MPs have been forced to debate whether Donald Trump should be refused entry to Britain following a petition requesting this getting over half a million signatures. I think this is excellent. The real concerns of the British public being raised and debated by those in power. Exactly what should be happening. Although I do appreciate that e-petitions may be getting a little out of hand. Not a day goes by where I do get three or four emails linking to a petition which "may be of interest to me"... No I couldn't give a shit about saving your donkey sanctuary.
But back to Trump. I signed that petition. Trump is a vile, bigoted, ignorant and dangerous man. His beliefs are absurd on almost everything; guns, religion, immigration, health, welfare, women, the economy. The speech he gave where he said he would ban Muslims from entering the country was despicable. It did incite religious hatred. It was 'hate speech'. And he did continue to refer to himself in the third person which is a crime in itself I think. Trump has power and influence. There are no end of people who think he is the bee's knees. No end of people who are happy to lap up his nonsense and take on his views as their own. Whenever Trump says something that is so ridiculous you think it has been made up there are people in the USA whooping, cheering and shooting their guns into the air. Now I must say I am pretty confident that Trump will not become President. There are endless idiots ready to vote for him but they are outnumbered by the many many normal people who see him for what he is. I don't even think he will become the Republican candidate.
But I am straying from the point. Back to the petition. I'm glad the debate has happened but do I think Trump should be banned? No, of course not. Because when you think about it it is ridiculous. The arguments against the ban are obvious.
- Banning him would enhance his campaign. He would be plodding around America putting on the fake stupid voice he uses when talking about something he doesn't like or understand (for the record I think that is his real voice and the voice we hear all the time is the fake one) going on about Britain being run by Muslim extremists who have stopped free speech.
- He is a potential President of the USA. Banning him would appear to be a stand against the country as a whole which is obviously not the point. Not everyone in America is Donald Trump. We should engage him in debate and argue against his fascist views.
- He is unlikely to be particularly dangerous. If he were to come to Britain tomorrow he wouldn't go around bonking Muslims on the head with a big stick. He would irritate people. He would generate an irrational fear of Islam. But he is doing that anyway. Stopping him entering will not change that.
But maybe we are letting him in for the wrong reasons? Maybe our views are skewed. Are we letting him in because he is white? Because he is Christian? Because he looks more like us (apart from the hair) than the sort of people we think we should be banning? Or because he is rich? I think this is probably the case. There are plenty of people who are comparable to Trump who have been banned. But he is more mainstream and more useful to Britain than them, so he is ok.
So maybe we shouldn't be banning Trump. Maybe we should be lifting the bans on everyone else?The people who look a bit different. The people who aren't threatening to pull a £700 investment if they are banned. Those arguments against banning Trump probably work pretty well for them too? I imagine banning Abu Qatada (despite being acquitted of the terror charges he was deported for) has got him more of a following. I imagine to people who follow him Britain has become more of a target. When we banned Fred Phelps, leader of the right wing, anti-gay Westboro Baptist church did they all sit around and try to work out what on earth they could have done to offend us? Of course not, now they just hate Britain as well as gay people.
So perhaps we should stop doing ISIS' propaganda for them. Maybe we should stop making Britain a target by thinking that banning individual people will change the views of many. We should welcome these people in and challenge them in a good old fashioned debate. Maybe that would be the right thing to do. Well either that, or just ban Trump...