Trump’s state visit conduct wasn’t ‘undiplomatic’ – it was a return to the straight-talking politics of the Thatcher-Reagan era

You may not like the way he tweets or the way our own politicians have adopted the same startling directness, but there is surely a virtue in national leaders saying things as they see them

Mary Dejevsky
Thursday 06 June 2019 19:53
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Trump’s UK visit: Following the protests for three days

This has been a week, for the UK at least, when we have come pretty close to visual overload, what with all the red, white and blue pageantry rolled out for Donald Trump and the commemorations, both here and in France, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. And it could be argued that both of these highly staged, largely formal, occasions showed off the UK, in different ways, at its best.

But the coincidence of these two events illustrated something else: the significance at such times of the spoken, written and now tweeted word. The D-Day anniversary was a stellar example of the different registers complementing each other: national leaders not only intoning the euphemistic lexicon of remembrance so familiar from Armistice Day commemorations – the courage, the fallen, the sacrifice – but reading out private letters from the time; which often depicted a more personal, but more earthy and tragic reality, as did the reminiscences of the veterans themselves.

Then there was the Queen looking unusually relaxed, noting almost in an aside that she too was of the wartime generation, and they were a resilient bunch.

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