Tag Archives: donald trump

What the Lib Dems can learn about economics from Donald Trump

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/4860335535/in/photolist-8puuqx-nH9KhK-x5gkW-a2Yx4D-8putCp-a32qpS-a2YbjP-9kJJvt-7b8177-8puprR-6SKbQG-6SKbZG-oKCWvp-dkaUyr-v2EDLi-r1tFvY-r1tFHm-9kNUaq-4Mph7K-ChcB23-8puqfH-8pxBCE-8pxDRo-9kJHqK-aWwhx4-9VBBzN-5WEQZB-a2Ybz8-9kJLQR-9kP8co-4icUAV-9kMMvL-9kMSBb-9kMNwd-bYafLo-8purhr-9kKZfe-nzKQ2n-yNYtG-8pup2p-8purRn-hKv96Z-8pupSi-8pust2-bZPiEm-9kP7hq-a32p7J-8upwDg-5MSyss-9kMKy9Not least among my irritating habits is that I often take the opposite side of the argument to whatever the consensus is at any one time, not because I necessarily believe it, but rather to test my knowledge of my own point of view.

But there are times when even my ability to agitate for an unpopular cause runs aground. Donald Trump’s presidency is one where the well of mischief runs dry.

But there is a lesson for liberals in Mr Trump’s economic policies, as his actions reveal the failings of trickle-down economics …

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Can you name these three animals? Congratulations! Your cognitive skills could be up there with the US President


I said the other day that the “Fire and Fury” book has lowered expectations about Donald Trump:

When you read of the dysfunction and chaos in his White House, it then comes as a pleasant surprise when you hear Donald Trump stringing a basic, reasonably coherent sentence together without falling over the furniture and dribbling.

Well, this week the results of Trump’s annual medical tests were released. There seems to be considerable relief that his tests, at least according to the lead medic, Dr Ronny Jackson, gave good results. As far as Mr Trump’s cognitive abilities are concerned, Dr Jackson said:

The president is mentally very sharp, very intact.

Posted in Humour | 5 Comments

Book review: Fire, fury and landmark transparency in the White House


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There’s a queue for the doorstopper version of “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff. So on the day of the book’s release last week, I got the Kindle version. I then decided to make my life easier by opting for a free trial of “Audible“. So, I have listened to two-thirds of the audio version of the book, read beautifully by the author and Holter Graham. I am sorry that I have not yet finished the book but I admit I am finding the latter half of it rather heavy going.

There’s no doubt though, that this book is a good read. Or in my case a good listen.

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The better angels of our nature

The US state of Alabama went to the polls this week in an election that can hardly have been more polarised.

In what is normally rock solid Republican territory, the GOP candidate Roy Moore faced Democrat Doug Jones. Mr Moore, a right winger opposes abortion in all circumstances, thinks homosexuality is a sin and believes Muslims should not be allowed to hold government jobs.

However Moore’s political views were not what made this race competitive.

The surfacing of allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour was the issue that dogged him during the campaign. It made his principle opponent a contender in a state that the Democrats hadn’t won for decades.

Jones, who has never held office, but is well known in the state for his involvement in a high profile prosecution of Klansmen, was sneeringly described by President Trump as a liberal Democrat in a statement endorsing Moore.

This from a man who with every passing day reminds the Stephen King fans amongst us of the megalomaniac politician, Greg Stillson, from the Dead Zone.

That said these days most Republicans are pretty scary.

You have to go back a long way to find a GOP liberal of the Rockerfeller variety.

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Vince: Trump is racist and evil

Don’t you just wish Vince would just say what he thinks and not hold back?

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Jo Swinson tells Trump to delete his Twitter account

I’m sure most of us will have had slightly awkward conversations with friends and relatives who, say, saw a nice picture of a field of poppies and a union jack and shared it on Facebook not realising that they were sharing the work of the horribly racist and islamophobic Britain First.

I always point it out to people and most of the time they are utterly mortified and swear to be more vigilant next time.

