Donald Trump will not be banned from entering the UK. But he might wish he had been. Because if he comes, he’s going to have to travel to a hell of a lot of obscure parts of Britain due to the flurry of invitations from low-profile MPs to their corners of the country to “confront his views head-on”.
From watching these MPs debating in Westminster Hall whether or not the furious thatched clementine and Republican presidential hopeful should be banned from the country, you get the impression that he has a protracted, mildly confrontational tour of Britain ahead of him. Full of awkward racist conversations over pub lunches, provocations of post-curry night brawls, and confusion over the definition of the word “wazzock”.
“I’d give him an open invitation to visit my constituency – I’d invite him for a curry,” Labour MP Naz Shah told the room. “I’d quite clearly invite Donald Trump to Bradford West.”
If he gets through the Bradford leg of his tour, next up is a gently perilous trip through Lincolnshire’s drinking holes. “If he met one or two of my constituents in one of the many excellent pubs in my constituency then they may well tell him he is a wazzock,” warned Tory MP for Louth and Horncastle Victoria Atkins. Other English insults levelled at Trump this afternoon included “buffoon” and “bonkers”.
But it wouldn’t all be doom and gloom for our reluctant visitor. He’d at least get to play some golf – a part of his trip SNP MP Corri Wilson advertised at length. She informed us that her constituency in Scotland is home to “one of the world’s earliest and most enduringly successful purpose-built golf resorts”, adding that some of her constituents would welcome Trump as “a man with a passion for golf”.
But Wilson may have offended her potential guest too strongly for him to countenance visiting the good golfers of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock. “Donald Trump is a diverse character,” she announced. “…err, a divisive character, sorry.” Oh, Corri. There is no greater insult. You can kiss goodbye to a US visa.
Sadly, our MPs’ brainstorming session for Trump’s great constituency tour disintegrated pretty rapidly in the course of the three-hour debate. Some harrumphed about political correctness. Others harrumphed about those harrumphing about political correctness. One particularly worrying defence of Trump’s permission to enter the UK went “We’ve welcomed into this country Saudi and Chinese leaders – not to mention General Ceausescu”. Well that’s all right then.
But most interruptions came in two distinct camps: incongruous, lengthy Martin Luther King quotations (it’s Martin Luther King Day, and what better context is there in which to honour him?), and the most intense banality dressed up as rhetoric.
“There are two things I’d like to share with you,” began one MP. “I had lunch earlier on,” was the first.
“It is often said that two wrongs don’t make a right,” mused another. “I like to say that two bans don’t make a right.” Indeed, nor a catchy saying.
“Britain is pretty good at roasting beef,” one impassioned parliamentarian intervened. “Do you not think it’s better to roast Trump?”
“I’m also a member of the Petitions Committee,” one speaker whimpered by way of introduction.
So perhaps it’s best to leave the debate (which is still going on for another 30 minutes at the time of
escape publication) with the truest words spoken all afternoon, by Sir Edward Leigh MP: “I’m not sure if he’s going to be terribly worried about this debate.”