Ramsay Jones: Trump should visit the UK because the nation he represents is far more important than him​

Ramsay Jones

Readers will, by now, have noticed that one particular person has become a regular feature of this column.

He is someone who had invoked in me incredulity, anger, astonishment, amusement and pity for his fellow countrymen and women.

He is a parody of himself.

He is a clear and present danger to the world. He is unstable and destabilising. He is someone who has shown that too many tweets make a Trump. He is the president of the United States of America.

The USA is a country which has been blessed to have had at its helm some of the sharpest minds, canniest politicians and greatest orators ever to grace the English language. People who genuinely asked not what their country could do for them . . . .

People who spent their time in the Oval Office fighting America’s shameful past on slavery and segregation. Presidents who at least tried to let people live the American dream regardless of who they were or where they came from; who tried to build an inclusive society free from bigotry.

America is far from perfect. As in all societies, big money and big mouths still hold sway. But the country was moving in the right direction. In recent times, Regan, the Bushes, Clinton and Obama all tried. All were in it for the right reasons. All knew that they were the servants of the States, not the other way round.

And then along came Donald J. Trump. 140 characters at a time, often before sunrise and thus presumably free from any sage advice from his team, he takes on the world. Tweet after tweet after tweet distorts the truth, twists logic and panders to base and irrational fears. Under a front of certainty they display a deep personal insecurity and an absence of empathy. They bluster and bludgeon and take no prisoners. Trump is the arbiter of truth. The man for whom every day is another day to defy logic, airbrush facts, and switch position on a whim.

His administration is embroiled in controversy over alleged links to Russia in the weeks and months before he took office. One of his acolytes has admitted lying to the FBI over these links. Trump says he had previously fired him because of these lies. Which begs the question that if the president knew his man had committed a felony then why did he cover it up? To paraphrase a well known quote, far better to shut up and be thought of as a fool than tweet and remove all doubt.

Here in the UK we are not immune from the consequences of this presidency. Love it or loath it, the USA matters. If they sneeze, we catch a cold. If they intervene in foreign affairs, our safety and security is affected. Their market matters to British business.

In the aftermath of the idiotic tweets by Trump when he sent out to his millions and minions vile propaganda by the fascists of Britain First, he took umbrage at criticism from our prime minister. He did, in terms, tell her where to go.

His refusal to delete the tweets, to recognise his stupidity, to apologise and eat humble pie tells us all we need to know.

He’d rather side with fascists and racists.

Shame on Trump.

On the back of this, the latest in a litany of stupidity, public opinion has hardened against the president making a state visit to our shores.

Rumours are that his trip here is planned for late February. Not necessarily a state visit with all the pomp and ceremony which that would entail, but more of a mini-break to open the new US Embassy and to pop in to No 10.

As you may have gathered by now I am no fan of the incompetent incumbent of the Oval Office. But the bonds between our countries are strong. Our interests are intertwined. Our trade with America, post-Brexit, will be even more important. All of these and more will matter long after Donald Trump leaves to spend even more time on the golf course. So yes, he should come. Because the nation he represents is far more important than him. Its influence in the world is even bigger than his ego. Because we must strengthen our ties despite Trump.

And, just as importantly, it will be a chance to show that we are a tolerant, plural, welcoming country which really values free speech.

As for me, that week I plan to be celebrating Calcutta Cup success for Scotland over England at Murrayfield. Because that’s what Twitter is really for.

An evening of laughter and tears

Just over a year ago I wrote in this column a piece in praise of the civil service and in particular one extraordinary man, Chris Martin. Chris was David Cameron’s private secretary. His “Bernard,” in Yes Minister speak.

His family and friends met last week in London to raise a glass or two in his memory but also to raise money for his charity, Sarcoma UK.

Sarcoma is the cancer which took his life. The quiz night raised over £20,000 and as an example of how much this public servant was respected by all those who met him, it was a sell-out. There was a big contingent from the BBC led by Nick Robinson and Sarah Smith. The Thick Of It were there in the shape of Armando Ianucci and Alex Macqueen (Julian). Civil servants and special advisers abounded from the Cameron, May, Blair and Brown years. Ed Balls was the compere. He nearly resisted dancing.

It was an evening of laughter and tears.

But also one of hope.

As for the quiz, I did OK on the question about which football teams Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale support.

So I leave you with that challenge. If you get all three you are one better than me.

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