There is no such embarrassment from the President of the US. No pretending he was hacked. No apology. No regret. This isn’t your auntie sharing something inadvertently. …

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Backlash against Trump in US elections


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Here’s a few stories about the encouraging elections in the USA last Tuesday.

Politico summarised the news:

This one was for Donald Trump. Exit polls revealed an unmistakable anti-Trump backlash Tuesday, as Democrats won resounding victories in governors races in Virginia and New Jersey. Majorities of voters in both states disapproved of the job Trump is doing as president, with significant numbers of voters in each state saying Trump was a reason for their vote. And far more of those voters said they made their choice to oppose Trump than to support him.

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Donald Trump interview from 1980 – is this a different person?

This is a remarkable video clip of a 1980 NBC interview with Donald Trump. Tom Brokaw is the host for a conversation about New York real estate with a 33 year-old Trump.

It is worth noting Donald Trump’s mode of speech in this interview. He talks quite quickly. He uses lots of words. He doesn’t stumble over those words. His sentences are perfectly formed and crisply delivered, with lots of substantive clauses and the like. And what he is talking about has quite a lot of technical detail.

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments

Campbell: Every time Trump opens his mouth, the world becomes a less safe place

Back in the day when he was leader, he was referred to as Ming. Now he’s in the Lords and newly appointed Defence Spokesperson, he’s back to being Menzies.

Anyway, our new Defence spokesperson had this to say about Donald Trump’s latest destabilising shenanigans over Iran:

This is yet another example of Trump’s boneheaded belligerence.

Not content with senseless responses to every provocation of Kim Jong Un, he is determinedly undermining a treaty which has proved to be an important influence on nuclear non-proliferation.

Every time Trump opens his mouth, the world becomes a less safe place.

Surely, by implication, every time he reaches for …

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Observations of an ex pat: Scary

Be scared. Be very scared. In fact if you saw, listened to or read about President Donald Trump’s UN address than you are probably terrified.  If not, then think again.

Trump used the occasion of his first speech to the General Assembly to draw red lines across the  map and dare his opponents to cross them. North Korea, Iran and Venezuela are the new axis of evil.

In one breath he called for an international order based on a respect for national sovereignty and with the next bullied those those who oppose him.

The United Nations and international cooperation enjoyed early support, but …

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Three competing theories as to why Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump won

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Coincidentally, in the last week we’ve had two competing theories emerge in the USA. Theories, that is, as to why Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 Presidential election and Donald Trump won. First, we had this from Hilary Clinton in her new memoir:

I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t realize how quickly the ground was shifting under all our feet… I was running a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies and painstakingly built coalitions, while Trump was running a reality TV show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans’ anger and resentment.

In conversation with CBS’s Jane Pauley, Hillary Clinton added that her biggest mistakes were to use a private server for her email and accept paid speaking engagements from bankers.

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Vince: Trump state visit would be “completely wrong” after Charlottesville comments

“Fine people on both sides” said Donald Trump of the horrific events in Charlottesville at the weekend. I suspect most of you reading this site will, like me, utterly reject the notion that you can go to a demo, stand on the same side as people carrying swastikas and dressing kids up in KKK costume and be a “fine person.”

Vince Cable has condemned Trump’s remarks and has renewed Liberal Democrat calls for the offer of a State visit to be withdrawn.

He said:

The events of the last few days have shocked and appalled the entire world.

Images of Nazis, marching in American streets, terrorist attacks on peaceful protestors. Every world leader should be able to condemn that.

Donald Trump’s response to these tragic events has been shocking.

He has shown that he is unable to detach himself from the extreme-right and racial supremacists.

The fact he remains highly dependent on White House advisors from the extreme-right shows he is firmly anchored in this detestable worldview.

It would be completely wrong to have this man visit the UK on a State Visit.

The government should be following the far more prudent example to relations with the US President set by Angela Merkel in Germany.

Tim Farron first called for the State visit offer to be withdrawn in the wake of Trump’s first attempt at a travel ban the week after he entered the White House.

