It seems to be all the rage (perhaps literally) these days to denounce Donald Trump especially for his stance on immigration and his attitude towards women.
A week ago hundreds of thousands of people across the entire globe came out in protest against Trump in a women’s march to highlight equality and a host of other female related issues in a unified voice to remind him that women matter. It became one of the largest protests in the history of the USA.
This weekend it was the turn of Trumps immigration policy as the focus of discontent starting with the huge protest at JFK airport.
These issues in their own right deserve attention and the people of the US have every right to protest whatever they feel they must protest against. It’s perhaps a shame though that they didn’t protest against illegal drone strikes in foreign nations or protest at US military involvement in the multiple conflicts during Obamas tenure or the failure to close Guantanamo Bay, or tighten up gun laws to stop the hundreds of deaths by firearms every year, over 500 murders were committed in Chicago alone last year, a good many commited by gun.
We here in the UK face a similar issue. Over 100 thousand protested with the US for womens rights and the knives are out this weekend for the US policy on Immigration. Again, all worthy causes in their own right but the women’s March was the largest protest since 2014 when 500,000 Union members protested against Austerity yet there is plenty here to protest against.
The USA is not introducing policies against women.. the leader just happens to be very misogynistic. The USA is not committing acts of violence against refugees or changing policy on how they are treated once they are in the country, it’s a change in immigration policy and whilst there is no doubt that it’s a policy rooted in mistaken beliefs and is discriminatory to say the least, it’s arguable that it’s not worth the response it’s got so far. It’s disproportionate. If anything Trump delivered what he promised and personally I blame the people that voted Hillary Clinton and not Bernie Sanders. If they had we would be seeing a very different USA now. Trump is keeping his promises, like it or not.
Why then are we, here in the UK, getting almost as mad as Americans themselves over Trump when we ourselves are having ongoing issues that few people seem interested in tackling? Why is it so much easier to protest against the US President than protest our own prime minister?
Let’s just take a few of the most stark issues to make the point.
Thersea May says that the UK government will not deal with countries that have a policy of Torture, yet this year we signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia and May has just signed another arms deal with Turkey.
Our NHS is in meltdown with potential A&E closures and the loss of 17,000 NHS staff including 7,000 Nurses on the horizon. The Conservatives are intent on privatising the NHS by making the NHS fail through its 7 Day NHS policy.
Homelessness in the UK has risen by 16% since just last year and with a Conservative policy that just does not address the housing crisis sufficiently it means homelessness will continue to rise whilst first time buyers will still be unable to get onto the housing ladder.
We have thousands committing suicide through a harsh benefits assessment or dying soon after being declared ‘fit for work’ with more cuts due for thousands of working poor that will see up to £3000 a year slashed from their budgets.
Our environment is suffering already with over 9,000 people in London every year dying from poor air quality and just recently the first smog alert was issued for London under the new alert system.
We are in austerity yet we can find money for an expensive Nuclear power station, a doomed white elephant that is HS2 and more MP pay rises and corporate tax cuts.
We have had the worst period for stagnant wages since the Victorian times. The worst 10 year period in modern times.
1 million jobs are insecure via zero hours contracts helping to distort the unemployment figures.
Yet despite all these major problems you will be lucky to see a couple of thousand protesting against the issues at hand. Just this weekend a protest took place in support of the NHS in London with over 1,000 people claiming to be interested. We don’t have any figures on attendence but it certainly did not make the news and previous experience suggests that not even half that will have turned up. Credit to the people that did make it, but why were 100 thousand people not out at that protest? Is this not important enough to you, your parents, grandparents and children?
It’s far easier to get angry about something in the moment than it is to tackle long term issues, but that’s the point. It’s reactionary. When all the dust has settled on what’s happening in the US, our problems here will still be very much real and by the time you pay attention, it may already be too late.
If the world’s public want something to really unite for, against Donald Trump, perhaps it’s the things that are not making the news such as the failed political system that helped get him into power in the first place, or the shady dealings of Hillary Clinton or perhaps Trump’s executive order almost certainly for the very man who funded his campaign. The man responsible for building the Dakota Access Pipeline, Kelcy Warren.