Wednesday, 9 December 2015

This Petition To Ban Donald Trump From The United Kingdom Will Have To Be Taken Seriously By Its Lawmakers

On Wednesday, days after Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump made perhaps the latest, most outrageous suggestion of his campaign so far — he called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, until "our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on" — one of the United States' foremost European allies has taken notice. As detailed by theTelegraph, more than 200,000 Britons have signed a petition to ban Trumpfrom their country. The British parliament is required to consider any petition with more than 100,000 signatures, so the issue will have to be debated.

That's not to say this is an official position of the British government, to be clear. According to Reuters, British finance minister George Osbourne said Wednesday that Trump's right to enter the country shouldn't be in question:
This Petition To Ban Donald Trump From The United Kingdom Will Have To Be Taken Seriously By Its Lawmakers
Frankly, Donald Trump's comments fly in the face of the founding principles of the United States. [Robust democratic argument] is the best way to deal with Donald Trump and his views rather than trying to ban presidential candidates.

Make no mistake, even if some in the British government were keen on the idea of banning Trump, it makes perfect sense why government officials would be reluctant to say or do so. After all, he's currently been leading in the polls for almost half a year. If he actually becomes president, British leaders will have to work with him, so saber-rattling over his broadly racist, xenophobic policy proposals could be a little premature right now.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images News/Getty Images
But this much is clear, at least: if history is any indication, what Trump's actually gone on the record with as regards to Muslims and Latino immigrants in particular could have conceivably earned him a ban from the UK, because they've done this sort of thing before. British society may not be keen on Trump's brand of scorched-earth religious bans — it boasts an estimated Muslim population of more than 2.5 million — but it has indulged in some individual bans of politically inflammatory or otherwise objectionable people before.

For example, back in 2009, Bay Area-based right wing radio host Michael Savage (real name Michael Weiner) received a very public ban from entering Britain, thanks to a long history of virulent remarks about Muslims, among other groups.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Savage was (and still is) something of a notorious figure in American far-right radio — in 2008, he was the subject of widespread criticism after making wildly inflammatory remarks about children on the autism spectrum, saying that many were simply "brats" who needed to be "told to cut the act out."

The British Home Office didn't elaborate on the reason for the ban at the time, beyond saying that Savage was "engaging in unacceptable behavior by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence. Similar bans were placed on high-ranking members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church for it's overtly hateful efforts, as well as R&B/hip-hop performer Chris Brown following his domestic abuse against Rihanna.

Wednesday's Independent front page: ‘Ban him from Britain!’#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers pic.twitter.com/HSkTV8OwBU— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) December 8, 2015

And make no mistake, this idea isn't only being pushed by online petitioners — the Independent highlighted the "ban Trump" idea on its front page on Wednesday, making it pretty plain where they stood. A ban on traveling to the United Kingdom would certainly have some practical consequences for Trump, especially if he doesn't end up becoming president — he's the owner of two golf courses in Scotland.

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