It is pretty awful to have a Government that is so dependent on the hope of a trade deal that they won’t condemn the way he has reacted. We’ve spent the last 70 years at the heart of an organisation that has fought for human rights and democracy across the world. Now we are going to be entering a period of excessive pandering to all sorts of dodgy characters because we need their trade and will probably have to take it on whatever terms they demand. It will be a far cry from the days when we could roll up with 27 of our mates and tell them to get lost with their chlorinated chicken. 

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Observations of an ex pat: Trouble at NWS 101

There are serious problems in the playground at Nuclear Weapons School 101. There is a new boy—Kim. Nobody likes him. He is loud, obnoxious and into domestic abuse in a big way.

Kim is especially disliked by Donald who is president of the student council, captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams, number one in his class and popular with all the girls. And he has been at the school less than a year.  Donald also controls a big chunk of what Kim regards as his home turf.  In fact, Donald and his family have been calling the shots at NWS 101 since they threw the first and—so far—the  only knock-out punch against Tojo and Hirohito.

Donald is strong. Very strong, and he backs it up with a frightening array of brass knuckles, baseball bats, knives, axes, swords, clubs, machetes and the biggest,  bestest and most frightening array of guns ever developed by mankind.

Some of the other kids in the playground are a bit envious of Donald. They think he has been throwing his weight around too much. This is especially true of Vladimir and Xi. That is why when Kim started building up his rival arsenal they turned a blind eye. They even smuggled some sweets to him. Perhaps, they thought,  it was time that Donald was taken down a peg or two. Perhaps introducing Kim to the playground could persuade Donald to share the captaincy of one of the sports teams or a girlfriend or two.

They don’t want Donald hurt. They need him and—even though he has occasional problems recognizing it—he needs them too.

Kim doesn’t have such qualms. He is anxious to prove his tough guy credentials and is not in the least concerned about who is hurt in the process. He has built up his own arsenal and even though it is nowhere near the size of Donald’s weapons stock, Kim is threatening to attack Donald on his home turf.

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Trump Inc. fleeces US Government to keep nuclear button in-house

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In a move unheard of in any democratic country regarding its head of state (both personal and as an institution) and his/her official trappings, the Trump government has:

1. moved the presidential bodyguard local co-ordination centre out of Trump tower to a trailer on the New York sidewalk, 50 floors below, and
2. made the presidential military staff, keepers of the famous “football” containing the infamous nuclear button, accept an extortionate lease price to keep it located inside Trump Tower.

At least, that is what the Washington Post has discovered.

In US politics, it is quite usual that the essential entourage of a president, as president and commander-in-chief, has premises on all locations and in all buildings a president resides in or which he (when will it be a she?) owns. With the Kennedy’s and George Bush senior these included their family summer residences in Massachusetts and Maine.

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

Pivotal US healthcare votes swung by ailing Senators

It’s been a disastrous week for Donald Trump’s Presidency. I won’t the list the cataclysms because there are endless articles cataloguing them. This article does a very good job in summing up the situation.

What struck me was that a situation which led to the Affordable Care Act (ACA – “Obamacare”) becoming law was repeated as the Republican “Skinny Repeal” of the ACA failed in the US Senate early on Friday morning.

In the December 2009, the late Senator Robert Byrd, then 92 years-old with fragile health, was instrumental in passing the Affordable Care Act through several late night voting appearances in his wheelchair.

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Farron: Trump is an embarrassment. May must withdraw the State Visit invitation

Sadiq Khan’s calm leadership of London through two awful terrorist atrocities is worthy of praise. Not, though, if you are Donald Trump, who took to Twitter to attack the London Mayor.

Publicly humiliating someone who is working all hours dealing with a major incident is not on if you are a private citizen. If you are the leader of the free world, it’s completely unacceptable. This is the guy to whom Theresa May has granted the high honour of a State Visit.

Trump has shown on so many occasions that he doesn’t deserve it – not least because he attacks Sadiq Khan with what is becoming monotonous regularity.

