Lunchtime Debate: Actually, let Donald Trump come here

There’s a petition doing the rounds at the moment which, at the time of writing, has some 120,000 signatures, close to the threshold at which it will be considered to be debated in Parliament, calling on the Government to ban Donald Trump from entering the UK.

Trump has disgraced himself with his recent call for Muslims to be refused entry to the United States.

I get that people find his views repugnant. So do I. This, however, isn’t the first time Trump has said something outrageously prejudiced. It’s his stock-in-trade. Earlier this year, the Huffington Post compiled a list of the most offensive things he had said about women – you know, how we’re all gold digging, how breastfeeding is disgusting and, basically, just there for decoration.

Much as I understand that people are repelled by his views, there is a certain irony in them responding to his ignorant call to ban a group of people with a call to ban him.

I have less than no time for the man. Hell, he called a friend of mine who had the temerity to question his plans for his golf course a “national disgrace, scoundrel and extremist”. However, I was never comfortable with the idea of “no platform” because I think that sweeping prejudice under the carpet doesn’t get rid of it. It finds oxygen from somewhere and lurks there, waiting or an opportunity to re-emerge and spread even more intensified hate. When people express views like Trump’s, they need to be challenged, satirised and shown up for the nonsense that they are.

I’d love to see the likes of Lynne Featherstone, Shirley Williams, Jo Brand, Tim Farron or his new mate Russell Howard take him down with carefully chosen words. In that way, they can also challenge similar views held by those who aren’t quite as rich and powerful as The Donald.

What do you think?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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29 Comments

  • Since he is asserting that a country can decide who visits we should do the same for him. No need for him to come here, our comedians can tear a strip off him over the media. The worrying thing is that the Republican Party are actually considering him.

  • Matt (Bristol) 9th Dec '15 - 1:27pm

    I have no objection to Trump coming here in principle (I have a lot of objections to his – lack of – principles, though), I hope his wig is egg-proof; not that I’m explicitly condoning that, of course.

    I cannot fathom why Republican Party rules allow him to remain in the race at this stage particularly as he is clearly using (hijacking) the primaries process to build his own powerbase effectively create an insurrectionist hard-right personality cult. In this country, ‘his’ party would have cut him loose and let him fall eons hence.

    Open primaries suddenly don’t sound that good an idea anymore.

  • Paul Murray 9th Dec '15 - 1:48pm

    “Demagogues throughout our history have attempted to divide us based on race, gender, sexual orientation or country of origin. Now, Trump and others want us to hate all Muslims. The United States is a great nation when we stand together. We are a weak nation when we allow racism and xenophobia to divide us.”

    – Bernie Sanders.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 9th Dec '15 - 2:16pm

    “Since he is asserting that a country can decide who visits we should do the same for him.”

    No, Bruce. We should do the opposite.

    Banning Trump simply says he’s right that countries should ban people from entering for the flimsiest of reasons. The man is a total [EXPLETIVE DELETED] but he wouldn’t be coming to the UK to raise a militia, but rather to express views with which we disagree. As a liberal, I don’t think that’s sufficient reason to ban someone and, to the extent others have been banned for less, that’s a reason to lift bans on them not to impose one on Trump.

    This petition is, I’m afraid, classic social media virtue-signalling by people who either haven’t thought it through or are hypocrites, or both.

  • Jayne Mansfield 9th Dec '15 - 2:17pm

    I believe that Caron is correct. He should be allowed to come for the reasons she gives. But then again, I argued on here that Julian Blanc should be aLLowed to come for the same reasons, when some prominent Liberals were arguing that he should not be allowed to do so, and that he should be denied a visa.

    The denying of a platform to those we disagree with is a really quite concerning phenomenon. We should have the argument to oppose theirs , and the opportunity to do so. There are laws to deal with those who cross the line.

  • I agree with Caron , as often is the case, ah, yes and Jayne , above. To ban someone for specifically calling on some people to be banned is ironic, ludicrous and typical of this so called , no platforming nonsense. No one truly dangerous or whose views are inciting violence should be allowed to enter , or given an opportunity , actively , to promote odious views .Trump should be treated as is appropriate. If , as Russell , Brand , rather than Howard , said of Nigel Farage , he is a pound shop Enoch Powell , Trump s a dime store Joe Mcarthy . And you heard it here first , folks .

  • @SNP so I take it following your logic we should welcome anyone no matter how unsavoury.

  • Bruce , not sure who you re asking , me , as previous comment was mine , or Caron . I made it clear , anyone truly dangerous or inciting violence must not be allowed in or given opportunities to speak . That does not apply in this instant , by my interpreting of the Mill harm principle , here . I believe Trump is a joke . I treated him thus, above . If given an opportunity , as someone who married into the American scene by proxy , I could debate Trump , I would love to . I would continue to utilise satire but it would be a robust debate . And thus he would be exposed as what he is .I f he is banned , he can say , as he has , the Brits are scared.

  • He only says these things to get attention. Having a petition is giving him attention. Don’t do it.

    Ignore him and he’ll (up the rhetoric for a while to see if that works but then eventually) stop.

  • Dave , not sure he shall stop ,he s got what it takes to continue in the race and enough of a small but keen populist fan base . That s what he has . Fans . They fan what he thrives on , more than , money , EGO. It shall see him through . He cannot win the White House , however . We can see how divisive he s been ad nauseum , its his essence . Deals are all he talks about yet who would even want to negotiate with such a polarising figure. US presidents are at some level usually unifiers , whatever their views , and whether they are good , bad or indifferent. They can antagonise the enemy , but rarely create enemies at home that do not already exist .Reagan was a moderate as Governor , of California , as was Bush , in Texas , compared to the stance , re the perceived foreign foes. Trump would make enemies of friends and in a jokey way, not funny . Not if he got to be President . That would n t be at all funny .

