In what is possibly the most petulant decision the London Government has made, Sadiq Khan has given the go-ahead for a giant ballon portraying Donald Trump as a baby wearing a nappy to fly over Westminster during the US President’s visit to the capital next week.
Some 10,000 people signed a petition and raised more than £17,300 to place pressure on the London mayor to allow the artistic protest to go ahead. Like clockwork, the London mayor dithered before, as usual, he pandered to the crowd.
The presence of the giant balloon during the three-day presidential visit will only serve to increase tensions between Khan and Trump, who have been engaged in a long-running feud.
Only a few weeks ago the Labour mayor said that the president will face angry protesters if he comes to the capital. The two have had several Twitter spats, with Khan criticising the American leader over his tweets following last year’s terror attacks in London.
Khan is finding himself under increased scrutiny now, as people believe the mayor is more of a show-pony than a plausible political animal. The mayor is only to happy to take selifes and make grand, broad-sweeping speeches about how we should change society. But when it comes to actually making a decision that will change society, his actions fall out-of-step with his rhetoric.
Whilst knife crime, moped muggings and housing prices soar to the heights of the Gherkin, the mayor is only interested in making a crude and public statement about the President the United States.
This form of adolescent and personal politics belongs in the halls of a university, not in the leadership of the world’s largest financial capital. After all, only recently Britain hosted the visit of the hardline and repressive leader of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. No giant balloons went up for him.
As the UK extracts itself from the European Union, we will need our allies across the pond, no matter who their political leader is, nor what party they come from. This is a bond that transcends party politics or individual personalities.
Like him, or loathe him, President Trump is coming to London. We cannot kick and scream and pretend he isn’t. We need to behave like the adult nation that we are and work with him as it is in our national interest.
Staying on good terms with Trump is crucial to the future economic prosperity of this country. American corporations have invested almost £450 billion in Britain and the US is our single largest export market.
The commercial bonds between America and the UK are strengthened by cultural and personal ties. We still have the capability to influence Trump. This visit is about more than Sadiq Khan: it is about the relationship between two great nations. The London mayor would be better off focusing on delivering for the capital’s voters.