When the United Kingdom people last year voted decisively to leave the European Union we all knew there would be a rough ride ahead in negotiating our way out of the imperial tentacles of the Brussels Autocracy. The unmistakably federalist negotiators appointed by the EU to deal with the UK’s withdrawal boded ill. Some of the 27 nation states remaining in the EU struck a definitely hostile stance towards the UK. Ireland and Spain were obviously the worst offenders as both foresaw in the negotiations opportunities for territorial agrandisement at the expense of the UK. Indeed, in his opportunistic haste to profit from the situation the Irish Prime Minister has set back UK/Irish relations by decades and done huge damage to the recent marked improvement in understanding between the two nations.
The UK did, however, have powerful support from other sources.
Russia, under President Putin, rightly adopts a foreign policy very much in its own national interests. But when its interests coincide with other nations it can be a valuable ally. Russia was becoming increasingly alarmed by the expansionist ambitions of the EU, especially in The Ukraine. The prospect of the UK detaching itself from the EU must have been music to Putin’s ears. So what does our Prime Minister do? In a high profile speech in the Guildhall in London she launches into a gratuitous attack on Russia, apparently on the flimsiest of evidence claiming large scale cyber interference by Russia in other nation’s affairs.
Another powerful source of support came from Donald Trump who was a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America at the time of the UK Referendum and soon after was elected as the new President. Trump had emphasised his wish to bolster the Special Relationship between the UK and USA and had been strongly supportive of a new trade agreement between the two countries as soon as possible after BREXIT. However, being Theresa May’s friend seems to be a recipe for disaster.
As soon as President Trump, being well advised, wisely decided not to ratify the Paris Climate Change Accord the Prime Minister, who obviously knows nothing about the issues involved, elbowed her way to the front of the queue to gratuitously condemn the President. In the last few days our Prime Minister has been in unwise action against the American President once again. One principle most Americans value above all is that of Free Speech unhindered by the state. President Trump re-tweeted a video showing examples of Islamic barbarity which are going on across the World today. Because this video had originally been tweeted by the Deputy Leader of Britain First, a political party disapproved of by most mainstream parties in the UK, Theresa May led a chorus of super-righteous political condemnation of the President.
Demands by the Prime Minister and others that the President delete the tweet in question have caused astonishment in freedom loving America. Tory, Labour and Liberal MPs rushed to voice their proscriptions about what the President of the World’s greatest democracy should and should not right.
I share few of the views of Britain First. Their policies are contradictory and for the most part unworkable. They claim to support Free Speech but want to ban the press from using words of which they disapprove. They have a policy to ban Islam in the United Kingdom including publications such as The Koran – so much for free speech. British history is in no small part the history of toleration for all religions provided adherents keep within the law of the land. Islam is a medieval creed untouched by The Enlightenment but if people want to follow its teachings as far as they comply with UK law they must be free to do so. Britain First, with its policies on banning religions and promoting massive state intervention in industry, is not for me.
However, just because the President of the USA re-tweeted, rightly in my view, a video which had been tweeted by a member of Britain First, it is inexcusable that our political class should ignore the contents of video (if, indeed, they watched it) and condemn the President because of the messenger. They have of course a right to express their views as I have a right to condemn their behaviour as appalling. On the issue of British values of toleration there is little daylight between Theresa May’s attack on President Trump and the values of Britain First. The video that the President re-tweeted was, to the best of my knowledge, about barbarism enacted by terrorists in the name of Islam, something all lovers of freedom should be concerned about.
Our Prime Minister, Theresa May, seems bent on losing as many friends the UK has internationally as possible.