Despite our nation’s initial rocky relationship with England, things changed during the 20th Century and the nation that we defeated to win our independence has become one of our closest allies. While there are profound differences between the two nations, particularly when it comes to our view of gun rights, England has always been a country we could count on to have our back. After all, we had theirs in two world wars.
Yet a Labour Minister of Parlament wants to throw all that into the woodchipper by demanding the British government halt exports of riot gear to the United States.
Labour’s Emily Thornberry has demanded the suspension by the UK government of riot control equipment exports to the United States amid violent police responses to American protesters.
Writing to her opposite number Liz Truss, the Shadow International Trade Secretary said that law enforcement in the US has used “excessive force in response to these protests” since the murder of George Floyd.
Noting that it is UK policy to “refuse licences for the export of arms and equipment that might be used for internal repression”, Thornberry concluded that exports to the US are now “an obvious matter of concern”.
Labour has called on the government to publish a list of all current export licences to the US of riot control projectiles and equipment and to suspend all existing licences until their use has been determined.
Thornberry said: “The British public deserve to know how arms exported by this country are being used across the world, and the American public deserve the right to protest peacefully without the threat of violent repression.”
They have that right, for crying out loud.
What they don’t have a right to do is destroy and loot private property in the riots that have gripped our nation. Is Thornberry actually arguing that police here in the United States shouldn’t push back when riots commence? Seriously?
Now, there’s the issue of practicality. Will this actually happen and, if it does, will it have much of an impact?
Honestly, I can’t say definitively either way. The Labour Party doesn’t actually hold that much power in England right now, so it’s not like Thornberry has the pull to make this happen, but the nation’s government works very differently from the United States and I haven’t really cared enough to get into how it works. After all, their crap usually doesn’t have much pull on this side of the Atlantic.
As for whether this would create an issue, though, I’m not sure it would. We have a lot of resources here in the U.S. that could likely pick up the slack. Further, the U.S. is a huge market. If the Brits don’t want to sell to us, someone else will, so even if we don’t have domestic producers, we’ll still likely be able to get what our officers need.
The problem is, there will be a lot of us who will remember this the next time England ends up in a tough spot.
It’s something we’ll have to wait and see on, but my gut says that Prime Minister Boris Johnson isn’t likely to play that particular game, which makes Labour no different than our own Democrats who scream and stomp their feet when they can’t get their way.
Regardless, Thornberry would do well to understand the reality on the ground before she pontificates from London about just what’s going on here in the U.S. After all, there have been peaceful protests and no one got hurt. There have also been riots and those are when the police are going to come in no matter what.