Yes, but it would involve obtaining a civil banning order through the court... anyone got a big balloon?
It is shaping up to be a summer of discontent. With pavement-melting temperatures, Brexit going royally tits up and the nation ready to kick off if football doesn’t get it arse back here RIGHT NOW, it’s looking a bit tasty out there.
Throw the visit of Donald Trump into the mix and you’ve got the scene set for insurrection. But the British way of protesting means less of the cobble throwing and more of the never-ending pisstake. Take Sheffield’s Lord Mayor Magid Magid, who declared President Trump a ‘wasteman’ and that he was banned from the city of Sheffield. He did so while chairing a city council meeting in a massive sombero to show his allegiance with the Mexican people.
The major tweeted his objections to Trump including: the Muslim travel ban, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the imprisonment of children at US borders, moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and support for White Supremacists.
Magid said, "We need to be honest, bold and courageous in our viewpoints, as a world leader he has a lot of weight and we have to fight that hate." When he puts it like that, it gets me wondering if the City of Manchester should be considering banning the Orange One as well?
“As if Trump would be arsed,” notes the Editor, with his usual penetrating analysis and rhetorical flourish. On the face of it, it does seem very unlikely that Trump will be stopping off in Manchester. His two main interests in the UK are having tea with the Queen and going to check up on his golf courses in Scotland. In fact, Conservative groups have urged him to focus on the Scottish part of his visit to avoid undue embarrassment in London.
Then again, according to the Financial Times, a spokesperson for Downing Street said, “We’re looking forward to making sure the president has a chance to see and experience the UK beyond London and the South East.” Seeing as Windsor and Chequers are the only announced stop-offs apart from London and Scotland, is this a hint there might be a few secret stops on the itinerary?
...perhaps he will be dropping in at Old Trafford for a quick tour
One reason for a Mancunian sojourn might be that Manchester United director Ed Glazer donated £44K to Trump’s campaign to be elected president and a couple of months ago threw a huge fundraiser in Florida to replenish Trump’s coffers ahead of his 2020 election campaign.
Trump even told fellow dreamboat Piers Morgan that he supported the reds, mentioning, "I have a friend who owns Manchester United." Always a sign of a man of the people. So you never know, perhaps he will be dropping in at Old Trafford for a quick tour on his way up to Bonnie Scotland.
While the Lord Major of Manchester is not saying much on the matter, Mike Kane, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East said: “I believe the Government was wrong to recommend the original invitation of a State Visit and I question why the Government thinks now is the time to grant President Trump the honour of visiting the UK, albeit on a working visit, and meeting the Queen.
“Our close relationship with the United States has always been important and that will continue to be true regardless of any differences we may have with individual Presidents, including President Trump. But it is also true that the transatlantic relationship has been built on shared values such as freedom, tolerance and respect for human rights. That means it is absolutely right to oppose any policies which run counter to those values.”
When a city honours someone it can bestow the Freedom of the City upon them. This highest of honours has been bestowed upon Nobel laureates, Tony Wilson, a field hospital and Bobby Charlton among others. Is there a reverse procedure that essentially restricts entry to the city? It has such a medieval vibe to it - I love the idea of portcullises clanging down on the M60 as the presidential motorcade approaches.
Sadly we’ll have to leave the LARPing for another day: the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (I read it so you don’t have to) clearly sets out the steps for granting this honour but doesn’t give any guidance on keeping the riffraff out. The closest it seems you can get is for the council to issue a condemnation of a person or their views. Now I’ve had a pointed email or two from the MCC press office in my time, and it can put you in a low mood, but I doubt this would put The Donald off.
We want to ban him from Manchester airspace...
It turns out that the only sure way to lock someone out of Manchester is to get a civil banning order issued through the court. The local authority and the police can apply for this in regard to anyone they regard as a serious threat to public peace and order and the legislation refers to anti-social individuals who are, among other things, loud, rude and disorderly. Well it sounds like someone we know but it would be a major diplomatic no-no.
Ok, so if it's a bit too late to ban the Cheeto-in-Chief from the city, could we ban him from our skies? That's a move being backed by Town Hall spokesman Pat Karney. "We want to ban him from Manchester airspace," Karney told Confidential, "we're asking Manchester Airport to make this happen as he flies from seeing the Queen at Windsor Castle to his golf courses in Scotland. He can take a right and go via Denmark instead. We don't want him here."
The question remains though, what has Trump ever done to me? Why should I as a British citizen get hot and bothered about the American president, over say, Ang Suu Kyi or President Xi Jinping of China, who did indeed visit Manchester a couple of years ago and didn’t get his own personalised balloon, despite his country’s record of human rights abuse.
I asked Penny Hicks of the Stop The War Coalition, which is involved in organising this Friday’s march against Trump in Albert Square (details below), to give me her main reason for protesting Trump. She told me, “With Trump it’s so hard to pick just one isn’t it? You’ve got his misogyny, his treatment of refugees, the environment and trade but I’d have to say my number one fear is war. It’s his completely blasé attitude to diplomacy and his warmongering regarding Iran, Russia and others that terrifies me.
“To anyone who asks why you should bother protesting I’d say that historically the UK has always followed the US into war and the support of the UK is very important to the US. We want to say to Theresa May ‘you can’t possibly have a special relationship with someone like this, that you will be so unpopular if you follow this man.”
Later I ask Penny if she would like to ban Trump, either from the UK or Manchester. She responds, “Our focus is on the Government and letting them know what we want from them. It’s already a massive victory that so much of the itinerary has been changed due to fears of protest – it’s very unusual for a President to meet the Queen or the Prime Minister outside of London. It’s also strange for him to come on a ‘business visit’ – in essence it’s a trial run for a state visit which is why it’s so important to get people out protesting now.”
So, to the Stand Up To Trump coalition, Trump’s presence is not a prerequisite for a successful demonstration. In fact, probably the best indicator that there will be no secret Mancunian stop-offs for The Donald is that, according to The Guardian, police officers are actually been drained from the Greater Manchester police force to service areas where Trump is known to be visiting (policing is said to be costing the taxpayer £5 million just for the Scottish part of the visit).
Luckily, it seems that protestors have inherited Magid Magid’s sense of humour. There is the infamous Donald blimp down in London of course, while Stand Up to Trump Manchester has promised that the Albert Square protest will be a positive experience, with a DJ set from Dave Haslam and Mexican dancers, meaning that in Manchester at least, the protest should be a peaceful affair. Now where do we buy a massive balloon?
How to join in:
Stand Up To Trump Manchester is holding a demonstration at Albert Square on Friday 13 July at 5pm. There are also coaches organised by the group to go to the London protest. You can find out more on the Facebook page.