London to greet Trump with angry baby balloon

Balloon with a view: The six-metre tall blimp will be suspended near Parliament Square. © Jason Hawkes

Is this a perfect British protest or an immature insult? A bawling effigy of Donald Trump will float above the capital on Friday. Some say it is the activists who are having a tantrum.

After touching down in the UK, President Donald Trump will spend Thursday night at Winfield House, the expansive Regent’s Park home of the US ambassador. The 12-acre plot may shield him from the 50,000 protesters expected to take to the streets of the capital during his three-day visit, but his critics have found a way to assert their presence nonetheless.

On Friday, above the Houses of Parliament, a six-metre tall orange balloon depicting Trump as a screaming baby will float in the blue sky. London Mayor Sadiq Khan approved the protest last week after organisers crowdfunded more than £20,000.

The president will not hang around to see the unflattering blimp. Trump is spending only one night in London amid claims he is reluctant to face demonstrators. His busy itinerary for the weekend includes dinner at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, talks with Theresa May at Chequers and tea with the Queen in Windsor, followed by a stay in Scotland.

Journalist Barbara Ellen described the balloon as a quintessentially British work of mischief. In The Sunday Times, Rod Liddle accused the organisers of psychological projection, calling it a “a mass toddler tantrum by people who cannot bear to hear views that diverge from their own half-baked opinions.”

Is this a perfect British protest or an immature insult?

Trumped up

It’s brilliant, say some. Britain has a proud tradition of holding politicians to account through humour, and Trump has shown time and time again that insults are the only way he can communicate. It sets a dangerous precedent if the authorities block a peaceful protest.

It’s inappropriate, argue others. Trump is a democratically elected leader, therefore the balloon is an insult to the US. We should confront those we disagree with in mature debate, not through idiotic stunts.

You Decide

  1. Is the balloon protest a good idea?

Activities

  1. Research one of Trump’s major policies. Write a paragraph on why you do or do not agree with it.

Some People Say...

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty.”

Henry David Thoreau

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Donald Trump will arrive in the UK with his wife Melania on Thursday afternoon for his first official visit to the UK. Two previous visits were postponed or cancelled.
What do we not know?
How Trump will respond to the baby balloon or whether he will address it at all. Figures in the Republican Party have suggested Trump may make jokes at the expense of the activists.

Word Watch

Sadiq Khan
The US president and the mayor of London have had several spats. Trump previously lashed out at Khan for telling Londoners not to be alarmed after the London Bridge terror attack, while Khan has called Trump a “buffoon”.
Chequers
The prime minister’s country house.
Quintessentially
A perfect or typical example of something.
Psychological projection,
When people project their bad qualities onto someone else rather than admitting these failing to themselves.

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