Embassies and Spats

‘It’s a fortress, of course it is’: the new US embassy in Nine Elms, south-west London. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

I see the president has decided not to go to London next month to open the new US Embassy. Since it’s Donald Trump, it’s controversial. Of course, he Tweeted about it.

There is truth in that, it is sort of an out of the way location

The old embassy is just west of Soho on that map close to that big green park (that’s Hyde Park). The new one is across the River just about where it turns north. Westminster (where the UK government is) is in between. It’s not as desirable a location, although like anything in London (and environs) it’s ridiculously expensive. But the old embassy had problems, it’s a listed structure, and thus can’t be remodeled (easily anyway) and if you look at most current US Embassies, they tend to be a blend of King Ludwig and the Maginot line.

But because of that listing, the embassy isn’t really worth that much on the market, either. And so the new one is costing us about $1 billion. It’s a deal that stretches back to the Bush Administration. It doesn’t strike me as all that astute, either.

But, of course, this is 2018, and Donald Trump is president, so it has become political, on both sides of the pond.

It’s no secret that Trump and London Mayor Sadiq Khan are not particularly fond of each other, according to the Guardian, Khan had this to say,

“It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance,”

“His visit next month would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests. This just reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.”

Well, OK, but I haven’t noticed the President running from many fights lately, although he may have concluded (rightly, in my mind) that this is the wrong fight at the wrong time.

The Guardian also says:

British relations with the president hit a low late last year when May criticised his decision to retweet videos posted by the far-right extremist group Britain First.

Trump responded by tweeting directly to the prime minister that she should focus on tackling domestic terrorism.

The government was so concerned about his decision to share the videos that Britain’s ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, took the rare step of raising the issue directly with the White House.

Trump’s ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, subsequently insisted: “The president and the prime minister have a very, very good relationship. I know the president admires and respects the prime minister greatly.”

May’s government has been keen to strike up a close relationship with the Trump administration despite his erratic behaviour, because of Britain’s desire to strike a swift trade deal with the world’s largest economy when it leaves the European Union.

Trump has sparked alarm among diplomats by repeatedly entering into Twitter spats with key public figures, including the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to whom he recently boasted about the size of the US nuclear arsenal.

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. I doubt Trump is particularly enthused about the British government support for the Iranian regime either, particularly since it appears to be crass commercialism even by American standards, while protestors are dying in the streets. Nor is the increasing constriction of free speech likely to appeal to him. He may well also be wondering why she apparently has no conception of decision making and leading if so, he joins a lot of Americans, and Britons, for that matter, wondering about that.

I expect that it’ll work out, we’ve been through far worse, but it is sort of fun to watch the cousins spat.

The  Guardian also has a rather nice article on the new embassy itself. I rather like it. Rather than Ludwig the Mad and Maginot Line, it strikes me as more a Tower of London for the 21 st Century. Castles have improved a bit in the last 1000 years it seems. Although I suspect the Tower will outlive the Embassy, by quite a lot, Ravens willing.



Trolling Londonistan


James Delingpole has an article up at Breitbart. It’s an outstanding one, not unusually for Delingpole, He’s one of the few Brits who get published who understand us, and understands Trump, and why he’s president. Yes, there are others, and we’ll try to introduce you to a few of them going forward. But Delingpole is special.

President Trump has offended pretty much the entirety of Britain’s political and media establishment up to and including the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury.[…]

In a moment I shall explain why the president is right and his critics are wrong. But first a brief recap of what the fuss is all about. […] [Three tweets. Neo]

One depicted a bearded Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary.

One showed an Islamist mob pushing a teenage boy off a roof and then beating him to death.

One showed a white Dutch boy on crutches being gratuitously beaten up by a man described in the video caption as a “Muslim migrant”.

Prime Minister Theresa May; Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; and many other politicians professed themselves to be appalled by this. As was BBC news, which made this horror its lead story.

But it wasn’t the sadistic brutality on any of the videos that bothered them. It was the fact that the person whose tweets the President had retweeted, Jayda Fransen, is the deputy of a nationalistic, anti-immigration political party highly critical of Islam called Britain First.

According to Prime Minister Theresa May this was a grave mistake.

She said:

I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.

“Britain First is a hateful organisation. It seeks to spread division and mistrust in our communities. It stands in fundamental opposition to the values that we share as a nation – values of respect, tolerance and, dare I say it, common decency.”

Some politicians went further.

London’s Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, sought to use Trump’s tweet as an excuse to promote his ongoing campaign to prevent the President being granted a State Visit to London.

Chris Bryant – a Labour MP better known as “Captain Underpants” because he posted “sexy” photographs of himself on a gay dating site wearing nothing but his white briefs – accused the president of “supporting and condoning fascism”.

Every time I read crap like this, I think it must be very uncomfortable living with your head where the sun don’t shine. But that’s Britain’s ‘ruling class’ these days. If you had the impression they really got their knickers in a twist, well you would be correct. Funny how the truth works, ain’t it? And by the way, whenever I read ‘right wing extremist’ in a European context, I laugh and say, “Oh, somebody who tells the truth.”

Virtually none of my colleagues, even in the conservative media, has a good word to say about him. They think of him in all the usual leftist cliches: that he’s crass, vulgar, dumb, brash and so on. They think that those few of us who defend him – like me, Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Pryce-Jones, Daniel Johnson and a handful of others – only do so because we are attention-seeking loons.

What they misunderstand about Trump is the scale of his ambitions and the true nature of his mission.

As I argue in this week’s Spectatorhe represents the same revolt of the masses against the liberal elite we saw with Brexit. His mission is vital:

That mission, domestically, is to Make America Great Again. But his ambitions, I believe, are even greater than that. As he outlined in his brilliant Warsaw speech, he sees himself as the defender of not just the free world, but of western civilisation itself.

‘We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers. We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honour God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the centre of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything.’

I think he does, too. Remember what America is, where the entire world, came together in freedom. This is where a black Eskimo is possible. When our people came here, they left behind the ancient quarrels, and signed on to an experiment, in freedom and justice. And we rarely forget the justice part.

It might seem a stretch to argue that Trump’s recent trio of trolling retweets of Muslims-behaving-badly videos have much to do with this noble mission.

But cometh the man, cometh the hour. President Trump is no ordinary leader and he most certainly does not play by the conventional rules.

A key facet of his modus operandi is the way he manages to bypass a generally hostile media and speak directly to his constituency – essentially ordinary people who’ve had just about enough of politically correct nonsense – using social media.

Yep, exactly. Hey, British guy (or gal) in the street, especially outside the M25 (not to mention Germans, Poles, Frenchmen, Czechs, and all the rest) our President is talking directly to you, just as he does us. And his message, is your message, and it is our message, as well, our elites simply don’t understand (or don’t care, take your choice) about us, understand us, or share our values, but our president does. Think about that, that is another gift of the American people to the world. An American leadership that will push back for our values. Yes, we will MAGA, but Delingpole is correct, more than that America hasn’t given up and will defend Western Civilization.

Read Mr. Delingpole’s article. Good stuff!


%d bloggers like this: