For those who saw the Trump Baby Blimp being flown over London to coincide with the president’s visit, it was a day that will be long remembered. One of the more memorable moments was when London Mayor Sadiq Khan smirked and suggested it was not his place to stop people’s right to free expression as he gleefully approved the flying of the balloon.
Well, he’s not smiling now.
In the centre of London this morning (Sept. 1), a new balloon is flying, and this time it is of a bikini-clad Mayor Khan. After all, he who lives by the sword…
An Unfortunate Position
The mayor, having given permission for the Trump balloon citing “free expression,” was backed into a corner and could not rightly refuse other Londoners their right to make a similar statement. One difference this time being who exactly paid for it.
The Trump extravaganza was primarily funded by anti-Trumpers with an ax to grind and the whole event raised over £50,000 (around $65,000) in a matter of a few months. The Khan balloon funding surpassed this figure by a clear £10K.
Luke Nash-Jones, the founder of Make Britain Great Again, was on the ground at the launch party. Speaking with Liberty Nation, he said:
“The fact that the left has to rely on the likes of [George] Soros for funding, while the Sadiq balloon was entirely crowdfunded reveals what an unpopular incompetent Khan of London is. Hardly surprising considering terrorism is on the rise, and this is the man who stood on stage with Jihadis.”
The Trump balloon portrayed the president as a “cry-baby,” to convince the world that he is thin-skinned. The Sadiq balloon, on the other hand, portrays the mayor in a yellow bikini to highlight the restrictive practices the mayor has brought to the city. Specifically, the outfit calls back to the mayor’s banning of advertisements in the London Underground public transport system showing women in beachwear, as they “promote body-shaming.”
“The cheeky yellow bikini has a serious message: He should be stopping knife crime, not telling women off for wearing bikinis – this isn’t a Caliphate,” said Nash-Jones.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the media reaction to the two balloon events was somewhat divergent. While the majority of the British press praised the anti-Trump demo as an exercise of free speech and expression that should be applauded for its British sense of humor, they appear to have changed their tune on the Sadiq protest.
Metro, a free London newspaper, suggested that “Flying the Sadiq Khan balloon is not an exercise of free speech – it is a party for bigots.”
The Evening Standard went one step further, labeling the entire event as racist since Khan is a Muslim of Pakistani background. Nash-Jones observed that, “We also see major left-wing media hypocrisy. While the London Evening Standard praised the rude, anti-American blimp during Trump’s visit, they have labeled the Khan bikini balloon a ‘Hate Crime.’”
Spin, Spin, Spin
As the dust settles in Parliament Square and the Sadiq balloon – and perhaps the mayor himself – is deflated, the media narrative begins to kick into overdrive. Hardly a single story from the left-leaning media does not begin with “a small crowd gathered.” And while the numbers may not have been huge, Liberty Nation was on the ground covering the Trump balloon event and can attest that the number of reporters in attendance vastly outnumbered activists or attendees from the general public – yet this did not stop disingenuous media outlets citing “massive” crowds.
What is truly important is not the media coverage, nor the narratives that will be spun, but the fact that – for now – the people of Britain are free to express themselves with humor, with defiance, and for whatever political position they happen to prefer.
A society, a system, or an individual in public life who cannot take criticism has no place being in power. It is through our defiance and our pride that we hold institutions built on sand and bluster to account; whether we approve or not of these displays, this is our strength.
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