How much worse is it going to get? Seeing a smiling Theresa May walk hand-in-hand with Donald Trump was nauseating enough.
Knowing she was already aware of his plan to introduce an apartheid-based travel ban puts a whole new meaning on the phrase ‘special relationship’.
May had days to craft an answer when asked about Trump’s Muslim ban that would have struck just enough of a condemnatory tone to satisfy both a domestic and international audience. That she singularly failed to even attempt to criticise the travel ban was telling.
Make no mistake, Theresa May is in The Donald’s hip pocket and he knows it. The UK PM is in no position to issue ultimatums to the new US President. Brexit means May must indulge her new found friend if there is to be any hope of a trade deal. If that means a state visit with all the pomp and ceremony usually afforded these occasions then so be it. Will the Queen be asked to bow to The Donald? Business is business Liz.
What kind of ‘deal’ the new US President will agree to only time will tell. Trump knows only too well that beggars can’t be choosers. God knows what a man who thinks nothing of clawing back health care provision from his own people will demand of a desperate UK Prime Minister. Access to the UK health ‘market’?
There are already fears that UK agriculture will be offered up to Trump’s administration as a sweetener in order to pave the way for a trade deal. This will mean a relaxing of strict food and drink regulations that ensured high standards and quality. It will allow the UK to import hormone-fed beef and other delicacies such as chlorinated chicken.
A UK public faced with rising food costs may well find the cheap US produce an attractive option.
What will it mean for Scotland? Scotland’s food and drink sector has been one of the major success stories under the SNP administration. You can bet Donald Trump’s bottom Dollar that the safeguarding of Scotch beef won’t feature high on Theresa May’s agenda. Think EU, think Thatcher, think fishing, think expendable.
Scotland is in an invidious position. We don’t want Brexit but we’re being dragged out of the EU anyway. We’re being forced to watch a right-wing Tory Prime Minister negotiate on our behalf with a vainglorious, misogynist, narcissist who appears to be out of control. We are mere chips in May’s mad desperate game.
If we could have projected the events of the last eight months into homes in the final week of the independence referendum campaign we’d be bewildered onlookers watching Imperial England’s final demise. But we didn’t. Instead we watched Scottish Unionists project a mythical ‘partnership of equals’ into those homes. The people trusted Gordon Brown.
Many No voters believed they were guaranteeing a continuation of EU membership, and with it free travel and a strong voice amongst the most outward looking and culturally homogeneous nations on earth. What they’re about to get is a mud-wrestle with a man who views immigrants as a disease and whose vision for the USA is as a walled community where undesirables are rounded up and deported.
The 2014 No vote was a disaster for Scotland. No voters bequeathed us a nightmare. We are ignored by Westminster and pitied by Europe.
Fortunately we have a First Minister who understands the political game that needs to be played if we are to extract ourselves from this mess before the damage is irreversible.
Will we pass up the chance a second time? Who’d really want to vote for this again?
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