We've all heard Donald Trump's pronouncements about Muslims in America:
...and we've all heard the backlash even from the GOP:
Well, it looks like Donald Trump's commentary travelled across the Atlantic Ocean and that there could be more backlash from overseas, from the United Kingdom in particular.
In the United Kingdom, the nation's Parliament has set up a "Petitions" website where anyone who is either a British citizen or United Kingdom resident can start a petition. This is similar to the "We the People" website set up by the White House that can be used to send various messages to the current Obama Administration as part of its so-called "open democracy". In the case of the U.K. House of Commons, if a petition gets 10,000 virtual signatures, the government will respond. If a petition gets 100,000 signatures (or more), the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
With that background, let's get to the subject of this posting, Mr. Donald Trump. Here is the petition in question:
This petition which was created by Suzanne Kelly in response to Donald Trump's running commentary on Muslims in the United States and elsewhere has, so far, received over 572,000 signatures. When it passed the 10,000 signature mark, the United Kingdom Parliament made the following response:
"For good reasons the Government does not routinely comment on individual immigration and exclusion decisions.
The Home Secretary may exclude a non-European Economic Area national from the UK if she considers their presence in the UK to be non-conducive to the public good.
The Home Secretary has said that coming to the UK is a privilege and not a right and she will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the UK those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values.
Exclusion powers are very serious and are not used lightly. The Home Secretary will use these powers when justified and based on all available evidence.
The Prime Minister has made clear that he completely disagrees with Donald Trump’s remarks. The Home Secretary has said that Donald Trump’s remarks in relation to Muslims are divisive, unhelpful and wrong.
The Government recognises the strength of feeling against the remarks and will continue to speak out against comments which have the potential to divide our communities, regardless of who makes them. We reject any attempts to create division and marginalisation amongst those we endeavour to protect."
Now that the petition has received far more than the 100,000 signatures required for debate, Parliament has decided that it will debate this petition on January 18, 2016. If you are interested, you can watch this "compelling debate" on January 18th here.
Should the United Kingdom take the very unusual step of actually banning Mr. Trump, it will be interesting to see how the issue is handled should he be elected President of the United States in January 2017.
By the way, an open petition that calls for the U.K. government to "stop all immigration and close the UK borders until ISIS is defeated" has received 455,927 signatures, the second highest number on the list of currently open petitions. The third highest petition which calls for the U.K. government to "accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the U.K." has received 448,964 signatures. The U.K. government has said that it "will not close Britain's borders" and "will ensure access for legitimate travellers and trade whilst operating its borders securely to protect the public from the threat of terrorism.". Obviously, the United Kingdom is suffering from the same angst that many other nations have experienced since ISIS reared its ugly head.