jimtoggleJim O’Neill condemns the Prime Minister for appeasing Donald Trump over the state visit, and condemns the Scottish Greens for appeasing the SNP over their austerity budget.

 

So, he targets Muslims, kills agreed trade deals, attacks Obamacare, supports torture including waterboarding, undermines NATO, signals attacks on the LGBT community all the while proclaiming his “Christianity”. Pope Francis condemns him. The French condemn him. Even the usually mouse-quiet Canadians condemn him. And what does the Prime Minister of the country who created the Declaration on Human Rights do? Why, she rewards him with a state visit, an honour only awarded to two previous presidents, and then only in the late part of their first term.

And he has gone on. Nominating a Supreme Court Justice with an extreme right wing history of judgements; offending and repudiating America’s biggest ally in the southern hemisphere and, worst of all, breaching the 1951 Refugee Convention, signed by almost every country in the world. Indeed, both the US under Truman and the UK under Churchill ensured that it was incorporated into the body of law of their countries. Has he broken his own country’s laws in this?

1.8m (and rising) citizens of the United Kingdom took the time to sign a petition to Parliament calling for the state visit to be withdrawn. So what does Theresa May do? So desperate for friends and for trading partners post Brexit, she rejects each and every call for her to reverse her premature invitation, even blaming a “working group at the Foreign Office” for the framing of the invitation. So, it is all Boris’ fault. You could not make it up.

But what makes her think that Trump will be accommodating of a free trade deal with the UK post Brexit? After all, he was elected on a slogan of “America First” and his first act was to cancel the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving 12 Asian and Australasian nations and allies in the lurch. And when she comes round to seeking such a deal, in the summer of 2019 by her calculation, he will be in the middle of another major election, trying to hold on to control of the Senate and House of Representatives, and avoiding becoming a “lame duck” President. Not the time, one would think, for him to be reversing his fundamental policy to help out a comparatively small trading partner such as the UK.

I signed the petition, not because I had any real belief that the Tory government would just fold and withdraw the application, thus destroying what relationship they have with Trump, but because I wanted to help trigger the debate in the House of Commons which will smoke out those who have the courage of their convictions and those who are appeasers at heart. Remember, it was a Tory Government from 1936 to 1939 who had a policy of appeasement towards Hitler, cheered on by the Daily Mail. Well, the Daily Mail continues to suck up to bullies. We will see on 20 February which of our parliamentarians will follow suit.

But we don’t have to look as far as Westminster to find appeasers. Little Derek Mackay has thrown a bone to serial SNP appeasers, Patrick Harvie and the Greens, to get his austerity budget through Holyrood. Harvie has said that they “pushed the minority Government beyond its comfort zone”. Well Patrick, I can’t see that you managed to push them very hard when you went into the negotiations saying that you would not vote down the budget. Where was the threat there?

Mind you, while not allaying all the cuts in local government, any reduction in level of cuts is welcome, although the policy of refusing to say whether they would accept or reject the government offer, formulated by North Ayrshire’s own Joe Cullinane, has shown that local government were right to reject that particular poison chalice. It is clear that the Government will not compromise any further, although Nicola Sturgeon’s boringly regular use of the word “ashamed” in reference to all parties except the Greens maybe suggests that she protests too much.

As for Patrick Harvie, I am reminded of the Spitting Image puppet of David Owen with David Steel living in his top pocket. Teddy Roosevelt once said “Talk softly and carry a big stick”. Patrick Harvie talks loudly but carries a feather duster.