Monday, February 6, 2017

Michael Fabricant is right

From last week's Lichfield Mercury: our local MP Michael Fabricant on Trump:

"Whatever we might think of President Donald Trump, the United States is a democracy and our strongest ally both economically and militarily,"

"And with our leaving the European Union, our global friendships are even more important."


His analysis is right up to a point, but it also raises more questions than it answers.

The unfolding logic of Brexit points the UK towards deepening our other political and trading relationships. All other things being equal, this means moving closer towards our American friends, partly from long-standing custom and habit (as Fabricant suggests) but also because leaving the EU seemingly leaves us little choice in the matter.

Under normal circumstances, say a Bush or an Obama administration, this would have probably implied a minor variation on business as usual, but not a massive change. Depending on your politics, you might or might not have liked what that shift meant, but it wouldn't have radically affected circumstances here in the UK

I'm no mind-reader, but I think this is the image of America my MP is invoking here.

The thing is, though, that circumstances are decidely not normal in the US right now. On immigration, on trade, on law, on climate and more, the Trump administration is already venturing beyond existing American political norms into unknown territory.

As you can probably tell, I'm couching my commentary here in neutral terms as I'm not looking to make a partisan point. You can add your own here if you wish or re-read your commentator of choice. :)

In any case, wherever we stand on the political spectrum or on Brexit we should be wise to ask ourselves what an increased dependency on the US at this time - to be drawn closer into the orbit of the Trump administration - might mean for the UK before we commit ourselves further by default.

Because we do have a choice about the kind of future we want - there is no deterministic iron law of Brexit that says it has to be this way. 

And if I've drawn one conclusion from the last nine months or so of (to paraphrase my old colleague John Kell) 'history moving quickly' it's that creative solutions are needed right now rather than resorting to the autopilot.

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