Diaspora Matters

January 24, 2016

Who will ‘bell’ Donald Trump?

Who will ‘bell’ Donald Trump?


By Babajide Alabi

Mr. Donald Trump is a flamboyant and successful United States businessman cum politician who courts controversies and revels in them. Trump is undoubtedly the leading US Republican Party presidential hopeful in the coming elections. A son of a Scottish immigrant mother. But do not be deceived, his mother’s long journey from Scotland to the US has not in any way shaped his views on immigration. It is ironic that his political campaign seem to be anchored on immigration and he is not getting tired very soon of suggesting that immigrants are the cause of the problems in the US.

Trump’s ideas on immigration is simple –  keep as many illegal immigrants out of the US as possible. You will agree he is not alone in this desire. All over the developed world immigration has become an important issue, and leaders are doing all they could to keep their borders locked up. In Europe, especially the United Kingdom, there is no hiding the fact that non-EEA citizens (legal or illegal) are being kept out of the country by all means by recent immigration policies of the Tory-led government.

Trump’s views are not much different from what the UK Prime Minister David Cameron had been preaching for the past five years. And that is to keep Britain for Britons. The only difference between Trump and Cameron is in the choice of words.  On the other hand, Cameron has been pursuing his reforms silently to ensure non-EEA migrants are kept out that people barely notice.

Trump may be a man giving to careless words. He may seem to play to the gallery in some of his speeches, but on this immigration reform, he is “dead serious”.  He has been compared with Briton Nigel Farage who played on people’s sentiments on Immigrations in the run up to last year’s UK general elections, but ended up having his fingers burnt.  Trump seem to be getting the support of the mainstream Americans, who believe he may be the one to make America great again.

Illegal immigration, especially from Mexico, had been a great headache for the country for ages. Mr Trump seem to have dreamt of a permanent solution to this problem – build a wall across the southern border.  According to him, this is the only way to keep the immigrants out of the country.

Every leader is a dreamer. Without a dream, there won’t be any reality. Is Trump’s dream of a better US conflicting with reality? Is he courting more enemies than friends in his bid for the White House? He seem to have ruffled a few feathers as a  result of his recent comments, especially in the UK.


The British are reputed to be direct, frank and sometimes brutal in their comments. This does not mean they have no feelings. Not at all.  They may be “described” as conservative in their lifestyles, however when it comes to telling a story as it is, they do not mince their words. Obviously the British politicians are not in the same league as their Nigerian counterparts who would play the hide and seek game behind a finger.

A typical British politician is not known to tell fibs the way politicians do in this part of the world and will not go not out of his/her way so as to win votes of the electorates. Listening to some of these politicians campaign in run ups to elections you tend to wonder at the simplicity and down to earth method of winning votes. Likewise in every day relationship the British are very straight forward and you need no divination to realise the position of a Briton on any issue.

Watching proceedings of the British Parliament, the House of Commons, is a constant reminder that the Nigerian lawmakers can  be labelled as pretenders “to the throne” in the art of legislation. The decorum that is displayed in Nigeria’s National Assembly, which is the equivalent of the British Parliament, is nothing to write home about.

The British Parliament is not often giving to debating trivial matters that would not benefit the larger society. However, earlier this year, it seem to shift a bit when it announced that its Petition Committee would meet to debate a petition, spearheaded by Scottish freelance journalist and activist Suzanne Kelly. The petition had called for Mr. Donald Trump to be banned from entering UK.  To observers the subject matter of the petition was too trivial to engage the precious time of the parliament.


However, the provision of the law mandates the parliament to hear any petition with signatories over one hundred thousand. As at Monday morning, over 570,000 people had signed the petition.

In his plan to “protect” America from external “invasion” and “pollution”, Trump last month suggested the government should ban all Muslims from entering US.  Supporters of Trump had come to his defence that his comments should be considered against the backdrop of the terrorists attack by the radicalised Muslim couple in California earlier in December. The couple – Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik – shot and killed 14 people in San Bernando.

These arguments did not however hold water with the petitioners and members of the committee who reached into their rich vocabularies to find suitable words to describe the person of Trump. The members of the committee described Trump in various adjectives that are not in any way flattery of him.  “Idiot”, “a fool”, “a buffoon”, etc were some of the words.  A Labour MP Jack Dromey said in support of the proposed Trump ban: “Donald Trump is a fool. He’s free to be a fool. He’s not free to be a dangerous fool on our shores.”  The lawmakers were united in one purpose –  condemn the American who had suggested UK had serious problems with Islamic radicalisation.

Trump expressed his fears about radicalisation in the UK when he said: “We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives. We have to be very smart and very vigilant.” Although the Metropolitan Police, groups and individuals had condemned Trump’s views, the reality on ground may suggest a hint of truth in them. A TV documentary on Channel 4 last week, aptly titled “Jihadist Next Door”, featured two young Muslims preaching hate messages at various venues in London yet the police was helpless in dealing with them. Should Trump see this, he will feel right about his views?

Although the Parliament’s committee took no vote on the petition, it was however clear that should Trump visit the UK he would not be accorded any red carpet reception by these MPs. Many people had expressed disappointment at the Parliament’s waste of public resources to discuss the petition, and its lack of will to stand up to the US politician. The debate of the petition last Monday has not had any effect on the position of the flamboyant politician. Instead, his associates expressed surprise that the parliament could bring itself so low to discuss a non relevant issue.

It is certain though that the over 570,000 signatories to the petition would not cry for him should he lose his presidential bid.