By Hannah Sole | Politics | February 13, 2017 |
By Hannah Sole | Politics | February 13, 2017 |
That sinking feeling when you realise you are in a special relationship with a tangerine-tinted buffoon…
British politicians love to talk about the UK’s ‘special relationship’ with the USA. It’s always sounded a little creepy and euphemistic to me — more ‘friends with benefits’ than valued ally — but we Brits love to cling to that idea that we’re not just any old ally, oh no, we’re ‘special’… And let’s face it, after the Brexit vote, where we managed to piss off 27 of our closest neighbours, we really needed some special friends.
But it’s a tricky thing to balance; when Tony Blair got cosy with Bush, he earned the rather unflattering nickname of Bush’s poodle, and was vilified for committing to the war in Iraq on evidence that has proven flimsy to say the least.
So when Theresa May became the first world leader to meet President Fuzzy Satsuma, we were waiting with bated breath. Would this be an expedient political marriage? Or would we finally get a real-life version of the Hugh vs Billy Bob press conference from Love Actually?
As potential dates go, there were a few warning signs. As the long-serving MP Harriet Harman said recently, “the man is an identified groper — stand well away”. To say that Trump’s first week hadn’t gone well was an understatement … And then, for a couple of seconds, they held hands in front of the world. That noise you heard was millions of British people wincing in unison.
As May (probably) woke up with that sullied feeling of regret, Trump announced his Muslim ban. What had already been a distasteful partnering now felt like a deal with the devil.
MPs clamoured to have the invitation for an official state visit revoked. Over a million Brits signed a petition to ban him from coming over. May wanted him to meet the parents — but the parents were disgusted. It was decided that rescinding the invitation would be rude — and god knows we can’t have that. We have a reputation to uphold after all. So the argument shifted; we have hosted far worse than Trump (if that’s any consolation), but we could at least prevent him from addressing the House of Commons.
More revelations followed. Trumpy didn’t want to do that anyway. He wanted pomp and ceremony. He wanted to hang out with the royals, and drink tea. He wanted the parades, the uniforms, the pageantry. And you know what? Let’s give it to him.
Because if there’s one thing we have learned from being the needy, desperate, and clingy member of this special relationship, it’s how to be passive-aggressive. I like to think that the new British superpower is dissent wrapped in faux-politeness. It’s not going to win us any wars (or perhaps any new friends) but it’s our way. Who better to say something snarky and ‘sip tea’ than us?
Let’s give him a parade or two, and serve him afternoon tea with the royals. Prince Charles can grill him on climate change, and the Queen can fix him with a hard, steely stare that will make him wish the ground would swallow him up.
Let’s introduce him to some of our MPs. I’m sure he’d love to meet Boris Johnson — they can share stories about being politicians with silly hair and funny voices; they can reminisce about the good old days, when they were seen as sources of wry amusement, rather than bumbling numpties who might accidentally trigger World War Three.
Let’s introduce him to Nadhim Zahawi, and give him the opportunity to explain the rationale behind his Muslim travel ban to a respected politician who was born in Baghdad. Let’s set him up with Ed Miliband, so Trump can finally meet the former Labour party leader who has been (brilliantly) trolling him on Twitter.
That was the problem with George W. Bush. He appointed so many left-wing judges. https://t.co/bbn4aIeh11— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) February 4, 2017
Let’s invite him on to our biggest and toughest political TV shows. I would pay good money to see Jeremy Paxman interrogate Trump on his policies. Here he is, picking Trump’s buddy Nigel Farage to pieces on Newsnight, and it’s joyous.
Let’s show Trump some assembled crowds of British folk, waving their “We are really quite cross” placards. Let’s remind him that in very childish British slang, his last name means ‘fart’ — I’m sure he’ll love the fact that we’ve been giggling about his name for years, just waiting for an opportunity for our trump jokes to be satirical rather than just puerile.
Because although we need him, he needs us too. We are desperate for friends; he is desperate for approval. While we might all feel faintly horrified to be dealing with him, we’ve got that special bond after all. And President Farty-Pants won’t want to be the one who gets dumped.
It all looks pretty bleak out there, I know. But you can comfort yourselves in knowing that you are not alone. We thought we were the political cautionary tale of 2016. We thought that ‘post-truth politics’ had peaked with Brexit. We are terrified about the rise of the far-right, too. We are hoping our allies remember that most of us are pretty nice, really.
So even if our leaders have a dodgy relationship, we can still be friends. We are with you, dear liberals of America. Keep fighting the good fight — we’ve got your back.