Citing fake excuse Trump cancels UK visit

President Donald Trump has cancelled a visit to the UK that had been planned for next month, blaming it on Barack Obama (in a factually incorrect tweet). Reactions in the UK had caused ructions between the Foreign Secretary and the Mayor of London, and applause from a number of Labour MPs.

It is claimed that Trump is avoiding protests that had been promised.

The Telegraph: Donald Trump cancels UK visit, blaming Barack Obama for a ‘bad embassy deal’, as Sadiq Khan says he ‘finally got the message’

US president Donald Trump has confirmed he will not travel to the UK to open the new American embassy next month, blaming the decision to relocate the building to an “off location”.

Hitting out at former US leader Barack Obama, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter early on Friday that he thought the embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, in a 1.2 billion dollar (£886 million) project was a “bad deal”.

So if it was something already known why did Trump agree to open the embassy in the first place?

In December, US Ambassador Woody Johnson said he was looking forward to welcoming the president when he visited, adding: “I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.”

Mr Trump’s decision not to head across the Atlantic comes despite Mrs May saying that a future visit was still on the cards last week.

In typical fashion Trump made his (factually incorrect) excuse  via Twitter.

Seems like he is using Obama as a scapegoat. And getting things wrong.

Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming his predecessor Obama, the US announced its plans to move to the new embassy site in October 2008 – when George W Bush was in the White House. The new building will open on January 16.

It is being widely surmised that Trump wants to avoid protests promised during his visit.

Mrs May controversially extended the offer of a state visit – officially on behalf of the Queen – when she became the first world leader to meet Mr Trump in the White House following his inauguration last year.

Since then, however, the president has indicated he does not want to take up the invitation if he is going to face mass demonstrations and it had been expected he could make a low-key working visit rather than a trip which involved all the trappings of a state occasion.

Sadiq Khan, the Labour Mayor of London, welcomed the decision and claimed it showed Mr Trump had “got the message” that he would not be welcome in the capital.

But Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, attacked Mr Khan’s response and accused him and Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, of putting the special relationship “at risk”.

Mr Johnson described Mr Khan as a “puffed up pompous popinjay”.

But others also applauded the visit backflip by Trump.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jo Swinson said: “News that Trump has thrown his toys out of the pram and cancelled his trip to the UK will be welcomed by all of us who reject his abhorrent views.

“But it’s a disappointing sign of how weak May’s leadership is that she wasn’t brave enough to call the visit off herself.

“The Prime Minister should be ashamed that she was so keen to roll out the red carpet to a man who spreads hate and division at every turn, and goes out of his way to undermine British values.”

Ex Labour leader Ed Miliband:

Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy:

Labour MP Stephen Doughty:

Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat:

“While I think it’s a shame, I think – if I’m honest – it more reflects the fact that other people criticise in French, Italian, Korean and other languages and we criticise in English, and it’s much easier for him to read English.”

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage:

“It is disappointing. He has been to countries all over the world and yet he has not been to the one with whom he is closest.

“I would say it is disappointing. Maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn’t like the look of.”

Whatever triggered the late withdrawal it has highlighted the unpredictability of Trump, reinforced his reputation for making fake excuses, and caused some division in the UK.

Fox News reported on this briefly – Trump: London visit canceled over Obama administration decision

President Trump has cancelled plans to visit the United Kingdom next month, according to reports out of London on Thursday.

He later blamed a move by former president Obama for the decision to cancel.

That reported quoted Trump’s tweet blaming Obama, but did not mention that the decision to move the US embassy was made while GW Bush was president.

UK Labour ‘chaos’

More from Missy in the UK.

This morning the UK woke up to some of the media discussing the ‘chaos’ of yesterday at the Labour Party Conference with the media focussing on the allegation that the Shadow Defence Minister (sorry not Secretary as I reported yesterday) punched a wall in anger after he gave his speech in response to it being changed at the last minute by Corbyn’s aides (as reported yesterday) .

Corbyn this morning cancelled all of his media appearances for today, officially due to diary management issues, but speculation is rife that the real reason is so that he isn’t questioned about yesterday, and in particular Trident.

