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Anorak | Free speech powers the baby Trump blimp flying over London

Free speech powers the baby Trump blimp flying over London

by | 8th, July 2018

trump london baby

Owen Jones is such a wag really, isn’t he? Apparently flying a hot air balloon that looks like a caricature of Trump over London during his upcoming visit is going to say something. Even that it will upset, possibly shock, Americans.

Well, no, not really:

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.

You see, the Americans have that First Amendment to their Constitution. And they believe in it, they really believe:

A giant balloon dubbed “Trump baby” has been given the green light to fly near parliament during the president’s UK visit.

London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Greater London Authority has approved a request for the flight after thousands signed a petition and a crowdfunding campaign raised more than £16,000 to get the six-metre inflatable off the ground.

Strict rules are in place for the flight from Parliament Square Gardens, with the balloon being tethered to the ground and restricted from floating higher than 30m (98ft).

That First Amendment giving an absolute right to free speech. They’ve even got a system of determining what is free speech that is unlimited and what can be limited for reasons of security – causing a riot isn’t something anyone wants for example – called the Supreme Court:

Campaigners raised almost £18,000 to pay for the inflatable, which they said reflects Mr Trump’s character as an “angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands”

Super.

Trump baby blimp is ‘biggest ever insult to a sitting president’, Nigel Farage claims

I used to work for Nigel but will disagree with him here. He and I have said far worse about Obama to each other for example.

And Americans really, really, believe in that free speech stuff. It was noted that burning the American flag is likely to cause a riot – and it is, it’s their equivalent of trying to grope the Queen or something. You’ll not survive trying it unharmed. But the Supreme Court considered it – there was a law banning flag burning sa a result of the likely outrage of doing it – and decided that burning the flag is political speech. Which it is of course. And as such people were free to do it. And to accept the consequences of doing so as well.

And again, Americans really, really, believe in free speech. Sure, what you can say is limited by the libel laws. Politicians aren’t protected by the general libel laws. They’ve got to prove malicious libel – not just that what you said is untrue, that it’s untrue and damaging, but also that you said it to deliberately harm them. A tough set of tests to pass.

By American standards a balloon of Trump in a nappy is small beer indeed. Actually, the likely response is for them to say :

“Gee, These Brits, they too have this free speech thing. They’re almost as free as us I guess. Almost.”



Posted: 8th, July 2018 | In: News, Politicians Comment | TrackBack | Permalink