Last week Theresa May delivered a speech to the annual republican retreat in Philadelphia, before flying to Washington to present the orange one with her full support. Theresa May, becoming the first world leader to meet Trump while grovelling at his feet and begging for a trade deal is an absolute national disgrace for the UK. Not only has Theresa May refused to condemn Trumps extremist rhetoric and executive orders on immigration, climate change and torture but she seems perfectly happy to court the approval of far right fanatics in the process. Of course, it is no surprise that Theresa May is doing this. Her completely pitiful Brexit speech made abundantly clear that she is pinning her hopes on the far right fanatic Donald Trump in order to give us a cushy trade agreement, even though given our weak geopolitical position and Trumps protectionist ‘America First’ rhetoric means that any trade deal will end up greatly taking advantage of us, and will be rigged to benefit American corporations. In spite of this, the right wing press of the UK once again ignored the reality of the situation, instead opting to heap praise on Theresa May for helping to renew our ‘special relationship’.
What I find most ridiculous about this is how, in a week where Mexico had the courage to stand up to Trump over his ridiculous ‘border wall’ plan, Theresa May was in Washington refusing to criticise a hard right dictatorial president. If this is not a clear demonstration of the utterly desperate position we are in I don’t know what is.
This ‘New era of American renewal’
Theresa may, in her speech to the republican retreat in Philadelphia, referred to the current situation in the US as a ‘new era of American renewal’. She also talked of Trumps ‘Great victory’, portraying the man as some sort of god that is going to deliver America from the evils of Obama’s legacy, and usher in a brave new era, however ruthlessly authoritarian it might be.
In his first week as President Trump has signed executive orders to build his US/Mexico border wall and ban immigrants and refugees from seven mainly Muslim majority countries. He has also declared war on mainly democrat voting ‘sanctuary cities’ which he claims are harbouring illegal immigrants, started an unfounded investigation in to widespread voter fraud in the election, made efforts to silence environmental organisations on climate change and made efforts to bring back torture by re opening offshore CIA prisons.
How becoming ‘George bush on steroids’ constitutes a ‘new era of American renewal’ is absolutely unclear. As far as Theresa May is concerned there are two discernible possibilities. 1) Theresa May completely agrees with Trump in everything and sees him as his her partner in enforcing hard right policies, or 2) Theresa May is just your standard conservative who is happy to repudiate Donald Trump in the UK parliament, but only wants to shower him in praise to his face, in order to secure the far right trade agreement she is grovelling for. Either way, such an overt display of admiration towards such an unscrupulous bully, should be a continuous source of shame to any nation that claims to have liberal values.
The US constitution
Theresa May started out her speech to republicans by praising the US constitution, which is ironic because the constitution is the source of American citizen’s rights. Theresa May on the other hand doesn’t seem to give damn about civil rights. She has expressed her desire to abolish the Human rights act, introduced a range of dystopian legislation to rip apart families with immigrant spouses and openly blag about her willingness to incinerate 100,000 innocent civilians in a nuclear attack.
It is also a bit odd because, Donald Trump has shown time and time again that he doesn’t give a damn about the US constitution. He has constantly threatened to shut down the freedom of the press by giving himself the right to sue media outlets for putting out information that he doesn’t like, discriminated in some way against pretty much every underprivileged section of the population you can think of and has already violated the US constitution by refusing to completely give up his business interests. Hell, maybe the British and Americans are not so different after all.
Knowing that Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised the United Nations and NATO on many occasions, Theresa May tried to appeal to Trumps Isolationist rhetoric by deliberately talking down both, in what was perhaps the most contrived and desperate way possible.
On the United Nations, Theresa May acknowledged that it is in need of reform. But the reform it actually needs is the exact opposite at what she is hinting at. If the UN is ever to work effectively, it needs to prevent the five permanent members of the security council (China, France, Russia, UK, USA) from using their veto powers to serve their own narrow political interests, something that Trump or Theresa May would obviously never actually agree to.
Theresa May also decided to feed into Trumps isolationist rhetoric by talking down NATO. It doesn’t matter whether you see NATO as a good thing or not. What is important is that Theresa May, who until recently would never of dreamed of talking down NATO, is now prepared to bend her message in order to appease the hard right president of the US. May repeatedly talked down the European contribution to NATO as if to lay the propaganda framework for pointing the finger of blame at the Baltic States should Trump decide to unilaterally withdraw the United States from NATO.
Theresa May claimed the vote for Brexit was made in ‘quiet resolve’ rather than in the atmosphere of three utterly toxic campaigns, led by right wing politicians. The abject failure of the remain campaign to criticise the hard right factions leading the other side of the debate, was matched by the outright lies of the official Leave Campaign and the undisguised Xenophobia of the repellent Leave EU mob. The decision to quit the EU was anything but a ‘quiet resolve’, it was the result of an ugly and vicious debate with very few redeeming features, it was preceded by the murder of a serving politician by a Neo–Nazi Britain first supporter, and followed up with a massive increase in violent and abusive attacks on foreigners and ethnic minorities.