Yesterday it was announced that Labour’s policy for energy will be to completely ban fracking – this is in opposition to the unions who say many of their members will lose jobs, today the replacement policy was announced. Corbyn has indicated that under Labour the UK will return to coal mining – presumably to return to coal fired energy. Nothing reported as yet on how the environmentalists see this, nor has it been explained how this will be de-conflicted with Labour’s stated clean air policy.

McDonnell yesterday indicated that if Labour were to win the next election there would be a return to 70’s style socialist economic policies. This combined with the idea of returning to coal mining has some in the media talking about a return to the past under Labour.

Today has been no less eventful, so just some highlights below.

Sadiq Khan addressed the conference, I won’t go into the details, but the gist of his speech was how he is the most successful Labour politician at the moment, and the party need to follow his lead to become electable.

The NEC voted on whether to allow representatives from Scotland and Wales Labour Parties to join the committee, this is opposed by Corbyn and his supporters as it is seen as potentially reducing Corbyn’s power in the NEC, as he fears that the Welsh First Minister (Labour) and the Scottish Labour leader will choose moderates, thus diluting and reducing his already small majority. This move is part of reforms by the respective Labour parties which will give them greater autonomy in having an independent voice on the NEC. The vote went in favour of the reforms, and the Scottish and Welsh Labour parties will now be able to have a representative on the NEC.

Labour has provided their support to a referendum on the terms of Brexit. This is seen by some as a concession to Owen Smith who supports a second referendum on the EU. This will not be popular amongst many voters, nor is it a policy that they will have to follow through on, as Brexit is expected to be pretty much completed (if not fully completed) by the time the next General Election rolls around in just over 3 years.

Tom Watson addressed the party this afternoon, and in it he launched a passionate defence of Blair and Brown – something that won’t go down well with Corbyn or his supporters, who hate Blair and Brown.

More on post-Brexit

A report from Missy on what else has been happening in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum.

The rest of post Brexit vote happenings.

The Conservative Party will have a new leader by 2 September, the nominations close on Thursday. I will do a list of the candidates once the nominations have closed, but so far Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox have declared, and initial polling has May and Johnson neck and neck.

Osborne has said he won’t run, this will be a blow for him as he was always considered a possible successor for Cameron, and it is believed that he, himself, believed he was the natural successor – he isn’t popular however, in the party or in the electorate, so he was always a long shot. It is believed that Johnson has secured the support of at least one Remainer, and may secure the support of more, which will be crucial if he is to try and unify the party.

Cameron made his last appearance at the EU Leaders Summit, nothing much came of it from what I can gather, just more bluster from EU Leaders.

And on EU Leaders a couple of points that came out of a summary of Juncker’s speech to the Parliament, 1. Juncker refused to accept any responsibility for the UK referendum outcome, 2. Juncker has apparently signalled intent to continue with the greater integration of Europe, and the federalisation (UK Media term I think) of Europe, 3. Juncker slammed German media and Eastern European Leaders who have criticised him since last Friday

Several Eastern European Leaders are putting the blame for Brexit on Juncker, they believe that the EU institutions need reform, and that the UK were spooked by talk of greater integration – these countries fear this as well, and saw Britain as an ally in stopping, or at least slowing, it.

The Leader of the Czech Republic has been the most vocal, the Polish Leader has been more muted, but has suggested that the EU reforms, offers some concessions to the UK, and then the UK have another referendum. Juncker (and Tusk) don’t seem to be too keen on this.
Other leaders are blustering – as to be expected.

Sturgeon was all set to head off to EU for a meeting to talk about how Scotland could remain a part of the EU, however Donald Tusk (President of the EU Commission) has said no to a meeting, the EU have already stated that Scotland cannot remain a part of the EU – they must leave with the UK, and if they vote for independence they must then reapply.

Sadiq Khan is calling on more powers to be given to London to be able to keep the single market, he is stopping short of suggesting independence. This is stupid and arrogant on two counts,

  1. He forgets that it is this attitude of London being better than the rest of the country that contributed to the vote for Brexit and
  2. More Londoners voted for Brexit (1.5m) than voted for him (1.3m), so he really doesn’t have that much support in London. Though this attitude could change it, and could be why he is doing it.

