Every story has a baddie, and in nativity plays there’s no argument about the villain. He is Herod, the Romans’ puppet king who ordered the slaying of every male child in Bethlehem under the age of two when told by the Magi that a baby born there would be King of the Jews. Which happened to be Herod’s title.
The funniest nativity play I’ve ever seen was at a primary school in Leeds, where the lines were delivered in broad Yorkshire dialect. Thus one of the Magi told Herod: “By ’eck, ’erod ya greit wazzock, wot’s all this about tha’ gettin’ reight mardy about’t bairn?”
It’s said that Herod’s notorious Massacre of the Innocents was followed by murdering his wife and sons. He sounds a pretty repulsive guy, so it’s doubtful that in recent weeks Donald Trump will have felt flattered by cartoons portraying him as the new Herod, although you never know with the US president.
He has a genius for the abhorrent, whether it is retweeting anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far right ultra-nationalist Britain First, refusing to condemn violent white supremacists rampaging through Charlottesville, Virginia, or recklessly declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital.
There is a clamour to stop him coming to the UK in 2018 but I say bring it on. Let him see how much he is reviled. And I’d like to suggest the following itinerary through the north of England that he might find interesting.
Firstly, take him on a tour of Hadrian’s Wall. The most wall-obsessed president in history should see that walls just don’t work. This one ran from the Solway to the Tyne, was manned by 1,500 Roman legionaries at more than a dozen forts, yet they still couldn’t keep out the Picts. It’s not a monument to Emperor Hadrian’s greatness, but a reminder of his folly.
Then take Trump to The Beatles museum in Liverpool and give him an opportunity to say that Lennon was one of the greatest Russians in history. Follow it with dinner at a restaurant in Manchester that’s famous for Russian dishes like black caviar and borsch, since Trump can’t get enough of anything Russian. After all, Russia helped him get where he is today.
Take him to Harrogate and a call at the famous Betty’s tea room where, with a bit of notice, I’m sure they could find him a cup of covfefe. That’s the mysterious word that featured in a late-night tweet from the President and had cryptographers the world over scratching their heads. Most of them eventually decided it’s a hot drink, so if anyone can source it Betty’s can.
Finally, I’d round off his trip north with a visit to York, where as a New Yorker Trump will no doubt say he feels at home. However, there’s a chance he may declare this ancient walled city the UK’s capital and announce plans to move the US Embassy from London to that quaint old building with lots of stained glass windows and soaring towers.
Of course, he’ll do all this whilst running the gauntlet of massive demonstrations. Police will be everywhere, for sure, but even so it might be a good idea to hide away every child under the age of two, just in case.