Features Australia

The Donald next door

8 June 2019

9:00 AM

8 June 2019

9:00 AM

From tomorrow, and for a few days thereafter, my wife and I will have a new neighbour here in London.  Since January we’ve been living in a sort of grace and favour flat given to us by old, old friends from our days living in pre-handover Hong Kong. This flat (ours in exchange for paying utilities – it’s as though we won the lottery) is on the western side of Regent’s Park, about a five or six minute walk north of the Baker Street tube. It’s a magnificent location. Three or four times a week I get up early and run around this best of all the Royal Parks.  Or I might mix it up and run along the Regent’s Canal system to Camden Locks and back or to Little Venice.

But from tomorrow, Monday the 3rd of June, there will be no running around the circumference of Regent’s Park, not for four or five days. That is because President Trump is arriving for a state visit. And he’ll be staying at ‘the official London residence of the United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James’ (to give it its official name). This residence is called ‘Winfield House’. And it’s located – you guessed it – in Regent’s Park on the west, north-western side. If you know your Regent’s Park then the rather grand Winfield House is off the park’s ring road about midway between the London Zoo (to its east) and the London Central Mosque (to its west), both no more than a few minutes’ walk away with Lord’s Cricket Ground hardly much more than that.

Already we’ve seen the cavalcades of tinted window limousines (shipped over from the US with the steering wheels on the other side) doing dry runs in our neighbourhood.

Then there’s all the miles of temporary fencing that’ve gone up which make it now impossible to get anywhere near Winfield House.

From Monday morning ‘the Donald’ will be in town. Yet even before he gets here he’s been making waves. Remember back before the 2016 US Presidential election when all those pathetic, supposedly right-of-centre political leaders around the world were running down and mocking candidate Donald Trump – think of our own Liberal In Name Only Malcolm Turnbull (and half his Cabinet, including Julie Bishop), think of Angela Merkel in Germany, and for present purposes think most relevantly of the UK’s then newly anointed (in July of that year) Theresa May – though her predecessor David Cameron was no better.

All these virtue-signalling leaders, purporting to lead right-leaning parties, went out of their way to disparage the Republican candidate Trump and make plain their preference for Hillary.  Worse, they did so in breach of the longstanding convention that leaders in country X never, ever intrude into politics in any other country. But hey, what pseudo-lefty conservative can resist a bit of virtue-signalling I ask? And anyway, everyone knew Trump would lose, right? So there was no cost to doing this, right? Heck, perhaps a bit of credit could be banked with the incoming Clinton administration, right?


But then to the shock of all and sundry – not least the entire ABC commentariat – Mr Trump went and won the election (not that half the Democrats in the US have yet to accept that reality).

And one sure thing we can say about the Donald is that he remembers slights and waits to pay them back, with interest. And this is just what he’s done over here to the Remainer faction of the present stumbling, incompetent British government (i.e. almost all of Britain’s present Conservative Cabinet, including the lame duck and on her way out Prime Minister Theresa May).

For those of a strong Brexiteer inclination like me this has been immensely enjoyable to witness. If Theresa could comment on US politics back in 2016 well then the Donald would comment on the current British political scene. And boy did he comment!

Who would he like to see win the Conservative party leadership? Mr Trump made it clear that he favours Boris Johnson. Is there anyone he might like even more than that?

Actually yep. For Trump it’s Nigel Farage, which implies that the Donald likes Farage’s new, seven week-old Brexit party that to the amazement of absolutely everyone has just taken the lead in the most recent polls of voting intentions for the next UK general election.

This is a world first, that a political party that’s under two months old now leads the polls for a country’s upcoming general election; a sign of the complete and total disgust with which much of the British voting populace hold their government and MPs, who tried to break just about every promise they made at the last election. Such as not to join a Customs Union with the EU; not to be subject to the world’s most activist court, the European Court of Justice; absolutely to leave in March of this year; never to have another referendum; the list of outright lies taken to the last election about Brexit goes on and on.

The comments kept coming from Trump. What about the Theresa May negotiating strategy with the EU? Trump made it clear he thought it stunk. It was hopeless bargaining technique. No, he would not offer to pay the EU 39 billion pounds just to be able to leave; he’d offer them nothing. Moreover, President Trump also conveyed his clear sense that ‘No Deal’ was a far better option than anything remotely being pursued by Theresa ‘Worst British PM in over two centuries’ May. Wow! A sitting US president bluntly slamming the last two plus years of Tory government incompetence in Britain, and doing it a day before arriving for a state visit.

Well, as ye sow so shall ye reap. I don’t buy into this notion that you should turn the other cheek when other political actors slam you. Give it back to them with interest.

Otherwise you just lose.

It was that willingness to fight back and take on the nasty ‘progressives’, and to do so when no one else in the Republican party was willing to, that won Donald Trump the 2016 US election. (And by the way, I think he’ll win again in 2020.) The Tory party ‘Remoaners’ don’t know what to make of all this. Take it from me. Nothing has been more enjoyable this past week than watching my temporary new neighbour make them squirm. MRPGA! (Work it out, readers).

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