Ireland has demanded Brits stop applying for Irish passports as they are overwhelmed. Ireland, as far as I know still, has a law where if you – or a parent – was born on the island of Ireland (RoI or NI) then you are entitled to an Irish passport, so it sounds like a load of brits from the North, and those with an Irish parent, are applying for a passport to keep an EU passport.

Oh, and one last thing on the EU, apparently they are looking at removing English as an official language.

This will cause a problem for Ireland and Malta – where English is their main language. Each country was allowed to nominate one official language – only UK nominated English, Ireland nominated Irish, and Malta Maltese, so the EU are saying with UK gone there is no need to use English.

Noting English is one of the working languages of the EU institutions, and is apparently the dominating language, however, without the UK they have no country who has nominated English as their official language.

Labour success in London

A significant success for Labour in London with the election of Sadiq Khan as mayor.

ODT editorial: New standards by London mayor

The recent election of Sadiq Khan as the Mayor of London has been widely celebrated both in the city and throughout Britain.

His election is seen as a counter to the racially-charged political atmosphere in many parts of the world.

Mr Khan is a Muslim, which should not by itself cause any major issues.

Except, of course, far-Right campaigners in Europe, Britain and the United States have some serious problems with Muslims and Islam, in particular.

One of the first things Mr Khan did as mayor was attend the Yom Hashoah Holocaust memorial service in Barnet, which signalled a clear attempt to distance himself from the Labour Party’s leadership’s handling of recent allegations of anti-Semitism inside the party.

The mayor was warmly welcomed by members of the Jewish community and was told he had promised to be a representative for all Londoners.

His visit to the Holocaust centre was seen as the start of fulfilling his pledge.

So Sadiq Khan is setting a laudable example for Labour in the UK – and Labour in New Zealand could learn something positive from him too, and not just on his ability to connect across ethnic boundaries.

In a move which will resonate in New Zealand, Mr Khan says the key thing for him to tackle is the housing crisis.

He is bringing together an alliance of people from local authorities, housing associations, developers and those in finance to ensure building starts on the “genuine affordable homes” the city needs.

The alliance will change London’s overall strategic plan and publish new supplementary planning guidance, both policies that govern the amount of affordable housing developers are obliged to build when they erect new private homes.

Mr Khan believes his pledge to tackle the housing crisis has allowed him to reach out to voters across the political spectrum.

Phil Goff in particular could do well by learn from what is happening in London, should he become the Labour mayor of Auckland.

The campaign between Mr Khan and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith was brutal.

Mr Khan stopped short of condemning the Tories’ mayoral election campaign as racist but said he was disappointed the Conservatives chose to have a campaign that was nasty, negative and divisive.

After spending his life encouraging minority communities to get involved in civil society in mainstream politics, Mr Khan warned he will continue fighting extremism and radicalisation.

Politics should be conducted in a positive way to enthuse people to get involved.

Some good points to note there for Andrew Little and New Zealand’s Labour strategy team (if they have one).

Labour’s mission is to change people’s lives for the better but it only did that by winning elections.

In New Zealand, Labour continues to languish in the opinion polls.

It caused outrage by linking Auckland’s housing crisis to people with Chinese-sounding names.

The party will be wise to follow the lead set by Mr Khan.

Labour, he says, can only win elections if it reaches beyond its own activists to a “big tent” of people.

But being wise doesn’t seem to have been a strength of Labour here for some time.

There are some signs that some are starting to get it.

I’ve clashed at The Standard over the years for their active animosity to anyone deemed not from the left tent, but there were often inter-tent fights in their own camp.

But some of them there seem to have realised that to become more widely popular mob attacks and hounding newcomers and driving them away are not very smart tactics for a party trying to recover support.

If activists can wake up to their self destruction and turn things around then perhaps the party and it’s leadership can do similar.

The focus on NZ Labour has been on their hash of handling Chinese sounding names and their attacks on companies (like Scenic Circle over donations) and mass smearing of people with trusts and with wealth.

It is probably not coincidental that Labour is struggling to get sufficient donations, and they are struggling to keep even meagre levels of support.

Little could do well to look at London and learn.

Pissing on the tent and pissing people off is not working, and neither it should.

Labour, Sadiq Khan says, can only win elections if it reaches beyond its own activists to a “big tent” of people.