The vicar’s daughter and the volatile vulgarian
Join me here as I marvel at the special relationship between the English vicar’s daughter and the volatile vulgarian in the White House, and speculate how this could usher in a new era of western renewal.
If you’d like to read the remarks I make on this video, the transcript follows below.
It had seemed impossible that Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and the American President Donald Trump would have anything in common. The shy, reserved, utterly English vicar’s daughter and the garish and volatile vulgarian, who resembles a human Vesuvius in continuous eruption.
On both sides of the pond, everyone held their breath anticipating diplomatic disaster. But in the end, the meeting between Mrs May and Mr Trump in Washington DC last weekend was hailed as an unbridled triumph.
It forged a personal bond and a renewal of the special relationship between Britain and America.
This didn’t surprise me in the slightest. The only person who could charm Mr Trump in this way would be a woman, and only a woman like Mrs May.
You see, we’d seen something like this before in Britain with Mrs Thatcher. It never ceases to amaze me that there were grown men in her Cabinet who would confess that when she tore them off a strip about something their knees “turned to jelly”. Something about her reminding them of their nannies, or their mothers.
You may laugh and say, well that’s Britain for you, isn’t it. But there does seem to be a certain kind of man, particularly a man who is either emotionally fragile or who has some kind of chip on his shoulder about his intellectual achievements, who hugely admires a powerful woman – because she is a woman who exercises power – and who therefore wants to look good in her eyes. And for some Americans, an English accent makes her seem even more special.
Or so I’m told.
So all Mrs May had to do was to treat Donald Trump with respect and attentiveness, commend his achievements and, where she did disagree with him, do so with courtesy as well as with steel, and he was bound to be charmed out of his socks. Which is precisely what seems to have happened.
But there’s more to this apparently odd couple than that.
Mrs May laughed off the obvious personal differences between them, saying “opposites attract”. In fact, they have much in common in what each of them now represents.
Both have come to power as a result of their respective countries sloughing off national demoralisation and self-doubt – and despite the screams of rage and fury from the left who are watching their post-west agenda being ripped to shreds.
For decades, Britain has been run by a governing class which believed its task was “the orderly management of decline.”
Accordingly it made itself wide open to ideologies bent upon undermining British national identity and western institutions and values.
For decades, America has told itself that it is innately racist and oppressive and that its belief in its own exceptionalism has been the cause of the world’s problems.
But now it has voted into office a President who has promised to make America great again and restore it as Americans’ historic and recognisable home. And Britain voted for the return of its own ability to govern itself in accordance with its own culture, laws and traditions.
In both countries the people repudiated a political and intellectual elite which foisted upon them a supposed consensus which flew in the face of the people’s deepest attachments and everything they believed in.
And in both countries the people performed accordingly an act of faith. Britain took a leap in choosing the path of freedom, with all its attendant uncertainties and risks. America took a leap in electing a man who has torn up the political rule book.
What the people were saying on both sides of the Atlantic was that they believed in their country, they believed in what it stood for and they believed in their nation’s future.
Despite various differences, Britain and America are family. Britain is America’s cultural mothership. In her speech in Philadelphia last Thursday, Mrs May observed that the special relationship between the two countries had defined the modern world.
What she was now was hailing was a new era of western renewal brought about by the optimism and hope of the millions who voted for Brexit (which, it must be said, she did not support) and for Donald Trump.
Of course, beneath all the praise she was urging the new President to put aside his unsettling inclination towards isolationism and not “stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene.” She’s worried he may not step up to the plate when it comes to America’s historic role in leading the free world – a role that President Obama set out to destroy, with calamitous consequences for world peace and justice.
But in drawing a sharp and correct distinction between Britain and the Europe Britain is now leaving, Mrs May underscored the fact that the true creator and defender of the core western ideas of freedom, justice and democracy is the Anglosphere.
Continental Europe is in decline, possibly terminal decline. In deciding to free itself from the grip of this stricken behemoth, Britain has saved itself; and President Trump knows it. He showed he understood this when he turned up in Britain on the eve of last June’s EU referendum to cheer Brexit on. In Washington, Mrs May appeared to seize the moment and run with it. One might even hope that a western spring might be on the horizon.
This isn’t going to be plain sailing. Indeed, barely had Mrs May got back to Britain than she was swept up in the tremendous backlash to President Trump’s temporary ban on entrants to the United States from a list of countries designated as a terrorist threat to America.
Incompetent and chaotic implementation of this policy meant British citizens whose backgrounds were linked to those countries seemed to be at risk of being banned from America too. So that had to be unpicked. Frankly, it looked as if this policy had been drafted on the back of an envelope.
But what this furore also showed, with its false accusations of racism, calls for insurrectionary protest and even on Twitter for Donald Trump’s assassination, was that the opposition to the President is simply unhinged.
With its self-righteous hypocrisy and profound moral confusion, the furore demonstrates all too graphically why the west has been going down for all these years – and why, despite what’s going to be a very bumpy ride, it’s so important that the Anglosphere becomes once again the proponent and defender of western national identity and its true core values.