We all have the odd laugh-or-cry moment, and nations are no exception. Trump’s visit to the UK this month is just such a moment.
Theresa May practically fell over herself to invite the orange sex pest here, despite nearly two million people signing a petition asking her not to. And that was before he started snatching babies from their parents at the border and locking them in cages. Any ‘special relationship’ May tries to sign us up for with the Trump regime is obviously going to be an abusive one.
I’ve heard plenty of establishment opining that protocol demands Britain keeps things civil with Trump; ‘respect the office, if not the man’, the argument goes. But being rude to Trump is respecting the office of US president, which he brings deeper into disrepute with each passing day. In case nobody has noticed, normal diplomatic protocol has been suspended. Diplomacy under Trump now literally consists of him flicking sweets at Angela Merkel during G7 meetings.
So it’s on everyone who knows the difference between right and wrong to resist this grotesque excuse for a president when he comes here. He needs to be run out of town, figuratively at least. But how? This is a man who lacks the capacity for moral shame. Liberal outrage just makes him smirk harder.
To really get through to Trump, you have to get down on his level and talk to him in a language he understands: personal insults.
That’s why my friends and I have made a six-metre-high, orange, inflatable baby with tiny hands and a malevolent, constipated expression on his face, which we intend to fly over Parliament during the president’s visit on July 13th.
Ridiculing tyrants and despots is a proud British tradition, so we can think of this as the whistling ‘Hitler has only got one ball’ of our times. If this generation is going to have to fight fascism again, we may as well have a bit of a laugh while we are doing it.
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This point is key. The day Donald Trump won the US presidential election, I found myself gripped by a profound sense of dread. It was a feeling that I had not experienced since I first got to grips with the looming threat of catastrophic climate change, the issue I now work on every day.
But my rising panic over Trump’s election wasn’t about climate change exactly. It was about a crushing sense of my own powerlessness to prevent terrible, unconscionable things happening to vulnerable people on an enormous scale. For me, in the face of a humanitarian disaster like climate change or Donald Trump, it really is a case of having to laugh, or cry. So I choose laughter.
To begin with, officials in the London Mayor’s office were not super pumped about our application to fly an unflattering effigy of the US president over Parliament on 13th July, telling us that Trump Baby was “art” and inflatables did not qualify as legitimate protest.
But there was nothing in the rules about not flying inflatables, and all our paperwork was in order. We began to wonder if this might not be an important test of the health and vitality of our democracy.
So we started a petition to the Mayor to let Trump Baby fly – and the great British public did not disappoint. In under three weeks the petition has been signed by over 10,000 people, while our crowdfunder to cover the costs of the protest smashed its initial target in 48 hours, with money pouring in from every corner of Britain and beyond. Trump Baby seems to have captured the mood of the moment.
It is therefore an honour and a privilege to be able to today confirm – Trump Baby will fly!