“We should seek to engage with our American friends,” the Foreign Secretary repeated over and over in his statement. He justified that, with no sense of irony, on the grounds that engaging with such powers is the most effective way to influence them—this from the man who led, with great gusto, a campaign to persuade us to turn our backs on our closest and largest economic relationship.
Our actions in this place are inherently passive. As we heard earlier, this is an echo chamber. Passivity is easy. Passivity is amoral. Passivity means risking nothing. However, our passivity will weigh heavily on many others. It will weigh heavily on the people who are trapped, the people who cannot see their families, the people who are stranded, and the people who are fleeing with nowhere to go. This is not even just about the immediate physical ramifications of the policy. The atmosphere of hate, fear and anger that it feeds also stokes the flames of radicalism. It is not a policy that builds peace and security. We are told that this is a relationship that is worth holding on to, but a relationship in which one party stands by and watches with automaton-like levels of dispassion as another wreaks calamitous harm is not a healthy—never mind special—relationship by any stretch of the imagination.
The Government’s approach to the Trump Administration’s draconian policy is, perhaps, a product of their own making. “The only way you're going to make a deal you want is if you are coming from a position of strength”. Those are not my words, but the words of the new leader of the so-called free world. Boxed into a corner by the Government’s self-imposed Brexit boundaries, we are forced to creep, cap in hand, to people whose values now run directly counter to those professed by the House. I will therefore not be compelled by duty to kowtow to Mr Trump and his prejudiced Administration if he is invited to address us. I hope that the Minister will listen to the 1,469,828 signatories of the petition that is lengthening with extraordinary speed even as we speak, and will decide that perhaps this visit should be treated in a different way.
It strikes me that at present the Chamber is, for once, dominated by women, which would be an interesting observation with which to end my speech, but let me end with a question: how many of their great British values can the Government sacrifice in their quest for a new special relationship?