  • Eddie Sammon 9th Dec '15 - 4:17pm

    I agree he shouldn’t be banned for this, but if the line is inciting violence then he probably should be for what he said the other week about a Black Lives Matter heckler:

    “Maybe he should have been roughed up a bit”.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/22/politics/donald-trump-black-lives-matter-protester-confrontation/

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 9th Dec '15 - 4:20pm

    “@SNP so I take it following your logic we should welcome anyone no matter how unsavoury.”

    If they aren’t coming to instigate crime and disorder then I don’t want to ban them visiting the country. That’s basic liberalism. I don’t know if you identify as a liberal, but if you’re keen on banning people from the country simply because they have views you strongly disagree with, I’d suggest you have more in common with Trump than you’d care to admit.

    You say “welcome”… but you must understand there is a range of positions between “welcome” and “ban”. I don’t “welcome” untidy gardens, people dumping their partners by text, rudeness to traffic wardens, Jeremy Kyle making TV shows etc. I wouldn’t ban any of them. I don’t “welcome” Trump coming here, but wouldn’t ban him. It’s not that complex a point.

  • These petitions may have seemed like a good idea, but are now just getting silly. People like Trump and Fury might be “d##kheads” or “bigots”, but if someone started a petition saying the petitions against Trump and Fury should be ignored, they would get 150,000 signatures in a couple of days. If Trump is elected by the American people, he will and should be welcomed to visit the UK. If people don’t want Fury to win SPOTY then vote for someone else, but whoever wins then that’s the view of the majority and should be accepted. If you look at the comments pages of the popular press – with many thousands more people making comments than on LDV – you will see that the people signing the petitions are not necessary in the majority.

  • We pride ourselves in supporting the right of free speech however repugnant it may be. I therefore disagree with the petition. It is better to ignore him or treat him as a joke.

    More generally, there seems to be a growing trend whereby there are calls to ban all sorts of speakers even in Universities which are supposed to be places where debate is a key part of the learning process. This is a very unhealthy development. Intolerance is a particularly nasty trait and seeking to silence one’s opponents must not be encouraged.

  • Peter – Well said.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 9th Dec '15 - 5:29pm

    @Peter: On the universities thing , I would similarly want to see the likes of Germaine Greer challenged on her transphobic nonsense. I would understand, though, that trans people might consider that not a safe space for them.

  • If we don’t let him in how would we get the chance to laugh at him?

  • @Caron – There may be exceptions as you suggest, I ‘m aware of that example but don’t know enough about it to have an informed opinion. You are absolutely right that healthy challenge and debate is usually the best approach.

  • Mick Taylor 9th Dec '15 - 8:48pm

    I disagree with everything you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Think on those wise words when calling for bans on people you disagree with.

  • nigel hunter 9th Dec '15 - 10:40pm

    I agree that Universities should be allowed to debate whatever they wish Free discussion should be allowed. However, is free speech dying for varying reasons? People used to use Speakers Corner London to discuss anything under the Sun but safety fears can prevent people from having their say.

  • Let him in and debate him, look at the BNP’s fortunes after their offensive leader was invited on question time, he was destroyed by the decent people on the panel and in the audience…..

  • David Evershed 10th Dec '15 - 11:28am

    Liberal Democrats should be the last people to suggest banning someone because of their opinions.

    Apart from being liberal, we are the party who should be most capable of making arguments in favour of religious freedom to counter those of Trump.

    However, we should also recognise that when making risk assessments of individuals, their muslim religion is a contributory factor along with many others.

  • Trump has shown himself in recent months to be a hate preacher and as such, the Home Secretary can then decide whether his presence would see breaches of the peace.
    As over 400,00 have so far signed the petition in just over 24 hours, its showing that there is huge public distaste of his views and if he did come here, no doubt there will have to be a huge police presence to protect him.
    Will that cost be borne by UK tax payers as the Police resources are severely limited and his presence is sure to see many protestors following him.
    I dont feel its morally right to allow him to use the UK as a platform to spouse more of his hatred. It isn’t curtailing his rights as anyone wanting to hear his vile views just have to watch the news (and presumably YouTube for all his speeches).
    I dont want him in the UK and using this country to promote his views.
    If he becomes President, I would expect him to be allowed entry, but only on the understanding that he doesn’t abuse his position by espousing the views we have heard him speak in recent months.

  • Trump is an ass… and as tempting as it is to keep him out of the country (even as a joke / taste of his own medicine), we obviously should defend his right to come here – and be challenged & ridiculed!

    What’s a little worrying is the YouGov Poll I just saw…
    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/12/09/brits-oppose-muslim-policy-pockets-approval/

    Who are the 16% of Lib Dems who think banning all Muslims from entering a country is an appropriate response? Do they really exist?

  • I’m sure he’d be welcomed by Aberdeen Lib Dem council group, they were after all quite happy to everything they could to accommodate his golf course, driving good liberals out of the party in the process

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 10th Dec '15 - 11:49pm

    Hang on, @David Evershed – that is bang out of order. If I said that because virtually all sexual crime is committed by men, “when making risk assessments of individuals, their being male is a contributory factor along with many others” you would quite rightly be furious. What makes you think it is in any way appropriate to say the same thing about Muslims?

  • A Social Liberal 11th Dec '15 - 12:10am

    Well said, Caron

  • Completely agree with this article. Was glad his honourary degree and business ambassador status were stripped, but he should be allow to enter the UK for the purpose of ridicule, like all hate preachers.

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