This is not an attack on Mr Trump. I remain firm in my view that it is not for me, a subject of the Queen (or British citizen as some of my more progressive friends insist I should call myself), to tell the President how he should be running his country. That is a matter for him and for the people of the United States of America.
Nevertheless, some of what the American government does could, potentially, affect me and I hope the people of that great country will understand if, as I am about to do, I question the wisdom of some of their policies.
It seems that a great many Americans are very frightened of foreigners. This is nothing new. There have been hair-raising stories for many years of innocent tourists being clapped in irons by the immigration authorities on arrival in the USA, even though they have valid visas and have shown no sign of anti-social behaviour. I am full of admiration for those of my fellow subjects (citizens) who take the risk of travelling to America. I wish I were as brave as they are, especially as I am told that, if one is allowed into the country, one is bound to adore it.
But I am a coward. What is more, today’s news from the Land of the Free makes me even more cowardly. Mr Trump has apparently decided that visitors to his country will be required to disclose the passwords to their social media accounts on arrival. Unlike many of you, I am not (you will say I am foolish) inclined to be upset about thuggish immigration officials knowing my password for Facebook. But the trouble is that I do not know it myself. My computer is trained to get me into Facebook automatically. If I had to type in the password I would be completely stymied. I could make several attempts, but I bet I wouldn’t succeed.
I can picture myself at the immigration desk at a New York airport looking more and more guilty as I offer endless possible passwords, none of which works. Will I just be put in irons for a few hours and then bundled back on a ‘plane to Britain, or will I be sentenced to life without parole or, heaven forbid, to thirty years on death row to be followed by a botched attempt to kill me with an injection?
No, the requirement to know one’s Facebook password is a step too far. America must continue to be deprived of my presence.
But I have another fear. This sort of gimmick is just the kind to appeal to Mrs May. As you all know, I am very keen on Brexit, but I am also aware that some of those who voted as I did in the referendum share the American fear of all foreigners. I pray that Mrs May doesn’t wake up tomorrow and think what a wonderful idea it would be to make entry to the UK conditional upon knowing passwords to social media.