Opinion Politics

‘Handgate’: the world has descended into hyperbole

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Why is there so much fuss about Theresa May holding hands with Donald Trump?

When you consider all the terrible things Theresa May has done in her political career; the snoopers charter, secret courts and the Saudi prison contract débâcle to name but three, it seems odd to fixate on this one incident. The explanation given by the White House is Trump has bathmophobia (the fear of slopes) and therefore needed moral support when going down the slope. This may sound strange but it’s not implausible; all phobias are bizarre from the outside, as the very definition of phobia is “irrational fear”. It is no more detached from reality than my own personal (and widespread) acrophobia, which is the fear of heights.

I have watched the footage several times and the actual physical contact seems to last a grand total of four seconds. As there is an obstructing pillar it’s difficult to work out exactly what happened (I initially assumed May was having problems descending the slope, due to her penchant for wearing impractical shoes). Downing Street claimed it was an act of chivalry. This seems probable also; Trump shows psychopathic tendencies and psychopaths are prone to superficial kindness.

Whatever the reason, the incident should not have generated such attention and apparent agitation. One Shadow Minister tweeted it made her “uncomfortable”. Really? Why? Have you never seen two adults briefly holding hands before? I can understand if it made Melania Trump or Philip May uneasy, but fail to see why it should bother anyone else. Even more bizarrely Harry Leslie Smith claimed “When you hold hands with the devil no soap will wash off the evil from your soul”.

Smith’s tweet embodies the hysteria about Trump; he is many things but he is not Satan, and his personality is not medically contagious. Equating someone with the Prince of Darkness means all discussion and reporting is heavily skewered. Consequently people start to believe anything they hear about Trump, such as the myth he removed the bust of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office. Deciding Obama was the Messiah was no better either, as it meant turning a blind eye to Guantanamo Bay, and mass deportations.

Whenever a world leader is completely demonised, anything short of spitting in their face, is equated with rimming them. My personal view is we should be polite to foreign leaders (particularly when they are in charge of potential trade deals and the World’s biggest economy). Snubbing World Leaders is at best virtue signalling and at worst can precipitate currency, trade or even military wars.

In 1937 Lord Halifax nearly handed Hitler his coat, mistaking him for a footman; had someone not hastily pointed out he was dealing with the Fuhrer, World War Two would undoubtedly have happened sooner. May smacking Trump’s hand away would not have achieved anything.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Trump, but this does not change the fact that he is the President of America, and will in all likelihood hold the post for eight years (incumbents are very difficult to beat). Co-operation is in the interests of everyone involved, and Trump is not going to resign just because the British Prime Minister refuses to hold his hand.

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