President Donald Trump was a deceitful racist last year, and he is still a deceitful racist today.
Prior to becoming President, hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition that demanded that Trump be banned from entry to the UK because of his “hate speech” against Muslims. In response Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said:
“In fact I think it would be far better if he were to come to Leicester. Were he to come to Leicester not only would we engage in argument with him and seek to free him of his misapprehensions of our country and our city but we would have an opportunity to show him the reality of life in Britain today.” (January 22, 2016, Leicester Mercury)
But now Sir Peter has changed his tune (which is a pleasant change). Earlier this month in response to a question posed during the “City Mayor Question Time” (hosted on twitter), Sir Peter was asked by “Leicester Against Trump” campaigner Chris Williams if he thought Trump should be invited to Britain and Leicester. Sir Peter answered:
“Of course he’s not welcome here. Offer of state visit to this racist misogynist one of PM’s biggest mistakes!” (February 1, 2017)
Now it seems that two of Leicester’s three Labour MPs are opposed to a visit by Trump. Both Keith Vaz (Leicester East) and Jon Ashworth (Leicester South) have joined 161 other, largely Labour, MPs in signing a parliamentary motion that…
“… deplores recent actions taken by US President Donald J Trump, including his Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees, and notably his comments on torture and women; notes the historical significance and honour that comes with an invitation to address both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall or elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster; and calls on the Speaker, Lord Speaker, Black Rod and Sergeant at Arms to withhold permission from the Government for an address to be made in Westminster Hall, or elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster, by President Trump.” (EDM, 890)
It is nice that a handful of Leicester’s Labour leaders have now chosen to voice their rejection of Trump’s hateful fearmongering. But moralistic calls for opposition to racism and sexism from Labour right-wingers (most particularly from Soulsby who is completely opposed to the principled socialist leadership of his party by Jeremy Corbyn) is not enough if it is combined with accepting the driving down of wages and conditions of the working-class.
The increasing impoverishment of thousands of people across Leicester because of Tory cuts being passed on to our city by a Labour Council does little to cut across the lies promoted in the Tory press that immigrants are stealing our jobs, houses and school places, and are to blame for running-down of the NHS.
By failing to tackle the root causes of austerity and by proactively driving down the wages and conditions of all Council workers, Sir Peter is therefore engaged in the very actions that are likely to boost racism. The question then has to be: will Sir Peter change his mind again? Will he back Corbyn? And will Sir Peter help launch a city-wide and nation-wide fightback against Tory austerity and refuse to attack the pay and conditions of Council employees?