President Bush’s State Visit to Britain
President Bush is coming to London this week, for a three day State visit. This visit, to put it mildly, has caused quite a stir.
At the operational level, security forces (both British and the 700 US imports) and the British police will be on their highest level of alert; it is likely that there may be one or two “traffic jams” as the Presidential motorcade sweeps through a “cordon sanitaire”.
Political groups, non affiliated political groups and individuals are busy co-ordinating their protests covering all manner of issues; ranging from the war in Iraq, to general anti American hostility (which has been prevalent in mainland Europe for the past fifty years or so).
Anarchist groups are, so we are told, formulating plans to storm Buckingham Palace (some chance!); in the forlorn hope that there will be some form of popular uprising.
Added to this are the politicians, and media pundits, who are saying that it is disgraceful that President Bush should be invited here. Their reasons being that, in their opinion, the invasion of Iraq was wrong; and that the troops still occupying Iraq should be brought home.
Let me chip in my “two pennies” of thought into this morass of invective and emotion:
People have the right to demonstrate, in a peaceful manner, in the UK. That is the benefit of living in a democracy, something that many people in the world do no have. The agitators who wish for violence would do well to remember that Bush was elected democratically; by people who live in a democracy, which was founded on the principles of liberty and justice over two hundred years ago.
The timing of the invasion of Iraq is open to question and debate. However, the deed is done. To pull the troops out now, before initiating a road map to self government; would consign the Iraqi people to chaos, anarchy and a return to dictatorship. Therefore to demand withdrawal at this stage, on the grounds of decency, peace and anti imperialist sentiment is an absurd contradiction of logic; it shows a scant disregard for the wellbeing of the Iraqi people.
Those that say that Bush should not have been invited imply that he is a war monger and dictator. As noted, the USA is a democracy; should we now stop inviting leaders of democratic countries where we disagree with their choice of leader and policies they implement? To my view, the people who follow this argument are displaying a stupefying level of arrogance.
The visit will give our government the chance to raise matters of concern, such as steel tariffs and the treatment of the POW’s, in a constructive face to face manner. This surely is to the UK’s benefit.
Therefore demonstrate peacefully, by all means, but remember you are able to do so because you live in a democracy; which is hosting the President of another democracy.