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Discussion > President Trump

Bercow was wrong
- You don't no-platform people
You let them speak and then defeat their arguments in debate.

His action sets a bad precedent to bullying students.

Feb 8, 2017 at 1:23 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

'Reserved', Alan? How about if there is a need, and I certainly see a need for Trump and assoc. to talk with May and associates.

Feb 8, 2017 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

kim. Seek the difference between an official and a state visit. The latter is an honour bestowed upon the recipient, the former fulfils any "need". The UK needs to invite President Trump for an official visit, but a state visit now? Nah!

Feb 8, 2017 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Thanks, Alan, I didn't know the distinction. Would Bercow object to an official visit? Your guess is as good as mine, and I guess they are the same.

Feb 8, 2017 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I can object to John Bercow, and I think I am entitled to, along with more than 50% of the population. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to ban him from Speaking in the Houses of Parliament.

Feb 8, 2017 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Kim. It's not in Bercow's remit to object to an official visit - he is not a member of the government who issues invitations. It is in his remit to use his judgement (and authority) to permit or deny use of Westminster Hall where any joint meeting of the Houses of Commons and Lords would meet. He also could, as an individual member of parliament, refuse to meet with Trump, however, I would judge that he, realizing what a gross insult that would be (in his speaker role) would either grit his teeth and go through with it, or resign beforehand.

Much fuss is being made of Bercow's actions, much less fuss was made of Mrs May's presumptuous issuing of a state visit invitation without consulting the Monarch.

Feb 8, 2017 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Well, what have I started? I'm learning about state visits, if nothing else. I would take Alan's (Supertroll's) point about the difference between an official visit and a state visit, were it not for the fact that so many state visits seem to have taken place with so many heads of state (many rather sleazy, to say the least) that it rather undermines the distinction.

Discovering the protocol involved isn't proving too easy. The Queen's own official website simply says:

"What is a State Visit?

From Ethiopia to Chile, Thailand to Bahrain, Iceland to the USA, The Queen has travelled to – or hosted visitors from – a huge number of different countries. These visits, both outward and incoming, play an integral role in strengthening Britain's relationships with countries across the world.

Who are the visitors?

Foreign Monarchs, Presidents or Prime Ministers are invited to visit The Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office."

And then it goes on to discuss the ceremonial involved in a state visit. The Household Division are usually involved in the ceremonial, and their website says this:

"State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, with the aim of strengthening Britain's relationships with other countries.

There are usually two incoming State visits each year. Invitations are sent on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Queen acts as host to the visiting Head of State, who stays either at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or, occasionally, The Palace of Holyrood house in Edinburgh."

Wikipedia has a list of all the state visits hosted by the Queen since her accession to the throne 65 years ago. To my surprise, there have been only 2 state visits in that time by US presidents, but 5 for French presidents, 4 each for Germany, Italy, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, and 3 each for Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Turkey. Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Sweden and United Arab Emirates have all clocked up as many state visits as the USA. For goodness' sake, even Mugabe has had a state visit!

It seems to me that it's probably time there was another state visit involving the US President, regardless of the identity of the holder of that office, and I remain of the view that Bercow is shamelessly, hypocritically and inappropriately show-boating.

And while I'm on, I agree completely with stewgreen that "no-platforming" is never the way to go - that way lies fascism. Only the truly intolerant seek to impose their views on others by refusing to allow those they disagree with a platform for debate. The way you deal with ideas you disagree with is to debate them and prove the superiority of your views. It's a theme I've opined on several times before, but when did liberals become fascists?

Feb 8, 2017 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Hmmm, not much in there about reserving state visits for established heads of state. The main point seems to be an opportunity to improve relations.

Mark, I think it was about 1998. At least that's when I first noticed the increasing urge.

Feb 8, 2017 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

You can contact the Whitehouse directly here. I've done so, repudiating Bercow's comments. I've also invited The President to visit me personally, though I expect he will probably be too busy.

Feb 9, 2017 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I think England gave up chopping people's heads off, as public retribution and entertainment a long time ago. Bercow would rather welcome Statesmen that still support barbarity, than welcome President Trump.

