Twitter last night consisted almost entirely of tweets on two subjects: President Trump’s erroneously labelled ‘Muslim ban’, and Theresa May’s refusal to publicly condemn the President’s latest executive order.
“Theresa the Appeaser”, she was called. What rubbish. To label her this insinuates a weakness of character that is simply not part of our Prime Minister’s constitution. It would be the easiest thing in the world for May to stride out the fabled black door of Number Ten, speak from behind a lectern, and win the adulation of the majority of British voters who surely oppose Trump’s action, by condemning the punitive restrictions he has imposed.
But this would be fatal weakness on her part. Such a statement would achieve nothing, and would likely cost our nation dearly. Indeed, it surprising in the extreme to see the same people who only yesterday were resolute in their belief that our country is a piddling little backwater incapable of governing even its own affairs, suddenly discover a certainty that it can, in fact, wield dominion over those of the wealthiest and most powerful country on the planet. They should, I think, make their minds up.
Rather than betraying any weakness, our Prime Minister has, in fact, exhibited exceptional strength, restraint and judgement. She has, now, issued a statement expressing her disagreement with Trump’s policy, but has refrained from the emotive Twitter virtue-signalling of her Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau. The Rt Hon Theresa May MP is not interested in grandstanding on the global stage, she’s concerned solely with protecting British interests, and this is to her credit.
Let’s consider Trudeau’s action. Without naming President Trump, he tweeted the following:
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength
#WelcomeToCanada Justin Trudeau
Stern words indeed. But many Canadians will surely question what they will achieve. Their Prime Minister has tweeted his – and by implicit extension, Canada’s – hearty disapproval of their southern neighbour’s actions. Doubtless, many of the tech-enamoured trend-setters who populate Toronto’s hippest bars will have nodded their heads vigorously, and felt proud that their nation had voiced its dissent.
Trudeau’s support, however, will come as little comfort to any person currently unable to return home to the US. In between panicked phonecalls to tearful spouses, and desperate attempts to reassure frightened children, Trudeau’s verbal support will come as little consolation at best, and ring utterly hollow at worst.
You see, this is the problem with virtue-signalling, which makes me so glad to have a Prime Minister utterly disinterested in it: it achieves absolutely nothing. In the case of Trudeau, and all other leaders who condemn Trump publicly, it will lead to nothing other than deteriorated relations for their country. By retaining a respectful relative quiet, our government may deny itself that warm, self-righteous glow which rewards the signalling of virtue, but it puts itself in a far superior position to assist those actually affected, by not souring diplomatic relations. Make no mistake, whilst the Prime Minister has been reticent publicly, there will be strong representations of our distaste made through back-channels.
Ultimately, our government’s restraint has ensured we are in the best possible position to protect not just our own interests, but also those of people affected by the White House’s draconian order. Critics of our Prime Minister’s response, the pusillanimous cowards who tweet photos of “Theresa the Appeaser”‘s head superimposed onto Neville Chamberlain’s body, should ask themselves what they truly want: the titillation of their own egotistical vanity, or a British government that is in the very strongest position to help the scattered and frightened souls who are the real victims of this.