Trump’s NATO Visit Could ‘Easily Backfire’ on Boris Johnson, Protest Organizer Says
Mired in a general election campaign and reeling from a terrorist attack, the U.K. is now bracing to receive dozens of NATO leaders this week, among them President Donald Trump.The divisive leader whips up a media and diplomatic storm wherever he goes. His confrontational and direct style rarely fails to grab the headlines, and this…
Mired in a general election campaign and reeling from a terrorist attack, the U.K. is now bracing to receive dozens of NATO leaders this week, among them President Donald Trump.
The divisive leader whips up a media and diplomatic storm wherever he goes. His confrontational and direct style rarely fails to grab the headlines, and this week will likely be no different.
Protesters are gearing up to provide another rude reception for the president, as they did during his two previous visits. Trump will join other NATO leaders for a royal reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, but less than a mile down the road in Trafalgar Square hundreds of protesters are expected to gather and condemn the president’s presence in the U.K.
Continued opposition to Trump among Brits has been energized by the country’s looming general election. If current Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson wins this month’s vote, he has vowed to pursue Brexit and take the U.K. out of the European Union as soon as possible.
If he succeeds, London will likely pivot towards a closer relationship with the U.S. to replace severed political and economic ties with its continental neighbors. Some fear this will produce a wide-ranging trade deal imposing U.S.-style deregulation on the U.K. and suppressing climate change action and more socially progressive ideals.
A particular fear is that U.S. companies will gain access to Britain’s treasured National Health Service. Indeed, the name of the Facebook event for Tuesday’s protest is: “Tell Trump: hands off our NHS!”
Last week, the opposition Labour Party’s left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn made headlines when he revealed details of secret negotiations between British and American officials. Corbyn said the documents showed the U.S. side pushing for lower regulatory standards and free access to the British economy and the NHS.
Nick Dearden is one of the organizers of Tuesday’s planned action and the director of the Global Justice Now organization. He has been involved in organizing the previous demonstrations marking Trump’s U.K. visits.