Why did it take so long for the world to realise Donald Trump was a prick? Wasn’t it evident from day one? Clearly not to whoever made the rentagob Republican a business ambassador for Scotland – now withdrawn by Nicola Sturgeon; and clearly not to whoever at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University awarded Trump an honorary degree – now revoked. The bullish Presidential wannabe with the wacky hair has been issuing deliberately provocative statements ever since he announced his decision to run for the nomination; but did anybody really expect him to do otherwise?
His appeal in the US is not dissimilar to that of Nigel Farage here; he pitches himself as an outsider from the political elite, a man who calls a spade a spade, who says what he thinks and who hasn’t had the personality squeezed out of him by being spun into a sound-bite-spouting automaton. Politicians who have suffered the latter fate believe they are telling the moderate majority of the public what they want to hear by successfully suppressing any unfashionable opinions that might cost them votes; but Trump is also telling the public what they want to hear, albeit a specific section of that public.
By airing armchair ignorance under the media spotlight, Trump is enabling every ill-informed bigot in America to feel his neglected prejudices are not exclusive to him. He’s as thick as they are, and they’re sick of someone with a brain renting the White House. Didn’t the Founding Fathers specify all men were supposed to be born equal?
In a way, it doesn’t really matter what stupid statement Trump makes next; he knows the more he is written off, the stronger his outsider status. And he may have a point. After all, nobody gave Jeremy Corbyn a cat in hell’s chance of becoming Labour leader a few months ago, and look what happened. Corbyn also capitalised on a widespread dissatisfaction with mainstream politics and its practitioners; by selling himself as an alternative – and, lest we forget, by having the good fortune to be running against such a lame bunch of no-hopers as well – Comrade Jezza exploited the hunger for change. Trump is hardly confronted by anyone within the Republican Party possessing the clout and experience of the Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton, so he too is in an unexpectedly strong position.
Even though not a single Brit can cast a vote for Trump, his eventful campaign has received a good deal of coverage over here; a bit like when Bernard Manning used to be dragged onto any TV debate about racism in the hope he’d say something controversial to push up the viewing figures, Trump’s bizarre one-man show is unarguably entertaining for some in the same way a ‘Jungle’ or ‘Big Brother’ is when a group of disparate nonentities are plied with booze to get them at each other’s throats. For some reason, however, despite everything he’s had to say about Mexicans and the Menstrual Cycle, it was Trump’s comments about banning any further Muslims from setting foot on American soil that has sparked the UK Puritans into action.
Not content with attempting to exclude the equally obnoxious Tyson Fury from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist, the professional prohibitionists of the online petition have now turned their attention to Trump and have begun a cyber campaign to call for him to be banned from Britain. Over 370,000 signatories agree with the motion, as do (surprise, surprise) several honourable members. It must be an incredibly busy life organising petitions; imagine spending most of one’s day monitoring the news in search of an offensive comment by somebody famous in the hope it will be offensive enough to warrant drumming up support for a ban.
Is there a ratings system, a scale by which one can judge the level of offence such a comment might potentially cause? If so, I envisage it as being akin to the old ‘clapometer’ on ITV’s Hughie Green-hosted 1970s talent show, ‘Opportunity Knocks’, which used to drift across the bottom of the screen, slowly moving up or down depending on the loudness of the studio audience’s applause to every act looking for a lucky break. Perhaps a comment has to rise above a particular point before the inevitable petition is unleashed?
Regardless of how big a dick Donald Trump is, by trying to ban him from visiting America’s oldest ally, it simply reinforces his outsider status and he can again point to how ‘the elite’ are attempting to silence him. As in the old days, whenever Radio 1 or ‘Top of the Pops’ took it upon themselves to scrub a hit single off the playlist, the record invariably shot to the top of the charts, whether ‘Je T’Aime’, ‘God Save the Queen’ or ‘Relax’. Preventing Trump from crossing the Atlantic plays entirely into his hands; it will only make him seem more important than he is and will only serve to encourage more recruits to his cause – just as his anti-Muslim policy would do the business for ISIS if implemented.
Go ahead; ban him – if you want him to become President.
© The Editor