Today is the beginning of a very significant week for our whole world and indeed it certainly will have a major impact on our nation as Joe Biden is about to be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. His predecessor who is currently still the President of the most powerful Nation in the World is going to have achieved several historical awards one of which he has indicated that will happen this week is that he will be the first US President for over 150 years to have chosen to stay away from the inauguration for his successor. Of course, one of the challenges for our nation is that the departure of Donald Trump will be seen as a negative outcome by some of our most senior Governmental leaders which is less historic, but more concerning under our recent conditions.
Way back in 2016 just after the EU referendum there was a very clear statement made by the current Leader of the House of Commons that
“I would almost certainly vote for Trump if I was American”
and then nearly 2 years later he claimed our nation and the US will become more important to each other as we were unlikely to have many friends with the EU following our departure from it. He wrote in the Daily Telegraph that
“It will be necessary to show the Americans how our departure from the EU will be in their national interest, too. Donald Trump has supported Britain’s decision to leave the EU out of conviction and principle but if that could be bolstered by robust self-interest, so much the better.”
Most of us know that Joe Biden has a very different approach to Donald Trump and that he was very saddened that we had chosen to leave the EU which he had seen as a good role for us to play. No doubt Jacob Rees-Mogg is now having to work very hard for a major change in the connection between our two nations, made much more difficult because of his strong support for Donald Trump.
As it happens at the end of last week, Parliament published a document which laid out the content of the meeting between the Liaison Committee and the Prime Minister that took place last Wednesday. It was the first of his sessions this year and indeed one of the few he has taken part in since he became Prime Minister nearly 18 months ago. The document is well worth a read with all of the questions and answers within it. One of the people who asked him some questions was Catherine McKinnell who is chair of the Petition Committee. Her first question related to one of the most popular e-petitions ever submitted to Parliament, which called for Donald Trump to be prevented from visiting our nation in 2017. Catherine said
“Given recent events, do you regret saying in 2018 that Donald Trump was worthy of a Nobel peace prize?”
Very few US Presidents and no UK Prime Ministers have received a Nobel Peace Prize. The most recent was Barack Obama in 2009 and Jimmy Carter in 2002 but the next President was Woodrow Wilson back in 1919. There have been a few senior US Politicians and one from the UK who have been recognised in the past. There were also significant people such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and many others from across the World. There were also people at different times who helped bring peace to our nation through Northern Ireland. These peace rewards are clearly vital, particularly as they don’t always involve people who are part of the political infrastructure.
Anyway, back to Boris Johnson who stated in his complete response
“I am sorry, I am in favour of the Prime Minister of the UK having the best possible relationship with the President of the United States. I had an excellent conversation recently with President elect Joe Biden”
Although he ignored the specific question from Catherine, he did at least indicate that he intends to build a relationship with Joe Biden who will be President from Wednesday. As a final aspect the EU received the Nobel Peace prize in 2012 and the UN has received it five times between 2001 and 1954. It is clear that our connection with both of these agencies and several others is very important, even though we are no longer a member of the EU. Perhaps in the future there will be a Nobel Peace Prize awarded to someone or a group who can achieve peace between those of us who wanted to remain in the EU and those who were wanting us to end our involvement. If they can also avoid the prospect of our nations separating that would be even more amazing.