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06th Jul 2018

COMMENT: Farage fume over Trump baby blimp is nothing but hot air

Hot air buffoon


Hot air buffoon

Life can be tough for free speech advocates. One minute, you’re singing Hitler Youth songs, the next you’re soiling your nappy over a balloon.

So spare a thought, if you will, for the Walter Mitty of politics, Nigel Farage. The career politician, known for his outspoken views against career politicians, is aghast that people want to exercise their free speech by floating a giant Donald Trump effigy over London.

Campaigners raised £18,000 for the helium-filled six-metre likeness of Trump, described as reflecting Trump’s character as an “angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands.”

The group has been granted permission to fly the inflatable for two hours on the morning of President Trump’s UK visit, much to the chagrin of Farage, who made a point of blaming London Mayor Sadiq Khan personally for some reason.

Nigel Farage, the Nigel Farage of local radio phone-ins, told Twitter followers it was “the biggest insult to a sitting US President ever.”

Bigger than when Farage called Barack Obama a “loathsome creature”, presumably.

Bigger also than the time in 1814 when Britain burnt down the White House, not to mention four presidential assassinations. For Farage, flying a giant blimp likeness of Trump is the “biggest insult ever.”

Leo Murray, who crowdfunded the inflatable Trump, told the BBC that the American President “really seems to hate it when people make fun of him.”

“So when he visits the UK on Friday, we want to make sure he knows that all of Britain is looking down on him and laughing at him.”

Farage’s reaction perhaps reveals more about him than he realises.

It is not so much free speech that Farage is defending, but his own free speech. He should be free to call Obama a “loathsome creature”, or unveil his “breaking point” anti-immigrant poster, but don’t you dare fly a balloon over London. That’s a step too far for Nigel. He would prefer the skies of London become a safe space for the duration of Trump’s visit.

The former Ukip leader, so used to rallying against political correctness and “snowflakes”, has revealed that his skin is as thin as Trump’s. But more than that, he has shown himself once again to be out-of-step with what it means to British, with our long and proud history of political protest.