Rt. Hon. Theresa May
2 Marsham Street, London
Dear Madam Home Secretary:
As you know, Parliament this week debated banning U.S. celebrity politician Donald Trump from the United Kingdom because of Trump’s hate speech against Muslims, women, Mexicans, African-Americans, homosexuals and the physically impaired.
The debate was sparked by a petition signed by more than 575,000 British citizens, who requested that Trump no longer be allowed into the United Kingdom. The decision to ban Trump from your shores ultimately resides with the Home Office.
I urge you to accept the voice of your citizens and Parliament and ban Trump. You should do so for these reasons:
- The United Kingdom has a duty to protect its own citizens and has certain responsibilities under the European Convention of Human Rights. Trump has proposed discriminating against your citizens (Muslims, women, homosexuals, the physically impaired).
- The United Kingdom is nearly the only country whose opinions average Americans’ respect, especially the sorts of Americans that are inclined to vote for Mr. Trump.
- Not banning Trump will be interpreted by his supporters as your tacit support of his opinions. His supporters will say that you secretly agree with him but cannot openly say so because of “political correctness.”
- Banning Trump will send a strong message to the non-bigoted supporters of Trump that his words have crossed a line that cannot be tolerated in any civil society in the modern age.
Don’t be afraid. This is one instance where doing the right thing will reap positive benefits and avoid far more ills than it will cause.
MPs from all of Britain’s major political parties expressed their disgust at Mr. Trump’s comments. He was called a “ridiculous xenophobe,” “a dangerous buffoon” and “a disturbing bigot.”
The MPs didn’t disagree on any of this. Rather, they disagreed about the wisdom of such a ban. Some disagreed on philosophical grounds; others disagreed on practical grounds, mainly based on fears of upsetting the United States.
Your boss, Prime Minster David Cameron, has also called Trump’s comments “stupid and wrong.”
Trump’s statements based on religious and ethnic hatred satisfy the conditions by which your government and previous British governments have banned foreigners from the UK.
Consider the previous bans on Michael Savage, Robert Spencer and Geert Wilders, for example. They were banned for the same sorts of hate speech that Trump has uttered. None of these guys stood at the precipice of becoming president of the United States.
You should simply follow precedent and ban Trump.
Why would you demur? Perhaps you or your colleagues worry about taking an action that might endanger the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the UK.
Rather than harm the special relationship, I suggest that in the long run a ban would strengthen the special relationship, strengthen the security of the United Kingdom, and re-emphasize the support of human rights among the world’s most important countries, including but not limited to the United States.
Our countries are inextricably linked and have been linked for centuries.
Pause for a second to consider how many times your colleagues from the House of Commons mentioned that today was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. Your politicians speak of our holidays and national heroes even among themselves and not just to visiting American tourists.
Our countries have sent each other messages for centuries.
The Royal Navy’s confiscation of slave ships in the period before the U.S. Civil War sent a strong message to our young American republic. Britain’s refusal to recognize the U.S. Confederacy during the Civil War took the steam out of our Great Rebellion. We have fought together on countless occasions to defeat tyranny.
We are linked together. We share similar values.
In this case, British values, indeed European values, have not supported the types of statements made by Mr. Trump since the aftermath of the slaughter of various European peoples by the Nazis during the Second World War.
No British government has advocated anything akin to Mr. Trump’s position on religion and ethnicity for more than 50 years. As you know, Enoch Powell destroyed his reputation as the result of the “Rivers of Blood” speech about immigration in 1968.
Labour MP Paul Flynn said during today’s debate that a ban on Trump would make a martyr of him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Trump is not an unknown politician like Holland’s Geert Wilders who was earlier banned from the UK for making very similar statements to Mr. Trump.
Trump is one of America’s most well-known celebrities, and a huge part of his political appeal in the U.S. revolves around his crude comments, which are characterized as Trump “telling it like it is.”
If you don’t ban Trump, then this will provide his supporters with further ammunition that Trump REALLY IS “telling it like is” — because your government had the opportunity to take a stand against him and didn’t. In other words, his supporters will say that your government either agrees that Muslims should be banned and immigrants from certain countries should be deported or that your government really has no strong position either way, e.g., “it’s not a big deal.”
Please send the right message. Our destinies are inextricably linked.
Banning Mr. Trump would be roughly the equivalent of banning Adolf Hitler from the United Kingdom prior to the 1933 election that made Hitler the German chancellor. Think for a moment what the result might have been in Germany in 1933 if a government from abroad had sent the message, “You are advocating the sort of actions that are unacceptable in a civilized society.”
Would that have made Hitler a martyr or would that have encouraged the German people to soberly re-assess Hitler’s message? I suspect that the type of person who was simply caught up in Hitler mania might have had a re-think about him and perhaps a huge human tragedy could have been avoided.
Here’s the complete debate in case you missed it:
Some of your ministers seem afraid about the potential fallout of banning Mr. Trump from the UK should he become president.
I am fairly certain that if you ban Mr. Trump from the UK now, then you won’t have to worry about him becoming the U.S. president. Americans listen to you. In fact, Britain is one of the few countries in the world respected by Americans, especially the type of Americans who support Trump. Your ban would not become the fiasco of The Guardian‘s letter writing campaign in 2004. You are a government, not a newspaper.
You have undoubtedly realized by now that if Tony Blair had simply chosen not to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that the war might well not have happened. Before the war, the U.S. looked desperately for an ally who would support the war. The Canadians bowed out, as did the French and the Germans. Britain was the only major country to side with the U.S. in the war — and that was enough support to start a war.
Think for a second of the costs of Britain’s war in Iraq. Your nation spent 8.4 billion pounds sterling ($12 billion) and lost nearly 200 British soldiers, plus many more were injured. And what did Britain obtain from this war? Is your country safer now?
On the political side, think of the costs of the war to Tony Blair and the Labour Party. Would the Conservatives now be in government if the Labour Party had opted not to participate in a war that was never popular in your country?
Think for a second now about the shenanigans that a President Trump would foist on the world stage — and ask you to join him in completing? Mr. Trump doesn’t hide his disdain for diplomatic processes. He admires Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and his methods of operations.
This is a thinly veiled code for the erection of an even greater police state and likely war. Will Britain cheerfully go along with whatever part of the world President Trump chooses to invade? Mexico? Syria? Iran? North Korea? How many of those wars would Britain be willing to sign on to?
Of course, you won’t come along for any of them. Britain learned from the Iraq War about the limits of going along with the U.S. in the post-Cold War era.
So, ask yourself: Would Britain be better off with Donald Trump as the U.S. president? We both know that you wouldn’t. Your standing in the world would crumble along with ours if Trump was president.
All governments prefer stability. Would the world be more stable or less stable if the U.S. had a president who decides in an instantaneous whim which groups of people he hates? A U.S. president who admires some of the world’s greatest autocrats? Of course, it wouldn’t.
Now is your chance to stand up for your rights, to protect your citizens and to send a message. An ounce of prevention now may well prevent pounds of pain later. A sizeable portion of your population have asked you to ban Mr. Trump from the UK. MPs from all British parties have spoken out against Mr. Trump.
Thank you for your consideration of this proposal.
Tom Ewing, commentator
Video of Parliamentary Debate: http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/83208344-218d-4c43-9300-ca78c374b875
UK Border Police: “UKBA and Police” by ukhomeoffice – http://www.flickr.com/photos/49956354@N04/5268035107/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:UKBA_and_Police.jpg#/media/File:UKBA_and_Police.jpg