Allowing a crying Trump baby blimp to fly in the sky is, according to Nigel Farage, “the biggest insult to a sitting US president ever”. Now, sidestepping whether JFK being shot in the head with an infantry rifle qualifies as insulting, this is the guy who once described Barack Obama as a “loathsome creature”, which wasn’t exactly a polite hello, was it?
Part of the shtick of the ascendant hard right is to portray the left as humourless, easily triggered snowflakes who hate freedom of expression. And yet when activists crowdsource £17,300 to purchase a blimp of an orange-faced Trump with tiny hands, the right are reduced to embarrassing public temper tantrums. Indeed, one Conservative MEP has even proposed scrapping the post of London mayor in response.
Basically, Farage wants London’s authorities to intervene to ban an anti-establishment protest, which tells you all you need to know about the right’s protestations that they’re sticking it to the man against an authoritarian nanny state. Their pretences were always ludicrous: these are the outriders of an egomaniac plutocrat who slashes taxes on corporate and rich America while dragging screaming children from their parents and locking them up in cages.
That blimp will be the perfect mascot for the mass demonstrations that will form Donald Trump’s welcoming party next week. Trump is hoping to use Britain as a perverse PR exercise, to show that he has indeed made America “great again”, that the country is now respected. Instead images will be broadcast across the globe of thousands of the citizens of America’s closest ally ridiculing the most powerful man on Earth, accompanied by a giant balloon of the president in a nappy.
Next Friday’s “Together Against Trump” protests will have a profoundly serious message, of course. Trump, Farage, Marine Le Pen, the Austrian far-right, the Hungarian regime – it’s been one big carnival for rightwing extremists these past few years. The protests next week will be a statement of intent: that attempts by elite politicians to scapegoat refugees, immigrants and Muslims for the injustices caused by the powerful will be resisted. That the aspirations of the enfeebled coalition of chaos that governs the country to subordinate Britain to the United States will be fought, particularly if there is any attempt to join another calamitous military intervention like Iraq.
There is this idea floated that Trump will relish the attention, baby blimp and all; that ignoring him altogether would be the best response. This would not only be interpreted as complicity, as a silent endorsement of the president, but doesn’t explain why a man not renowned for the thickness of his skin has repeatedly postponed his visit because of his fear of protests. A historic day beckons, one that will get under the skin of not just Trump, but the entire bigoted movement he represents, and which will help galvanise the fightback against it. And as a bonus, as Trump – a man who ridicules and demonises anyone who dares to challenge him – is feted by the British establishment, he will know that somewhere up above him, in the sky, is a giant blimp of the president as a howling baby.
• Owen Jones is a Guardian columnist