and thereafter, this anti-immigration stance became very much the feeling of the right wing of the Conservative Party.
Teresa May was elected to Parliament in the 1997 General Election and she became Home Secretary in May 2010 and in that year she promised to bring annual net migration down to less than 100,000. She has never been able to honour that promise.
The latest Migration Statistics for the Year Ending June 2016 were:-
||1. All Citizenships
- The UK citizen population is declining by something like 50,000 per year as UK citizens decide to leave the country.
- In addition, the UK citizen population is ageing and with the passage of time a greater proportion will not not be working and many will need social care.
- A high proportion of non EU immigrants are either (i) persons who the spouses and other family members of UK citizens and to refuse them entry would breach the family rights of UK citizens; or (ii) students who leave at the end of their studies; or (iii) persons whose special skills benefit the economy
- EU nationals are, of course exercising “free movement” rights
In short, the much vaunted aim of limiting annual net migration to 100,000 has never been workable. It has always been a false promise made as a sop to the Nativists who support the Conservative Party.
The idea of a Referendum on leaving the EU was conceived by David Cameron as a way of stopping Nativists in the Conservative Party defecting to the United Kingdom Independence Party. It was a bad idea to begin with. Worse, it was badly implemented.
David Cameron was right to tender his resignation when the result became known. Unfortunately, the fallout has meant that Teresa May is now Prime Minister and, worse, she is in thrall to the Nativists in her party and beyond.
Nativism and Trump
The New Yorker has this: “The Trump Administration’s Dark View of Immigrants“. It is worth a read.
“The executive order that Trump issued on Friday—which barred all refugees and people who hold passports from seven Muslim-majority countries—was said to be about terrorism, but that never was persuasive. The list, it was widely noted, omitted Saudi Arabia, the home of most of the 9/11 attackers; meanwhile, no one from the seven countries included in the order has committed a deadly act of terrorism in the U.S. since 2001. The list includes both Shiite and Sunni countries, those whose governments work in concert with the United States and those that are our avowed enemies. The departments that might have helped to weigh the risk of nationals from different countries, including Homeland Security and State, were not consulted. The order was reportedly written by a young policy adviser to the President, Stephen Miller, and Bannon.”
and it picks up on this Washington Post article: ” Trump administration circulates more draft immigration restrictions, focusing on protecting U.S. jobs”
It seems increasingly likely that the President’s immigration plans (and much more) are largely being advocated by Steve Bannon- see this in Time Magazine: “Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World?” and also this: “What Steve Bannon really wants“.
It is looking increasingly likely that the lunatics have taken charge of the US asylum and the rest of the word may be in for some very troubling times.
However, the US Courts appear to be doing their bit. The Telegraph has this: “Donald Trump travel ban: US appeals court denies justice department’s emergency appeal to restore ‘unconstitutional’ ban“.
The Independent has this editorial: “We are nervously confident Donald Trump cannot break the US Constitution – The President is no respecter of the independence of the US judiciary, but he will not always get his way” which includes this:-
“We know enough about Mr Trump to know that he will not be similarly embarrassed into paying even lip-service to the independence of the judiciary in the US. He will no doubt continue his attempt to bully and intimidate judges with his outbursts on social media, violating the spirit of the Constitution. Yet the US system is strong. If it is being tested, we are nervously confident that it will endure. The US judicial system has been politicised to an alarming degree, and much more than the UK equivalent, despite the explicit separation of powers in the US Constitution, but most US judges will stand up to Mr Trump’s insults.”
The Wicked Witch & Mr Toad
It is also likely that President Trump’s approach is going to impact on any visit to the UK. Perhaps unwisely, Mrs May extended an invitation on behalf of Her Majesty that Mr Trump should come on a State Visit to the United Kingdom very early in his presidency. There is very considerable opposition to the idea. Some grassroots comments were to be found on a tabloid website:-
“Not many countries ever had a head of state prepared to shake hands,for the benefit of their country,with some of the lowest,most vulgar and disgusting lunatics on the face of the earth….and their “escort” appendages.We should all thank Her Majesty with all our hearts for the sacrifices she has made and the indignities she has endured ….not least the impending one.”
“Trump contaminates everything he touches. If you let him visit your wonderful country, it will be like a return of hoof-and mouth disease.”
The Telegraph has this: “Thousands march on London in protest against Donald Trump’s travel ban and Theresa May’s invitation to President for UK state visit“.
The Guardian has this: “We will boycott Trump speech, say Labour’s female MPs – Harriet Harman leads call to ‘empty chair’ US president if he is invited to address Parliament on state visit“.
The Guardian also has this: “Two-thirds of Britons believe Trump is ‘threat to international stability’ – Over half surveyed believe US president is untrustworthy and that UK state visit should be cancelled, new poll finds”
“In addition to the 64% who believe he represents a threat to international stability, the words most commonly associated by Britons with the divisive US president are dangerous (50%), unstable (39%), and bigot (35%). A further 56% believe he is untrustworthy.”
Interestingly, the pro-Republican web site, Real Clear Politics has this: “The President Still Loves Polls“. It is worth noting that the latest Gallup Poll gives Trump a 6 point Disapproval rating. One wonders whether Mr Toad will like his polling figures from the UK.
The respected commentator Janet Daley has this in the Telegraph: “Britain can’t afford to be seen on Trump’s side – we are defending the indefensible”
The European Union – Trump and May
The Financial Times has this: “May’s pledge to bind Trump to Europe wins mixed reception – EU leaders summit in Malta dominated by US president’s chaotic first weeks in power”
The Guardian has this: “EU leaders round on Trump and reject May’s bridge-building efforts – Prime ministers and presidents at Malta summit line up to scorn Trump’s conduct, accusing him of lack of respect”
The Independent has this: “EU Malta summit: European leaders rebuff Theresa May’s offer to act as ‘bridge to Donald Trump’ – The Prime Minister faces an uphill battle to convince EU leaders she can help them work with a US President who horrifies them“:-
“Ms May arrived in the Maltese capital carrying the message from Mr Trump that Europe must increase its defence spending in return for his “100 per cent” commitment to Nato.
But other EU leaders view the American leader with horror because of his hostility to the EU, his protectionism and controversial policies, such as the travel ban from seven mainly Muslim countries.
The European parliament’s main political parties have called for Mr Trump’s likely choice as ambassador to the EU to be blocked from its buildings after he said the EU needed “taming”.
And, earlier this week, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, included the US President as a “threat” facing the bloc, along with China, Russia and radical Islam.”
All in all, Mrs May seems to have been rebuffed in her attempt to position the UK as an interlocutor between the EU and the USA.
The Wicked Witch of Westminster is seen as being far too close to Mr Toad.