Feb 9, 2017 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Speaker John Bercow called for 'assisted repatriation' of immigrants
John Bercow, the new Speaker of the House of Commons, called for a programme of "assisted repatriation" of immigrants during his time as a member of a far-right political group, it has emerged.

Feb 9, 2017 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterhusq

husq, that's interesting. As you will have gathered, I have no time for Bercow and his behaviour over this issue, but I will give him the benefit if the doubt and say that his views have matured somewhat since his days as a student activist. I know my own views have changed (not least as politics has changed) in the last 35 years or so.

Feb 9, 2017 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

@Michael 10 days ago an old woman called the R5 Phone-in
"I never do this but I was so annoyed with media bias I emailed Trump
Unbelievable in 3 hours I got a detailed reply signed Mike Pence and the team.
These guys are really on the ball"

Feb 9, 2017 at 9:20 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Mark Hodgson & husq, in fairness to Bercow, the information that he changed from the extreme right of the Tory Party, to supporting Blair and falling out with Michael Howard is contained in his Wikipedia entry.

In fairness to the other MP's, one of them has just launched a challenge to Bercow. I hope it is supported. This challenge could cause further fractions amongst Labour, not just the Conservatives. I presume the rest of those in Opposition will see Bercow as an asset.

If Bercow is unseated, I believe the next Speaker would need to come from Labour benches. Who can Corbyn propose, with Labour and Conservative Party support?

Feb 9, 2017 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC, Bercow became Speaker because Labour manipulated and broke the unspoken convention whereby the Conservatives should have nominated the new speaker. Bercow is a Labour choice. They saw someone in thrall to identity politics... Who can forget those photos of his moronic attention-seeking wife?

Feb 10, 2017 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I hope the vote of no confidence in Bercow succeeds - there have been enough scandals surrounding him, before this latest issue (regardless of the view one takes on the latest issue). In my opinion, he has regularly brought the role of Speaker into disrepute.

Anyway, whatever happens, we live in interesting times.

By the way, I see Trump's latest attempt to appeal against the Courts' overturning of his travel ban has just failed. He SEEMS to be behaving like a bull in a China shop, but maybe he's cleverer than he looks, and certainly cleverer than his opponents (after all, almost incredibly, he was elected as POTUS). Now that the Courts have overturned his travel ban, if there is an Islamic terrorist outrage in the USA, and especially if the terrorist hails from one of those 7 countries, Trump will have the perfect opportunity to say "Don't blame me, I tried to keep you safe. Blame those "liberals" and judges who don't care about your safety." Crafty?

Feb 10, 2017 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mark Hodgson 8:36, agree entirely! Whatever happens now, Trump can be proved correct, and his opponents, especially in the media, politics and law, wrong.

This victory, at Trumps expense, won't be.

Feb 10, 2017 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Scott Adams, before the presidential election, pointed out that Trump was playing chess while his opposition was playing drafts/checkers.

Bercow is a disgrace. Issues such as who should/should not address Parliament should be dealt with in complete discretion behind the scenery. It is not the Speaker's role gratuitously to offer a public affront to the incoming president of the UK's most important ally - and one who is known to take note of such things. And who seems to look favourably on the possibility of a US/UK trade deal, in contrast to Obama, who said that Britain would be at the back of the queue for any such deal.

Much fuss is being made of Bercow's actions, much less fuss was made of Mrs May's presumptuous issuing of a state visit invitation without consulting the Monarch.

More what-aboutism from AK.

Feb 10, 2017 at 9:20 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The BBC reported just now on the World at One (Radio 4) that Trump has agreed to honour the policy of previous US administrations in respect of the "one China" policy regarding Taiwan. Apparently the "concession" was made during a 'phone call with the Chinese premier.

So, having flown a kite that he might adopt a policy that would annoy China, he can now be seen to have made a concession, when in reality all he has done is to carry on as before - and presumably he will seek to extract a concession from China in return, perhaps on something that he really cares about, like trade.

I don't like the man, but behind his apparently buffoonish noise and bluster, I 'm beginning to think there's a very shrewd brain in action, and that he indeed playing chess while his opponents play draughts.

