“The first thing I want to say is mandate my ass” the opening words from Gil Scott Heron in his 1981 (15-minute) track B Movie.
B Movie served as the B side to the single Re-Ron both quintessentially criticising the election of populist right-wing actor Ronald Reagan to the White House. It was also the closing track on his 1981 album Reflections. While some of the detail within the lyrics will seem dated I defy anybody not to listen and draw parallels with the ongoing American car crash we are all now witnessing. 30 years later and in many ways all that seems to have changed is the actor.
While we watch the digits click away on the Petition to Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom (heading towards 1.4m signatures at the point of writing this blog). Our thoughts should turn to our local politicians, elected Mayors, councillors and civic leaders. As well as providing the important democratic overview of our local taxes and services, Elected Mayors, Councillors and Councils are your local democratic hub representing the views of your neighbourhood and community. So here is one thing that you can do, if you would like to mobilise support against a potential visit from Trump to your town or city during his proposed state visit.
Now, to be frank, if you are here looking for a debate as to why this issue is important then to be honest you need to go elsewhere.
Most if not all council websites support an e-petition facility. In my home City of Bristol, this can be found here, which provides you with a good example of what you can expect.
Here is an e-petition , which is currently live on the Bristol City Council website. I know this type of action is often considered symbolic and we live in an era when people feel increasingly powerless, but petitions are a small important part of our democracy. They help set the tone. It reads:
NO CIVIC SUPPORT FOR A TRUMP VISIT
What the petition is seeking: In our view, no ceremonial duties or civic welcome should be bestowed upon or tax payers funding, assets or buildings utilised to facilitate any potential visit to the City of Bristol by the President of the United States (Mr. Donald Trump) whilst on his state visit to the UK. I call on the Mayor of Bristol to promote this approach with other core cities in the UK.
Why: In our view, the presence of the President of the United States (Mr. Donald Trump) will be a risk to the community cohesion of our great city.
If the council accept the petition then it should be posted on their website pretty quickly. The point of this approach is to let your elected representatives know that while Trump might be welcomed into the UK by the Prime Minister he certainly is not welcomed into your community. Please feel free to share this information.