Deputy Editor Kirstie Sutherland reports on a magnitude 4.4 earthquake which has affected parts of the West Midlands, including UoB's main campus.Written by Kirstie Sutherland on 17th February 2018
Trump State Visit To Move To Birmingham
The controversial state visit of Donald Trump could be moved from London to Birmingham, new reports have released
These all come as part of plans to save the trip which has received much backlash from the British people and press.
But why Birmingham?
Despite being the second city of the UK, state visits do not normally take place away from London, so why is it being considered now?
Trump himself is apparently keen to visit the West Midlands because it is an area with a high level of support for Brexit which he is a big supporter of. While in the city of Birmingham the vote for Leave was a slim majority, the rest of the Midlands was much more decisive on the side of the winning vote.
The move to Birmingham would allow the President to address a mass rally and raise money for Armed Forces veterans. The idea would be for President Trump to address a rally in Birmingham where the audience would pay to enter with profits going to the Royal British Legion.
It is also suggested that people outside London would be more receptive to the President especially in the area some have named the Brexit heartland. Many believe that the event, with venues such as the National Exhibition Centre under consideration, would be far easier to police in the Midlands.
“‘There are millions of people in this country who don’t want him to come.’
However, this might not be the case. Lindsey German told The Telegraph, that the protests against the state visit would be the biggest since the 300,000 people who demonstrated against George W Bush’s visit in 2003. She said, ‘There are millions of people in this country who don’t want him to come.’
The suggestion that the protests will happen if Trump were to visit the UK has been seconded by former Birmingham councillor and anti-war campaigner Salma Yaqoob. She stated: ‘If Donald Trump comes to the great city of Birmingham, our diverse communities will take to the streets in our thousands - and show him what we think about his misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia.’
Trump remains positive however, with one source close to the President saying: ‘It would be his biggest rally with 85,000 people coming together to celebrate the US-UK special relationship. If he is not speaking to the Houses of Parliament, let’s go to the people. The only person who gets screwed is the Speaker of the House of Commons.’
Considering the reception his inauguration received in Birmingham, with a protest of hundreds of people gathering in Victoria Square. The protest held on the night of his inauguration, the 30th January,
In Birmingham, his anti-immigration policies are what have most come under fire due to the rich and diverse community living in the city. Although the city is predominantly White British (53.1%), this is still a figure that is lower than much of the rest of the country with 20% of the Birmingham population being Pakistani or Indian.
“'He is a racist and a misogynist who is using his power to divide.'
The moving of the visit has also been condemned by Kerry Jenkins, Labour councillor for Hall Green Ward, Birmingham. She said that while ‘Birmingham is a diverse and tolerant city that welcomes visitors from around the world […] I really hope that Donald Trump is not welcome here. He is a racist and a misogynist who is using his power to divide.’
She is not the only Birmingham MP to suggest that Trump would be less than welcome in the UK’s second city as these concerns were also voiced by Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood. She said ‘Birmingham is a wonderfully diverse city, home to people of every background, every faith - President Trump with his hateful and divisive rhetoric, policies and Muslim ban is not welcome here.’
It seems the idea that the president would be more welcome in the Brexit heartland of the West Midlands seems slightly flawed with protests being planned already by the Stop Trump Coalition.
The coalition is already organising events across the UK including a planned day of action on 20th February to support the rights of migrants, suggesting that Trump perhaps would not be welcome elsewhere too.