I don’t suppose Trump will lose much sleep over the debate in the House of Commons about whether to admit him to Britain. His love affair with the UK – or, at least, Scotland – appears to have soured long before 600,000 petition-signers worked themselves up into a tizzy over his remarks about Muslims.
There are four things behind the hurtful indifference of Trump to the fate of his UK visa,
1. Throwing the Balls out of the Golf Buggy.
Trump and Scotland started so well. Visiting the birth-cottage of his Scottish mother, Mary Macleod in Lewis (for 97 seconds, said the Guardian) in 2008, Trump said, “I feel very comfortable here, I think I do feel Scottish.” Indeed such was the misty attachment to these Celtic roots that after this trip, Trump started adding to his Scottish portfolio, buying up the land around the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, which he had acquired in 2006, with a view to creating ‘the best golf resort in the world.’ But there was trouble in his Caledonian paradise. Among the thistles in his side was the dourly recalcitrant figure of Michael Forbes (on a side note Forbeses and Trumps historically don’t see eye to eye, nearly every year sees a squabble over the Rich List with Trump claiming double the fortune they project for him). Forbes, a local farmer, refused to sell his plot to Trump – who called it a slum in his eye-line – in 2007, and despite being offered £450,000 along with a £50,000 salary for a job Trump has yet to devise, Forbes still hasn’t budged.
The second cause of strife came in 2013, when Alex Salmond announced plans to distress the punters on Trump’s course still further with an offshore wind farm. The Trumpian bluster that ensued blew strong, with him by turns calling Salmond a “stupid man”, “a has-been and totally irrelevant” and “an embarrassment to Scotland”. Speculation that Trump would renounce his clan altogether increased after Trump bought the Doonbeg Resort in the Republic of Ireland in 2014. It’s an ill wind of which perhaps the Aberdonians won’t complain.
2. The Terror of London
“The only reason I wouldn’t go to parts of New York is the very real risk of meeting Donald Trump,” said Boris Johnson at the beginning of last December, after London was used as a reason to shut American borders to Muslims. “We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives,” said Trump. That there is radicalisation in London is beyond question, but perhaps the most virulent strain is the fanatical anti-Trump faction. But water off Donald duck’s back. A source at the American Embassy tells me, “Trump never much enjoyed his trips to London; I think he considered us at the Embassy to be a den of Democratic vipers.”
3. Fresh Off the Vote – Mistrust of the Don-Olde Country
I hope Donald would forgive me for saying this, but from time to time a smattering of xenophobia has touched his rhetoric. Borders are there to be closed, visas to be denied, foreigners to be mistrusted. No anglophile he, Trump does not number among those Americans sentimental to their British founders. This indifference is compounded by the fact that, apart from various Notting Hill Republicans (who can always jet back to cast their vote) we’re not going to win the election for him. As Emily Maitlis, who interviewed Trump in 2010, put it to me, “I think he would ADORE being banned from the UK. This is no-votes country, anyway, and I think given how much of his appeal and his rhetoric is about nationalism and rebuilding America and shutting out the bad things, I think this would be a massive boost. There’s nothing like an external enemy to create a hero.” We demonic Brits would fit nicely alongside the Mexicans, Muslims and Nigerians.
Now this Maitlis insight brings me onto my fourth and perhaps main point, I don’t think Trump and British women mix; and this is a two way street. His relations with Brit chicks never seem to go right. At its most extreme was his fall-out with Selina Scott, who since making a disparaging programme about Trump in the mid 90s has been at the end of sporadic attacks – both public and private – for the last 20 years, “she still gets periodic hate mail from him” says a friend. Generally it’s less dramatic though, more a gaucheness that doesn’t appeal to the Albion female. Princess Diana found this after splitting up with Prince Charles, when Donald attempted to fill her flat with flowers that came with notes that gave her “the creeps”. Emily Maitlis who, despite Donald storming out at the end of some of the interviews he gave her in 2010, made quite a conquest, “I interviewed him five times. The first time he told me I was like Barbara Walters. Not withstanding the fact she’s 87 I detected it was meant to be a complement.”
Even without Parliament’s intervention, I hope the thought of the reception he’ll receive from British women might put off Trump from visiting our shores too often. A few years ago, I was meant to interview Trump for Tatler, the day before I was due to fly up to Scotland to meet him on his golf course, the interview was cancelled. I always hope that I would have done my Anglo-sisters proud, and, perhaps brandishing a nine-iron, eloquently spoken for us all, “Sling your hook Goldilocks. Go blow your own Trumpet.”