July 13, 2018 Blog

Richard Leonard: Scotland stands against Donald Trump

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard’s speech to thousands of anti-Trump protesters in Glasgow.

13 July, 2018. Please check against delivery.

We come to the crucible of Red Clydeside, And on the banks of the river there is a statue dedicated to Dolores Ibarruri Gomez – La Pasionaria.

Who famously said “No pasaran,”

“They shall not pass.”

And let the message ring out today to the world from Glasgow. We are the heirs of the international brigaders

And you shall not pass –  Donald Trump no pasaran! 

History teaches us that truth has to be fought for every step of the way.

And each generation has to fight the same battles over and over again.

So we gather here this afternoon in George Square shoulder to shoulder. From all parties and from none. From all faiths and from none.

From this great city but from the Highlands and islands and the borders as well.

We stand here today to protest against the visit of the 45th President of the United States of America.

And so we are setting out before the world all of those things that we are against.

And all of the reasons that bring us on to the streets to protest:

His misogyny. His islamophobia: and as long as there is a travel ban to America on the grounds of religious intolerance.

We should impose a travel ban on Donald Trump and ban him from Prestwick airport which is owned on behalf of the people by the Scottish Government.

We are on the streets to demonstrate against his racism. His bigotry. His denunciation of climate change. His anti-trade union actions. So there is much that we are against.

But let us also tell the world what we are for.

What happened to the Gettysburg address?  To Abraham Lincoln? To truths being self-evident. To the ratification of the covenant? And the sealing of commissions?

What happened to good government, and religious liberty?

To the idea of government of the people, by the people for the people?

What happened to the idea of a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal?

Whatever happened? Are not Muslims created equal?

Are not those children locked in cages on the Mexican border are they not created equal?

To those people we say you do not stand alone. We stand with you. Your destiny is our destiny. Until you are free from injustice. No-one is free from injustice. In the words of that old trade union slogan: An injury to one is an injury to all.

Now, it is said that Trump is elected: and he is, but that should not stop us, as reasoned human beings.

From challenging ignorance, prejudice and bigotry.

Freedom in a democracy is not just the freedom to vote in elections.  It is surely the freedom to live without prejudice, and to live without bigotry and fear.

So this demonstration is about the politics of the 45th President of the United States of America. But it is about the moral values of the 45th President as well.

This is not about right versus left. It is about right versus wrong.

We demand morality over ego. Liberty over tyranny. Truth over lies. Civilisation above barbarism.

So what we are saying, with the eyes of the world upon us is that Donald Trump’s visit does not have the consent of the people.

We stand against Trump and against his values, but we stand for hope and for common humanity. We stand for freedom of speech. We stand for an ideal of world peace.

We stand for the waging of a war on world poverty and inequality. 36 million people will die this year of hunger and yet the richest 500 increased their wealth by one trillion dollars last year.

Why can’t we have a poverty deterrent, or an inequality deterrent, instead of a nuclear deterrent?

We stand up for and demand democracy, and for many of us that includes the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Our modest goal is a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity and racial harmony, by breaking down barriers not building them up.

85 years ago, Franklin D Roosevelt spoke of the “policy of the good neighbour”, he said:

“the neighbour who resolutely respects himself, and because he does so respects the right of others. The neighbour who respects his obligations, and respects the sanctity of his agreements in a world of neighbours”

Let this doctrine once more permeate the White House.

The 45th President would do well to learn from the 32nd President and reflect on the American constitution drafted by the first President.

In the meantime, he is not welcome here, and our voices of protest will not be silenced until we build a world of racial harmony, equality, tolerance and freedom for all.

And let’s be part of an international movement for peace and for real change.