If there was a prize for consistently doing the wrong thing it would surely go to Theresa May.
Having led one of the most unpopular and ineffective governments in British history, she has chosen to use her final days as prime minister to welcome one of the most despised figures in the world to the UK.
Just like during his ‘working visit’ last July, when an estimated quarter million people flooded the streets of London, Donald Trump’s UK visit is already inseparable from the mass protests against him.
Last year he avoided London almost entirely, but this year he will be in the capital and protesters are planning to surround him on Tuesday.
I am one of the people helping to plan these protests. As a working-class Muslim immigrant, I tick the boxes of a lot of groups of people that Donald Trump is attacking in the US and his rhetoric against migrants and Muslims has an impact in inciting violent hate crimes here in the UK and across Europe.
The majority of people in this country stand against his vile rhetoric targeting women, Muslims, refugees and immigrants, LGBT+ people, and against his policies that have harmed millions in the United States and globally.
We will never forget that one of his first actions as president, while Theresa May was holding hands with him, was to enact a Muslim ban. He has since retweeted videos spreading lies about Muslims from Britain First and has been blatantly Islamophobic in his vicious attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
We will never forget the sound of children crying as they were separated from their families at the US-Mexico border and caged – which now stands at around 15,000 children, six of whom have died in detention.
The terrorists that attacked the mosque in Christchurch took inspiration from the words of Trump. So as well as being a part of a broad and international movement that is standing up to Trumpism, I feel personally obligated to make my voice heard during this visit.
It is an insult to us all that a man who embodies the values that we abhor should be given a red carpet welcome – and at an estimated cost upwards of £18m at a time when we’re told about the necessities of continuing austerity.
The type of post-Brexit trade deal his administration has indicated – a free trade deal with the US the likes of TTIP or CETA, which opens the NHS up to more privatisation, allows multinational corporations to supersede our laws, that would deteriorate workers’ rights and consumer standards – is not in the interests of working people in Britain.
It is an affront that he is being brought over to commemorate D-Day. This is a man who claimed there were ‘fine people’ among the neo-Nazis that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, who appointed as his chief strategist Steve Bannon who has set up far right organisations in Europe, and who has taken the world further away from peace particularly with his current push for war with Iran and Venezuela.
The state visit bears a higher degree of importance than last year not only because of the added prestige he is being given, but also because of the ramifications of legitimising him at the present moment.
We have been told by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that we have 11 years before the destruction of our climate is irreversible and the movement against climate change has accelerated across the world, yet Trump maintains climate change is a hoax and continues to pump investment into fossil fuels. That he thinks the solution is to rebrand natural gas exports as ‘freedom gas’ is beyond parody and lays bare his disregard for the planet.
Trump is soon going to unveil his ‘Deal of the Century’ for Israel and Palestine which has become clear is going to be a catastrophe for Palestinians.
His appointments to the Supreme Court have sparked a clampdown of women’s reproductive rights and on LGBT rights.
For all these reasons and many more, it is our imperative to make our opposition to Trump and our government’s appeasement of him vocal and visible. We can play no part in normalising Trumpism.
Everyone who can should join the march on Tuesday 4 June and those who can’t should use social media to express their dissent.
Our protests last year gave inspiration to the resistance to Trump in the US as well as against his visits across the globe.
My hope is that this year’s protests will send a clear message to Donald Trump and those who espouse to his ideology that there is no place for their hateful politics here.
I hope to send a clear message to our government, too, that we will equally oppose their racist policies against Windrush citizens, refugees and immigrants. Nor will we stand by and tolerate their warmongering or their continued attack on workers’ rights and living standards of the majority of people in this country.
It’s important that our protests are not a one-off show of opposition against just Trump, but part of a mass movement that takes on yet another unelected Tory prime minister, Farage and the far-right. We are in favour of peace, action on climate change and an end to austerity among other things.
The bottom line is that we will not sit by quietly while the Trumps of the world run rampant taking us all down an increasingly dark and dangerous path.
Details of protests around the country can be found here.
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