Trump has repeatedly expressed his opinion that Brexit is a good thing, perhaps Theresa May thinks that by reinforcing this delusion than she can get Donald Trump to give us some sort of Trade deal. On the other hand It is entirely possible that Theresa May actually believes herself, as it gives the Tory’s the opportunity to turn Britain into the hard right, bargain basement corporate tax haven that they have always desired. With the help of Donald Trump, Theresa May and her pals in government are one step closer to making this a reality.
The part of Theresa May’s speech to the republican retreat that got the most mainstream attention was the part where she tried to claim that ‘the days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our image are over’. This was reported as if it meant that Britain and the US would no longer be toppling the governments of other countries for ideological reasons, but the following sentence made clear that the preceding one was essentially meaningless. When she said ‘but nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene’. She is essentially saying that if another Iraq happens, Britain will once again jump to the defence of America, but neither country can afford to be caught out lying for their motivations about war again.
Theresa Mays self-contradictory stance on Iraq looks like it was written an awful long time before Donald Trump’s declaration that the US should just steal Iraq’s oil, and the dismissal of anyone who raises concerns about its legality as ‘fools’. It seems that Donald Trump has no intention of getting caught out fabricating reasons to invade other countries because he’s just going to admit the truth from the beginning ‘We’re invading your country to steal your resources’. How he thinks that kind of attitude will reduce international terrorism is anyone’s guess, but we can be sure that Theresa May will back him up like the disgustingly snide kid who hides behind the school bully and goads him on as he steals dinner money from the weak and the vulnerable.
Theresa May even had the gall to claim that Britain and the US are leading the fight against ISIS. We all know that in 2013 David Cameron wanted to create a power vacuum in Syria by attacking the Assad regime, thus handing the country to ISIS. We also know that Americans are fully aware of Saudi Arabia’s role in backing ISIS, yet both Britain and the US are selling weapons to the Saudis. If we are such leaders in the fight against ISIS, how come during her speech to the republicans, Theresa May stoked Donald Trump’s hatred of Iran by using a bunch of anti-Iranian rhetoric, instead of committing to taking on the problem of terrorism by confronting the people who actually supply terrorist groups with arms.
Often, what isn’t said is much more telling than what is said. Theresa May didn’t make one single reference to women’s rights in her speech. She could have mentioned the right not to be molested at work, or the fact that in Britain we respect women’s reproductive rights. She chose not to mention women’s rights for one clear and undeniable reason. She considers begging for a Trump trade deal to be of much more importance than the protection of women’s rights.
Just like women’s rights, Theresa May didn’t bother to mention food standards or universal health care, because she knows that any defence of things like that would be a red rag to a bull, and any admission that she’s willing to offer them up as a ‘trump tribute’ would cause her all kinds of trouble back in the UK, so just like with Brexit, she decided to fill the air with meaningless platitudes and Trump eulogies, rather than state an actual position.
After drivelling for ages Theresa May finally got to the point, begging Trump for a Trump-Tory trade deal. She is absolutely determined to paint such a trade deal as a great thing for ordinary working people, but its such obvious propaganda bullshit that only the most delusional could ever fall for it.
The American government promised working people that the NAFTA trade deal would be good for jobs but in the end it resulted in the mass destruction of thousands of US jobs. Similarly, in the UK, before the referendum Brexiters were absolutely determined to fearmonger about the TTIP free trade deal between Obamas centre right government and the politically diverse EU. TTIP is dead in the water now, not least because the most vocal TTIP cheerleaders of all (The Tory Party) have ensured Britain’s exit from the EU. Anyone who imagines that Theresa May won’t end up agreeing a very much more sinister corporate power grab with the Trump administration must be astoundingly naïve.
Theresa May’s pathetic pleading that this new Trump/Tory trade deal should ‘work for both sides and serve our national interests’ contrasts very sharply indeed with Donald Trump’s protectionist ‘America First’ rhetoric, which promises to rig all trade deals in favour of American corporations. Theresa May knows just as well as anyone else that Britain is always Britain was always going to be the junior partner when it came to dealing with the US, but especially now that we have put ourselves in such a position of geopolitical weakness. Trump knows that we need him more than he needs us, so he will use the negotiations to demand tribute. Opening up the UK market to heavily subsidised agricultural produce including GM foods and chlorine washed chicken is almost certain to be one demand. The carving up of the NHS to be picked apart by US health corporations will almost certainly be another.