Trump came to the UK – and the world didn’t end

Guy Birchall

Topics Free Speech

Needless to say, a lot has been going on in British politics recently. Last Thursday was a big day for democracy, with the British people doing the unthinkable and giving the European Union and the British establishment one hell of a bloody nose. Since then, the news has been dominated by the post-Brexit fallout.

There has also been a fair bit of footy to keep up with. And, if you’re supporting England in Euro 2016, that also entails grinding hangovers and despair. This week we had to cope with the disappointment of our merry band of millionaires failing to beat a country – Iceland – with a population smaller than that of Bristol.

But other things have been occurring alongside Brexit and Euro 2016. One thing that passed by without much fuss was the visit of a certain bombastic politician, who is known for whipping the great and good of social media into a petitioning frenzy. Yes, US presidential nominee Donald Trump graced Britain’s shores last week as he opened his newly refurbished Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland.

In the past, a visit from a US presidential candidate has been treated as a relatively big deal in Britain. There was much fawning over Barack Obama when he visited in 2008. This was not so with Trump. Other than The Donald’s much-tweeted gaffe – he congratulated Scotland on ‘taking their country back’ even though Scotland voted overwhelmingly for Remain – the visit attracted little online outrage or media coverage. On the whole, nobody really cared about his visit to bonnie Scotland.

This was odd given that, not too long ago, parliament was debating whether to ban Trump from the country. We were told that his anti-Muslim rhetoric would whip the plebs into a racist frenzy. As it was, he arrived, he spoke a few times and nothing catastrophic happened. There was no surge in racist attacks. The half a million people who signed the original petition barely seemed to notice he was here.

Trump came to the UK – and the world didn’t end. Snobby petitioner, take note.

Guy Birchall is a writer based in London.

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Topics Free Speech


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