By Miriam Wells
Nothing unites British people more than contempt for a perceived idiot. And that’s exactly what happened overnight on Tuesday, with an outpouring of scorn, then fury, for US presidential candidate Donald Trump following his latest bigoted comments.
By Wednesday morning around six people a second were signing a UK government petition to ban Trump from the UK for hate speech after he proposed a blanket ban on Muslims entering the US during a speech aboard an aircraft carrier on Monday.The government must respond to any petition that gains more than 10,000 signatures, and when one gains more than 200,000 signatures — which the Trump petition reached just after midday, within 22 hours of being posted — it is considered for debate in parliament.
“If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful,” said the petition.
Related: Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Comments Are Starting to Hurt His Middle Eastern Interests
Responding to the petition during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Britain’s finance minister George Osborne ruled out a ban. The best way to combat Trump’s views was to engage him in robust debate about why he was “profoundly wrong,” he said. The fact that Trump owns a string of golf courses and hotels in Scotland might also make a ban rather tricky to implement.
Meanwhile newspaper rivals from across the political spectrum came together to decry the US tycoon, with eight out of the 10 main papers featuring Trump on Wednesday morning’s front pages.
The Daily Mail, the UK’s biggest selling newspaper which is itself known for anti-immigrant and some-would-say racist rhetoric, was among several to focus on the comments Trump made about London during Monday’s speech. Parts of the British capital were so radicalized that “police are afraid for their own lives,” claimed Trump.
Total rubbish, said the London police on Tuesday. While, “we would not normally dignify such comments with a response,” said the Metropolitan Police, “on this occasion we think it’s important to state to Londoners that Mr Trump could not be more wrong.”
The statement continued: “Any candidate for the presidential election in the United States of America is welcome to receive a briefing from the Met police on the reality of policing London.”
DAILY MAIL FRONT PAGE: ‘Donald Trump’s race jibe at Britain’ #skypapers pic.twitter.com/brCetgTCcl
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 8, 2015
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and well-known political figure who is no stranger to being mocked for absurd comments, reiterated that Trump’s assertion was “complete and utter nonsense,” then stuck the boot in further. “The only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump,” he said.
Related: Donald Trump Doesn’t Care That You’re Horrified About His Comments on Muslims
British prime ministers usually avoid making any comments on US presidential candidates, but this time David Cameron had to say something. The prime minister’s official spokeswoman said the British leader “completely disagrees with Donald Trump.”
The leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said the presidential hopeful’s remarks were an “affront to common humanity.” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called them obnoxious, offensive, and repugnant.
Even Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-immigration UK Independence Party, which has been frequently accused of stoking anti-Muslim sentiment, said Trump had “gone too far.”
Perhaps the fiercest — and certainly very British — criticism came from Harry Potter author JK Rowling. “How horrible. Voldemort wasn’t nearly so bad,” she tweeted. – Vice News
By Miriam Wells