Tim Farron has said that the invitation should be withdrawn.

Trump is an embarrassment to America.

In the wake of three recent terrorist attacks, two of which killed people on the streets of London, Donald Trump decides to use his time in the Oval Office to attack the Mayor of London over twitter.

Sadiq Khan has shown dignity and leadership.

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Tim Farron: Trump putting the UK at the ‘back of the queue’ is a devastating blow to May’s hard Brexit

Responding to reports Donald Trump will put the EU ahead of the UK in trade talks, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

This is a devastating blow to Theresa May’s hard Brexit plans.

Yet another claim by the Brexiteers, that Britain would be at the front of the queue for a trade deal with US, now lies in tatters.

Theresa May should now make clear she will prioritise a trade deal with the EU over one with Trump.

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Martin Horwood writes…Trump’s step into very dangerous waters

American bombing in Syria may make Donald Trump a hero on the streets of Idlib. Those fighting for simple democratic rights in Syria felt bitterly let down by the west in 2013 when we failed to take action the first time there was good evidence that the monstrous Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people.

We still live with the consequences of that inaction. We were warned our intervention against Assad might make the situation worse. The situation got worse anyway as Assad continued to kill his own people in their thousands with impunity. Millions fled their homes. The sudden rise of Isis/Daesh added a twisted new complication and cover for much larger-scale foreign intervention but by Russia instead of the west. But devastating Russian firepower was aimed much more frequently at the democratic rebels who were pounded into the ground at Aleppo. Increasingly it looked as though Assad’s relentless brutality had paid off and he could even get away with more chemical attacks in clear breach of international law.

So does this make Trump right to strike?

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Observations of an ex pat: Trump lost on Wednesday

I am not talking about the court ruling on version two of his travel ban. Neither am I talking about the mounting incredulity over his wiretapping claims and tax returns.

I am talking about an event that took place 3,843 miles away from the White House on the other side of the Atlantic– the Dutch general election.

Trump’s man was  Geert Wilders. The anti-EU, anti-immigration, racist leader of the Netherlands’ Freedom Party  who has bounced in and out of the Dutch courts on hate crime charges.

There was never any question of Wilders winning a majority in parliament and forming the next Dutch government. Their proportional representation  system makes that a virtual impossibility for any political party.

However, Wilders’ Freedom Party was tipped to win more seats than any other Dutch party. He failed, miserably. And he failed with 80 percent voter turnout—up 5.5 percent from the 2012 elections.

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The New European provides an inspiring read



That front page persuaded me to buy a copy of The New European newspaper this week, for the first time. It’s almost Private Eye-like. Some of the small print at the bottom is hilarious. Godmother, the film, it states is:

  • Featuring “Nigel Farage as the horse’s arse”
  • Filmed on location in “La La Land”
  • Based on a half-baked idea by David Cameron
  • Directed by Unseen Forces
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Donald Trump is a dangerous and complete joke – but the joke is on the American people

I give you this series of early morning tweets from the President of the United States of America, as collated by Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 19 Comments

Donald Trump, Twitter and distraction

Compare and contrast:

Less than a month ago, on 20th January, Donald Trump took this very solemn oath:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States

That constitution enshrines the rights of a free press and democracy.

Last night, 4 weeks after he took above oath of office, the President of the United States, the so-called leader of the free world, someone with more power than most others on this planet of ours, tweeted this:

What had got his goat this time was coverage of his bizarre press conference when he attacked the media. It’s a pity that the media claims can’t be verified with video footage of the entire 76 minute extravaganza.

The media is there to be a pain in the backside to those in power. Part of our problem here at the moment is that much of the media is cheerleading for the government rather than putting it under pressure. The rich, Brexiteer owners of our media, in whose interests it is to be out of the scope of EU regulations, are not sufficiently challenged.

What is worrying is that anyone who challenges the wishes of the powerful is denounced as an enemy of the people. Over here, we had the Daily Fail disgracefully demonise Supreme Court judges upholding the law in that fashion. Now we have Trump dismissing any media outlet that disagrees with him in the same fashion.

