Words can be cheap. They only mean something when they are backed up with actions. This is something that John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, should remember.
I agree with other commentators that Bercow was wrong to politicise his office in the way he did, informing the House that he would block a request for Pres. Trump to speak in Westminster Hall. If he can get away with it, Bercow will also block any request for Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery.
It’s important to remember that the date of Trump’s visit has not been set and although he has allegedly said he wants the “full monty”, no such request has been made for him to address both Houses of Parliament. Bercow’s first mistake was to jump the gun.
Bercow ended his statement in response to what was an obvious planned or planted point of order, that he feels very strongly that “our opposition to racism, and to sexism, and our support for equality before the law, and an independent judiciary, are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons”. Cue applause mainly from the SNP, but also from some Labour members. This was contrasted with a mute response from the Government benches.
The clear implication from Bercow’s statement is that Donald Trump is a racist, a sexist, doesn’t believe in equality before the law, and doesn’t believe in an independent judiciary. In other words, he is setting himself up as a dictator.
For all I know, Donald Trump may be a racist and the biggest male chauvinist pig on the planet. He certainly appears to have one of the biggest egos on the planet, although the same tag applies to most extremely rich and successful people. I don’t see Richard Branson hiding his light under a bushel – nor would I expect him to. Although Trump was stupid to describe District Judge James Robart as a “so-called judge” just because he disagreed with him, the president is not proposing abolishing the independent judiciary in the United States. Trump, foolishly, was voicing his frustration with not only the judge, but those who had brought the case before him. That’s all. A stupid remark, and one that he should never have made public, but not a shift in policy.
I have never supported Donald Trump, but he has been elected as President of the United States, and whether we like it or not, we have to accept it. Donald Trump is America’s head of state and commander-in-chief of US forces. You have to differentiate between the man and the office. Comments made in the heat of the moment, particularly on Twitter (please give up tweeting, Mr President), are unimportant. If actions back up the words, judge him on his record. In the meantime, the United States is our most important ally, and we don’t need John Bercow’s grandstanding putting that in jeopardy.