Think Trump shouldn't visit the UK? Here's why you're wrong
PUBLISHED: 14:51 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:34 23 April 2019
James Marston says it is ludicrous to suggest that Trump isn't welcome here. This is why...
There's a lot being said about Donald Trump these days, isn't there?
I heard on the radio – I've stopped calling it the wireless after someone mistook my mother's friend for my wife and she's a pensioner – someone saying they wouldn't talk to him about climate change as he wouldn't listen anyway.
As Her Majesty gets to greet one of the leaders of the free world on our behalf and in our name it is perhaps worth remembering that just because some might not like President Trump he isn't a dictator, or the leader of a one party state, or even some sort of tyrant – the American constitution simply won't allow it. He is democratically elected by the land of the free.
He is also the leader of one of Britain's closest allies.
It might be the case that we think more of the special relationship this side of the Atlantic than the other but nonetheless we must and we should grant him the same honour and courtesy we extend to all the other heads of state that we invite.
It does intrigue me that those who are anti-Trump seem to forget that he is there by the will and mandate of the American people.
We also, whether we like it or not, need all the friends we can get. It is, I suggest, in our interest to host Donald and to talk to him and to engage with him as much as we can. After all I imagine he may well be president for a second term.
He might have a lot to say on social media, he might have a style that doesn't fit with how some might prefer, he might have different views – he might not “listen” but then I'm beginning to wonder who does?
Not listening is an accusation levelled with increasing regularity. If someone “doesn't listen” it means they are intransient, awkward, stubborn, unable to bend, ignorant. But it is a highly subjective accusation, isn't it? Telling someone they are stubborn simply means they won't do what you want. Telling someone they don't or haven't or won't listen is exactly the same.
As our politicians – who have collectively not listened for years and now are reaping the reward – gear up for more shenanigans and not listening to either us or each other I sometimes wonder if it might be better if there were more silence and less talking.
Having said that there are often good reasons for not listening.
People are wrong – sometimes the lone or countercultural voice shot down in the melee proves to be right – think of Churchill during appeasement.
People cry wolf – the current no deal fear mongering is a good example.
People speak from concern for their own interests – quite.
People constantly express opinions beyond their own expertise – I know I do.
People don't listen to what they are being told either.
The truth of course is political expediency will eventually solve Brexit and listening will have almost nothing to do with it.
That's not to say we shouldn't listen to each other, being presented with other viewpoints is important and necessary, sometimes to change direction, sometimes to think of alternative courses of action, sometimes to get a wider perspective.
Social media, adversarial party politics, rampant individualism – the “you do you” world in which we live, all thwart the ability to listen often by reducing exposure to other ideas and points of view, and it is that lack of exposure that breeds ignorance and ignorance breeds contempt and entrenchment and the circle goes on.
Nonetheless, one can listen and still disagree.
I have heard and listened to the arguments for the death penalty but however much I listen I shan't be moved from my view that it isn't right for the state to execute criminals.
Having a view doesn't mean you haven't listened.
I scoured the town looking for arrowroot biscuits and finally found some at the large Waitrose supermarket on Futura Park and also the nearby Sainsbury's large store. McVities not Crawfords I am afraid, but the best I could do. However James, please keep it very quiet as I don't want them to be sold out next time I go for some.
Yours sincerely, David Southgate.
It was interesting to see Oxo Crisps mentioned in your column, I never encountered them but I do remember Bovril crisps which appear to have been around at the same time. I suspect we had a greater variety of producers in the early 70s each with their own unique flavour combinations. I also remember Savoury Vinegar crisps which puzzled me as a concept. My childhood was late 60s and the whole of the 70s, we did celebrate both Fathers Day and Mothers Day but I had a recent conversation with a slightly older friend who did not mark Fathers Day in his childhood. Growing up in Suffolk we escaped snow for most of the 70s (we seemed to have more frosts than currently is the case). We had a snowy Winter in 1979 and I remember school being cancelled and trains not running. It seems disruptive snow was always newsworthy. I remember Radio Norfolk carrying out a expedition to snowbound Blofield Heath to deliver bread in the mid 80s. We probably escape snow in the East but when it arrives it tends to drift and becomes problematic.
Regards, John Holland