Who does he think he is? Vladimir Putin?

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Observations of an Ex-Pat: Trump’s Aim

What is Trump’s  Aim?

Alright he has answered the question. So has his press secretary Sean Spicer. It is the slogan on the baseball cap: To “make America great again.”

But for the life of me I can’t understand how he is going to achieve that aim, especially as America already is the world’s only superpower, produces the lion’s share of the world’s wealth and has one the world’s highest standards of living. How great can a country be?

Setting all that aside, how does  the slogan translate into policy? What is required in the Trump playbook to re-achieve American greatness?

After a roller-coaster three weeks we are getting an idea. Trump’s great America is a non-renewable energy-powered industrial monolith churning out yesteryear’s manufactured products behind a metaphorical and physical wall of bricks, steel and tariffs.

Trump’s great America is paranoid and xenophobic. It bans highly skilled, entrepreneurial and hard-working Muslim immigrants for fear that the Judaeo-Christian culture cannot compete against Islamic fifth columnists who worm their way into the “dishonest” media and government. Or worse still sneak into the country and attempt to violently overthrow the system.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

The Trump story that takes the biscuit – until the next one that takes it…

I’m going to sound callous but I do believe that perhaps the only plus point of a Trump Presidency is its comedy value. Viewing figures for the US late night shows are booming.

I thought we had reached the pinnacle of Trump comedy with the story of how he appeared, in front of a cross-party gathering of Congressional leaders at the White House, to base his call for an investigation into voter fraud on a conversation with German golfer Bernard Langer.

But yesterday there came a story which really takes the biscuit. At 3am one morning, local time, President Trump phoned his national security adviser to ask whether a strong or weak dollar was best for the American economy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Compare the Dutch Government’s attitude to Trump’s travel ban to Theresa May’s

On Wednesday, February 1st, people from D66, myself included, attended   a medium-sized (2.500 people for an event organized in 3 days) demonstration in The Hague about Trumps policies (immigration ban; Muslims; Disabled; Women) and style of politics and government. This being an election campaign season, it was also attended by party leaders of PvdA (Labour), D66 (Dutch LibDems) and the Greens; and NGO’s like Amnesty and Oxfam NOVIB (=Dutch branch Oxfam) sent speakers. So far nothing remarkable.

But it was exceptional that the PvdA party leader, Asscher, is also vice prime minister and minister on Immigrants Integration, and that the PvdA minister on Education and Emancipation (including LGTB and disabled) filled the PvdA speakers slot.

I started following Dutch politics in gymnasium (Dutch type of Grammar school) around 1970; this was the second time in that era that Dutch Cabinet ministers attended demonstrations against policies of foreign governments.

The first time was when PvdA prime minister Joop den Uyl (leading a mostly progressive coalition that included D66) spoke on a demonstration against the garroting of Basque ETA activists by the Spanish Franco (fascist) government in 1974.

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LibLInk: Alex Cole-Hamilton: On selling our souls for a US trade deal

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton is a vocal opponent of Donald Trump. He’s always had a massive interest in US politics. In 2008, he and his best friend Kevin Lang went out to Virginia to campaign for Barack Obama.

He’s written for the Scottish Lib Dems website to talk Trump and trade deals – specifically why we mustn’t allow our commitment to human rights to be diminished.

Many have watched in horror as the progressive legacy of Barrack Obama has been comprehensively devoured in the early days of Donald Trump’s post-truth presidency and with it, a cold awakening to a new kind

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Is this the beginning of the end for May’s Government?

 

In this age of the image, when pictures are flashed around the world in an instant, I believe the image of a smiling Theresa May hand-in-hand with President Trump may be the most iconic of her Premiership, and, because of the power of images, will hasten her decline.

This was a catastrophic mistake of image presentation by the Prime Minister. To be pictured smiling in the company of this President who is so widely disliked, condemned and feared in this country, and to be recorded admiring and praising his victory, was bad enough. These were cringe-making, teeth-gritting sacrifices, perhaps, for the necessity of the continued international leadership of Britain and the USA.