Feb 10, 2017 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

I noticed the headlines Trump backs One China policy in 'cordial' call with Xi

A master negotiator at work. He just gave something to China that he stole from them, so it cost him nothing to (partially) give it back. And most likely, securing something in return. Following the elementary negotiating principle that, when you give things away in negotiation, you give away things that the other side value but which cost you nothing.

This was pointed out by Scott Adams on his blog. Trump and the Taiwan Call Posted December 3rd, 2016

Apparently taking a phone call from the president of Taiwan is a major diplomatic change from the so-called “One China Policy” that imagines Taiwan as a rogue province of China, not its own country. Reports are saying this call was planned, not a mistake on the Trump team’s side.

Was this a mistake by Trump?

If you look at this call through the filter of normal politics it is clearly a mistake. It provokes the Chinese leadership and gains nothing obvious in return. The media is reporting this event as exactly the sort of thing that leads to nuclear annihilation. This is the same mainstream media that got everything wrong about Trump for the past year.

But if you look at this situation through the filter of a Master Persuader, it makes perfect sense. Trump is “setting the table” for future negotiations with China. He just subtracted something from China’s brand that they value, and later he will negotiate with them to maybe give it back in some fashion. Probably in return for some trade concessions.

But what about the risk? Does it ever make sense to poke a nuclear power? In this case, probably yes. As I have said in this blog before, China’s leadership is both mature and competent. Many of them have engineering degrees. They understand what Trump is doing, and none of it is a path to war because neither side has any interest in war. None. Zero.

I can imagine some scenarios in which China and the U.S. might dangerously escalate toward war, but one friendly call to a major trading partner isn’t one of the scenarios.

But why take that call now? Shouldn’t Trump have cleared this with Obama, or waited until he was President?

No. Because the Obama administration would have advised him not to do it. And waiting until January is the way old politics is done. This sort of bold, rapid action is evidently what Trump wants you to think is his brand as president. The Taiwan call is consistent with the New CEO Play that I described in this post. He’s setting the tone as bold, effective, and not waiting for red tape to slow him down. (...)

Feb 10, 2017 at 2:03 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I'm re-reading Executive Orders by Tom Clancy which has some intriguing foreshadowing of the Trump presidency. Published in 1996 it was the sequel to Debt of Honour which ends with a fanatical pilot flying a 747 into the Capital Building, killing the President and most of the government. That was years before 9/11. Jack Ryan who becomes president (as the vice-president - Ed Kealty - has resigned in disgrace) is not a career politician. He is not a billionaire although he made a small fortune on Wall Street. The political establishment resent him because he is an outsider with "reactionary" views against for instance abortion and environmentalism. They support Kealty who claims he never formally resigned. The media likewise suppress Kealty's disreputable history and wrongdoing, and create a caricature of Ryan whom they lambast. Following an Islamic terrorist attack Ryan imposes draconian travel controls which the "liberals" protest loudly and take to court. Clancy died in 2013.

Feb 10, 2017 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Mark Hodgson on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:36 AM


Crafty: clever at achieving one's aims by indirect or deceitful methods.

So, no!

He is doing what any sensible, well informed, person would do, wanting to make his countrymen (and women, and all the other varieties) safe in a dangerous world.

Feb 10, 2017 at 2:09 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher
Feb 10, 2017 at 2:18 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Trump can not be further vilified by his US opponents.

His opponents have behaved like 97% of climate scientists, with falsified scare stories. Trump can now tick them off, one lie at a time.

Feb 10, 2017 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Feb 10, 2017 at 3:03 PM by golf charlie
" Trump can now tick them off, one lie at a time."

It's not only the official opposition that will be in his sights.

The Republican Party (in office) has yet to have its Reformation moment:

The House passed six Obamacare repeals when Obama was president and there was no chance of them being signed into law. Back then, Republicans were full of vim and vigor! But the moment Trump became president, the repeals came to a screeching halt.
This is the moment we’ve been waiting for our entire lives, but Republicans in Congress refuse to do the people’s will. Their sole, driving obsession is to see Trump fail.

Breitbart: Ann Coulter: The Silence of the Lambs Congress

Feb 16, 2017 at 5:08 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher