The Trump Balloon And London’s History Of Standing Up To Fascists

Donald Trump is about to visit London in a visit so carefully choreographed that the dancers at Cirque de Soleil would be proud. The deeply unpopular president is reviled by a far greater percentage of the population in the UK than he is in America, and he will learn just what the great city of London thinks about vile little fascists who seek to scapegoat minorities and pal around with dictators.

The British government has bent over backwards to ensure Trump spends as little time in London as possible, knowing that the giant protests planned and enormous baby Trump balloon set to fly over the capital will anger the thin skinned president. Trump will meet with the Queen, have a business dinner and then scuttle away from London to Chequers where the British Prime Minister’s country residence is located to conduct talks with Theresa May — and during this time, London will rise up in protest against a man who stands for everything the city is not. Even the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has expressed his disdain for Trump and had at one point asked the government to rescind its invitation to the US president over his scapegoating of Muslims. Khan was also responsible for allowing the giant baby Trump inflatable to fly over the capital, a move that Trump will no doubt be seething over.

London’s history of standing up to fascists

London’s history of standing up to bigotry is a defining part of its history, as fascists like Oswald Mosley found out in 1936 when protestors (including my own grandfather) took to the streets to beat back racist thugs marching through their neighborhoods, intolerance will not be tolerated in what is generally regarded as the capital of the world.

Londoners refused to be bowed during the Blitz in the 1940’s as Hitler’s Luftwaffe rained terror from the skies, defying the Nazi forces that had rampaged through Europe with acts of brazen resilience. Refusing to leave London despite the enormous danger, Winston Churchill, would insist on walking through the great city after bombing raids meeting with people to reassure them that Britain would not yield.

In February of 2003 before George W. Bush launched his catastrophic war in Iraq, London saw what was likely the biggest protest in the history of the United Kingdom. Roughly a million people took to the streets to defy Bush and his war mongering cabinet.

(Image via REUTERS/Toby Melville)

Racism, war and intolerance are not acceptable in London, and the city mobilizes incredibly quickly to respond to those who advocate for it.

Civility? What civility?

There has been some debate as to whether the crowd funded baby blimp is acceptable form of protest, particularly from other mini fascists like UKIP leader Nigel Farage who called the balloon the “biggest insult to a sitting US President ever.”

Insisting Londoners cannot insult a man who labels women “pigs”, “dogs”, and “slobs” is the height of hypocrisy, a point the hard right seems incapable of understanding, apparently on both sides of the Atlantic. Either way, the point of the protest isn’t to insult Trump for the sake of it — it is to show the world that Londoners do not accept Trump as a global leader and will never allow his fascism to take hold in their city.

Trump ensured that there could never be civility in politics as long as he was in office, and now he is reaping what he has sown. The resistance is not confined to America, it is everywhere he goes. His disgusting misogyny, racism and xenophobia will not be tolerated, and he will be insulted in the same manner in which he insults others. The Trump blimp is a signal from the world that there is no negotiating with the sitting US president — he will not be taken seriously, ever, and will be shown no respect, ever.

London is not safe for Donald Trump just as it is not safe for fascism. He will leave the city knowing he will never be able to walk its streets, that he is hated by its people and will always be an object of their ridicule.

Welcome to London, Donald. And don’t come back.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.

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