But to hold hands with someone in public identifies you with them. It signifies friendship, closeness and shared values. British values do not appear compatible with some of those already declared and now being acted out by President Trump. Within hours of his meeting Theresa May, the President was signing the Executive Order imposing a three-month ban on entry to the USA of refugees and other incomers from seven countries with mainly Muslim population.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 45 Comments

Never again

 

After the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust, the world united to say ‘never again’. Never again would any state be allowed to persecute a section of the population on the grounds of their religious beliefs, ethnic background or nationality. Never again would the rhetoric of discrimination and ‘othering’ which allows such persecution to prosper be allowed to gain a foothold in our societies. Never again would we allow the fundamental dignity of all human beings to be so completely eradicated as it had been by the Nazi regime.

Post-World War Two, we as Westerners have been fortunate enough to live in a world in which we have had ample opportunity to learn these lessons, and no excuse to forget them. They have been drilled into us through our education, through remembrance services and through a wealth of documentation of the horrors of the Second World War in the media and in cinema. To varying degrees, we have all been brought up with some understanding of the events which led to the systematic murder of several million Jews, as well as members of other minority groups and countless political opponents. We know the dangers of allowing a stigma against minority groups to fester and to be propagated by the state through claims which tend to be founded on lies, or ‘alternative facts’.

And yet, today, in the year of 2017, the question of just how far these lessons have truly been heeded appears more acute than ever. If the warning sirens were not already sounding during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, they must be heard loud and clear now in the first weeks of his presidency. Never again must the world stand by and watch as one of its most powerful states descends towards the oppression of minority groups and the erosion of fundamental rights.

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

The refugee ban harms not just our reputation, it will harm our armed forces too

 

Yesterday, Tim Farron quite rightly called out the desperate situation in which Theresa May now finds herself. Like a door to door salesman selling their wares she is now desperate in terms of who she will deal with on the world stage.

The refugee ban imposed by Donald Trump goes against all of the British values we stand for as a party and has even resulted in a Conservative MP being banned from visiting the US.

The primary duty of any Prime Minister is to defend British citizens. Yet when quizzed at the press conference in Turkey she claimed it was for the US to determine the refugee policy of the United States. Imagine if Churchill had said the same about Nazi Germany in 1940 when it came to the treatment of Jews.

Secondly there is the impact this ban will have on our armed forces. Among those detained at a US airport was an Iraqi who had been a translator for the US army. He was held in handcuffs and quizzed for 17 hours before being released. If that’s how the US treats those who work for their military risking their lives it is much less likely that Iraqis or others for that matter will step forward to help. Would you do so if you knew safe passage to the US could not be guaranteed?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Farron: Put Trump state visit on hold until he stops banning people because of their faith

I have been musing for a while that Tim Farron should boycott the forthcoming state visit by Donald Trump. I was exceptionally proud when Vince Cable as acting leader boycotted the visit of the Saudi King back in 2007. 

The Saudi regime has always had an appalling human rights visit, but Trump is taking the US in a dangerous and deeply unpleasant direction and he needs to be told in no uncertain terms that this is not on. From support for torture to his nationalism and isolationism to his latest outrage in banning anyone who just happened to be born in certain places, he is trashing the values the US was founded on.

So I’m glad to see that Tim told Sky’s Sophy Ridge this morning that the state visit invitation should be put on hold while the ban stays in place:

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    Roland. And it's free.
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    No offence intended, Michael. It’s just that I find it vaguely amusing that some people appear to feel it necessary to hide their true identity.
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    Roland. Apologies but registration is simple and the site is an excellent resource. Please give it a go, the article (and others) are very good.
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    "now a member of the Liberal Democrats, Derek Laud" You should be honoured to have him. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4448790.stm
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    The simple fact is that those Conservatives are a corrupt, uncaring and fundamentally evil bunch who will say and do anything by pandering to the...