Cartoon by Tim Campbell
Brexiters beware: Donald Trump will trample all over our sovereignty
Zoe Williams, columnist
The Guardian: A diagram has been doing the rounds on Twitter related to the protests that will greet the three-day visit of the US president. Split into pizza-slice segments, it lays out the various causes and categories making up the anti-Trump offensive. “Women” is one, while “families”, “anti-corporate greed”, “Europe” and “Labour and union” also feature. The format has prompted some puzzlement: what, for example, if I’m a woman and a member of a union, and I’m pro-Europe, and I’m not wild about corporate greed? What if a man were to be pro-women and also a member of the Labour party?
Any confusion on the left ends there, though. Because we know where we stand on Donald Trump. We know why his state visit repels us, and we know why receiving him with all this pomp and ceremony is an insult to any proper notion of patriotism. We don’t need to go back over the arguments about “pussy grabbing”, or consider again the implications of separating migrant children from their parents and imprisoning them, to clarify where we are on this president.
For other sections of this divided country things are a bit more complicated. Take hardcore leavers, for instance. On the face of it, Trump is their white knight, already on record as pro-no deal, pro-walking away. He’s unequivocally in favour of sticking it to the EU every which way: of denying them the £39bn that Britain has agreed to, of showing Brussels who’s boss. But what this state visit will starkly underline is the core contradiction at the heart of a “clean” Brexit.
The key motivation for voting leave in the first place wasn’t racism or immigration, or money. Above all, it was about sovereignty. When, in measured terms, Barack Obama outlined the reality of what our future trading leverage would be outside the EU – that we’d be at the back of the queue – there was outrage among leavers.
But now this orange blow-in is brashly telling us how to conduct our own international affairs; and listening to him it is clear that a close relationship with Trump’s America would be as far removed from regaining sovereignty as it is possible to imagine. Allied to Trump, we’d be more of a satrapy than a nation state. We would be dominated by a power that was as raw as it was distant. Even the most ardent admirer of Trump could not find any equality or respect in our relationship with the US as its president conceives it.
Trump’s diktats over our departure from the EU have been combined with brazen interventions into British politics: the Tory leadership candidate Boris Johnson is a “great guy”; we should “send Farage in to negotiate with Brussels”. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, is described as “very dumb” and a “stone cold loser”. It would be fruitless to search for diplomatic precedents for a foreign leader seeking to influence a domestic leadership contest – there are none. But Trump is effectively attempting a pre-emptive coronation of Johnson as the British prime minister, with Nigel Farage as his second-in-command.
Even among the staunchest supporters of these figures, there will be a number whose sense of national pride is challenged by such effrontery, not to mention their sense of fair play. Say what you like about the EU and its shackles, they never would have told us who our prime minister should be. And it’s hard to imagine our European neighbours making future cooperation contingent upon our relationship with Huawei >>>