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The US president visiting London on Friday is expected to face a huge crowd that will convey extremely rowdily their distaste of his inhuman, utterly selfish, and I’m-alright-Jack politics. It could be the largest unwelcome crowd Britain has seen.

And like very many Britons, I’m wondering what I can do that might add to the greatest impression on a fellow who personally seems to have everything – wealth, health, ever trinket imaginable – and yet offers the world nothing but disdain.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Free speech ... Philosopher Voltaire believed in our right to speak our minds. Voltaire at Frederick the Great's Sanssouci, by Pierre Charles Baquoy

Should adding to the vociferous Boo to the West End uproar be sufficient?

Should I turn up with a placard to make my disdain seem even more obvious?

Unspeakable acts of brutality

The Green Party, it seems, is summoning a combined voice in Fitzroy Square, London, a couple of blocks from the BT Tower.

An email from the Green Party’s Sheffield mayor, Magid Magid, doing the rounds states, ‘You know why we’re doing this. He trashes climate action. He normalises sexual assault.

'He commits the most unspeakable acts of brutality at his borders.

‘He is a dangerous man. And we have to resist him. As a Green,’ says Magid, ‘I’m proud to fight for gender equality and climate action. I’m proud to stand up for freedom of movement. I’m proud to say that refugees and migrants are welcome here.’

Standing up to hate

All very powerful, but an interesting and thoughtful note is pinned to the Green Party's Facebook page. It comes from one Cyril Zeldine. He writes,‘If we are standing up to hate (and we should) then hatred of Donald Trump is not helpful either.

‘Would it be more powerful to debate with him, speak truth, challenge, and address each of his arguments in turn?’ Mr Zeldine invites protestors – all of us – to note a very appropriate comment attributed to Voltaire. I may not agree with what you say, but I will give my life for your right to say it.

Not many volunteers are likely to be prepared to give up their lives - or anything - for such a selfish, self-centred bigot as this unfortunate representative of the US. However, there’s little doubting that Voltaire’s boldness is – as Cyril Zeldine points out - the basis of free speech, and arguably a free society.

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

Links:
Green Party
Did Voltaire say that?
Cyril Zeldine on the Green Party Facebook page
Wikipedia's biography of the extraordinary Monsieur Voltaire

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