Today, actual politicians in the actual House of Commons debated whether or not Donald Trump should be denied entry to The United Kingdom. Some of them were even being all earnest about it, throwing around words like ‘poisonous’ and wagging their finger all assertively and the like. Straight face and everything.
How did this happen you ask? Well, a while back the UK government decided it would discuss propositions, suggestions or general complaints were they presented in a petition containing 100,000 signatories or more.
One such petition titled ‘Block Donald J Trump from UK entry’ has amassed 575,655 signatures. The argument presented in the petition reads:
The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK.
If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful.
Firstly, I’d like to thank the signatories for forcing me into a position where I have to argue in Donald Trump’s corner, of all people. A man with utterly obnoxious views, not to mention *insert obligatory hair joke before posting*. Only in America could such a man be a contender for the top job, and yet he’s somehow managed to make a bigger mockery out of the UK political system.
In a colossal failure of irony awareness, a significant portion of the British public feel that the best way to deal with someone’s illiberal ideas is to have them banned from our shores. What a beautiful display of hypocrisy. Perhaps it’s all just a ‘bit of a laugh’. You know, that superior British sense of humour that Americans just don’t get – or something. Well, this guffaw has now mutated into a gigantic time and money wasting exercise. All the more depressing when you consider the petition to tackle Female Genital Mutilation in the UK only amassed 110,561 signatures. Granted, FGM isn’t nearly as funny.
Most importantly, many of my non-uk readers may not be aware that ‘Trump’ is also British slang for ‘Fart’. If anything, I hope Trump is allowed to visit us just for this reason. I for one, am greatly looking forward to the tabloid punnery that will inevitably ensue. I can see it now – a gormless looking Trump, snapped whilst navigating a blustery British landscape, that famous hair all a drift– Headline: ‘A Trump In The Wind’. You can have that.
Common sense will likely prevail of course, and Trump will not be prevented from travelling to the U.K. However, had Donald Trump just come to the UK as he was planning (presumably), I imagine he would have left at some point yet remained what he largely is: a joke.
Unfortunately, thanks to this petition, we, the U.K are a joke too. We’ve let the world know we can’t take an opposing view, however risible. We’re sending a clear message that we think freedom of speech literally is ‘up for debate’. We’ve also played right into Trump’s hands. He now has the attention of our entire nation – without even stepping foot here. Donald Trump should (and definitely could) pay each and every one of those signatories for the media exposure they’ve gifted him.