Bikini-clad balloon mocking London Mayor Sadiq Khan set to fly Saturday in political tit-for-tat
A 20ft balloon dubbed 'Trump Baby' was granted permission to rise over central London during the US commander-in-chief's visit last month
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, was ridiculed across social media for putting a dampener on US President Donald Trump's visit last month after he allowed a giant balloon of him dressed as a baby to fly over the parliament. However, what goes around comes around, and now the mayor is to face his own humiliation as protestors on the other side prepare to launch an inflatable of him dressed in a bright yellow bikini into the capital city's troubled skies.
Pro-Trump activists were able to raise over $75,000 online to pay for the blimp of the mayor after the 20ft balloon, dubbed "Trump Baby", was granted permission to rise over central London during the US commander-in-chief's visit last month, reported Daily Mail.
Giant Sadiq Khan bikini-clad balloon to fly over London https://t.co/8oCCK9BysB— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 30, 2018
And now, the massive balloon of a bikini-clad Khan, which stands even taller at 29ft, will be flown Saturday morning over parliament.
The mayor has been accused of focusing on scoring political brownie points instead of dealing with soaring crime rates under his governance, thus angering Yanny Bruere, the 28-year-old marketing manager behind the effigy.
Bruere said: "I was just so irritated that Mr. Khan took it upon himself to speak on behalf of the UK over the President's visit. Whatever anyone thinks of Mr. Trump, he is still the leader of the free world and should be accorded the respect of that position, especially at such a critical time for the UK as we face separation from the EU. It feels like the Mayor of London prioritizes personal enmity over the good of the country."
One of Khan's first decisions after taking office was to ban adverts promoting unhealthy body image on the London Underground, and the design of the inflatable showing the mayor dressed in a bikini pokes fun at just that.
Bruere said: "It's ridiculous that he talked about the importance of freedom of speech when he gave permission for London to insult the President of the United States while imposing censorship himself upon the lives of ordinary Londoners. He would never have given permission for that balloon if it ridiculed Barack Obama.
"It feels like freedom of speech only applies if you have views deemed acceptable by our governing bodies. That's what I wanted to put to the test, as well as providing a voice for those in despair at the crime statistics in the capital since Khan took charge. But he couldn't really turn this down when he'd made such a big deal of Trump," he added.
Previously, Khan had defended his decision to allow the balloon of Trump ahead of his state visit, saying: "I shouldn't be the arbiter, as a politician, of what's in good taste or bad taste, what's important is it to be peaceful, and for it to be safe. And, frankly speaking, the idea that we limit the rights to protest, we limit the rights to free speech because it may cause offense to a foreign leader is a very, very slippery slope."
He added: "The UK, like in fact the US, has a long and rich history of the rights and the freedoms to protest, the freedom of speech, the freedom to assemble. Can you imagine if we limited freedom of speech because somebody's feelings might be hurt?"
Having said that, a fundraising page for the bikini balloon read: "In light of the Donald Trump 'Baby Trump' ballon being allowed to fly over London during his visit to the U.K., let's get a 'baby Khan' one and see if FREE SPEECH applies to all and whether or not Mr. Khan and the London assembly will also approve this.
"Under Sadiq Khan, we have seen crime skyrocket to unprecedented levels. People in London don't feel safe and they aren't safe, 81 murders this year alone! Khan Out. Any surplus money raised will be used for a continuing campaign to remove Sadiq Khan from office and also for defending free speech which is constantly under attack. Of course, transparency of all money will be available," it added.