An old contact of mine spent years in local and central government. His mantra was that any single policy you introduced, no matter how clever in itself, always had an unforeseen consequence.
Every action has a counter reaction somewhere down the line. In politics, the rise of the SNP has denuded Labour of support and the unexpected beneficiaries are the Tories. In Glasgow a council move to remunerate lolly pop men for ‘dirty work’ like picking up litter has led to a strike by janitors who don’t get any extra for the same duties.
I suppose that’s my current beef about No voters too. With Tory governments in power, they were voting to retain the same and hand back Scotland’s ability to resist their impact, although, in that case, it was hardly an unforeseen consequence. You really did have to look the other way not to realise how a No result could be exploited. My torrent of Unionist abuse hasn’t contained one explanation or justification for this, just Meh…
Similarly, I’m wondering if any of the 53 per cent of white female voters who went for Trump are reconsidering that decision in the light of events. Did sensible people really watch this man perform, take in his messages and still happily opt for him? Accepting it wasn’t an easy decision to back Hillary – indeed the Democrats made an historic mistake there – would you really have placed them side by side and voted for the nutjob? If you had lost a job in an economic wasteland, I get it. It’s a chance to kick out hard and feel good. But what about those professionals, the career jockeys with something to lose, all those smart American women? What were they thinking?
Now the consequences are rippling through global politics from Iran to Buckingham Palace, the people are on the streets and anger is palpable.
At this point we should remember that across the red Republican states of continental America, Trump folk are celebrating. This is what they wanted. They don’t much care which one of those muslim countries you come from. They may not have heard of some of them. But they know that’s where the bad guys in Homeland come from and there’s only one way to stop them.
But when you check, the evidence is patchy. Of the 15 most deadly attacks in USA history, only one – 9/11 – was directly associated with Islam and the Middle East or the Gulf and not one of the 19 terrorists was from a proscribed country.
In 2016 a Somali muslim student resident in the US did attack Ohio State University injuring passers-by.
In the same year the killer of customers in a Florida gay bar was of Afghan descent but was born the America.
A year earlier the man who shot 14 dead at a Christmas party was of Pakistani descent but was also born in America. His killer wife was born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi.
The Chattanooga navy recruitment shootings were carried out by a naturalised American citizen born in Kuwait.
And so it goes on…the more you look, the more the selection of countries look arbitrary. Some are questioning why countries where Trump does business are excluded – which takes us back to his business connections impacting on decision-making.
Yet the real threat to American lives comes not from outside the country at all but from within – often from the very heartland bases of Trump support. One estimate is that 30 per cent of all worldwide mass shootings occur in America with only five per cent of the population. Analysis identified 110 mass shootings in which at least four people were murdered with a firearm between January 2009 and July 2014 – at least 57% were related to domestic violence, not terrorism. On average, 93 Americans are killed by other Americans with firearms every day. Seven children or teenagers are shot dead every day.
If it’s safety and security Trump is after, he should be deporting Americans.
On which point, the boomerang effect of May’s desperate wooing of Trump is straight out of The Thick of It. No sooner does she promise him the full State Visit Hoo Hah than the Queen tells her to bugger off. At least that’s my interpretation of her former private secretary going public in the Times and on the BBC to say it should be stopped. Be in no doubt this is an intervention on behalf of the monarch who sees more clearly than her Prime Minister the pitfalls waiting to ambush her dignity.
Trump should be kept at arm’s length until his term in office settles down into something approaching normality. We need time to forget the horrors of his early days in power before something as triumphant as a State Visit is attempted. The Palace knows full well that the mass demonstrations that will accompany Trump will lasso her as well. (There is another issue here because the old gal is 90 and, republican that I am, I think she should be cocooned from controversy for her own wellbeing.)
The affair has also coincided with the meeting of the devolved administrations and the Prime Minister over their Brexit demands and unfortunately knocked it off top spot on the news. For us this is serious business although it seems for too many it hasn’t dawned yet. I think in her aloof way Theresa May is blundering from error to crisis having landed herself with a massive international and royal mess to clear up on the one hand and a rebellious celtic fringe on the other. Couldn’t she muster even a performance to demonstrate some warmth towards the other nations that make up three quarters of the United Kingdom? She must be inoculated against the impending consequences of her (in)actions if she think there will not be repercussions, unforeseen or otherwise.by