Monday, 6 June 2022

The party's (nearly) over - or is it?

I was thinking of this before Brady announced the no confidence vote, but, perhaps surprisingly, not because of the countless crimes and misdemeanours that have – at last – led up to it, but because of my relationship with Boris Johnson.  I should clarify that perhaps: I am of course delighted that I have never met the man, let alone had a real relationship with him; I was just talking about our (virtual?) relationship, with me as cartoonist and him as subject.  It’s a relationship that has been going on for as long as I’ve attempted to follow in the footsteps of the greats, like Gilray, Low, Bell, Rowson et al.  And my thoughts about that relationship were triggered by the thought that it could, very shortly be coming to an end. So, perhaps my first attempt at clay model cartooning could also be my last attempt at Johnson, or at least Steve Bell’s arse-face version.

Of course, the real me says ‘bring it on’: like many others, I’m running out of the words needed to describe the range of inadequacy, dishonesty and incompetence he has displayed in his time in Number 10.  But I also have to admit that the cartoonist in me has benefited hugely from his serial fuck-ups, and perhaps even more so, from the sheer arrogance of the man – partly inherited from his father, partly confirmed and developed by his education at Eton, where the only subject in the school syllabus is Entitlement.   

I may have forgotten some, but the cartoons I remember include a very early effort entitled Downton Cabbie, (with a slightly rearranged Latin motto on the cab: vidi, vici, veni); another of Johnson threatening to destroy parliament in the manner of Guy Fawkes during the proroguing scandal, and a third, in which a map of the UK shows Scotland covered with Johnson’s head while the Isle of Wight craps all over France, derived from a Gilray, produced during the Anglo-French wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. And of course, he has featured in four of my six Christmas cards.

So, will our cartoonist-subject relationship be at an end: will tonight’s vote terminate the Boris years?  And is it likely that a former Prime Minister might get up to anything worthy of a satirical cartoon?  Well, since it is Johnson we’re talking about, I think the answers to these two questions are: 1) probably not, and 2), quite likely.

On the first, there’s no doubt the succession of recent revelations, including over the Jubilee weekend the booing and the irony of the lesson given to Johnson to read – intensified no doubt through Tory MPs meetings with their constituents over the weekend – have increased the size of Brady’s post bag.  But there are plenty of reasons for Tory MPs to hold back from inserting the metaphoric knife – not least the absence of any potential successor remotely worthy of the post of Prime Minister.  So my prediction: he’ll survive this one (and if he doesn’t I’ll be back tomorrow to reverse the prediction).  And the second question – what will he get up to after his term finally comes to an end and will it be cartoon-worthy? Well, as the saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down; and while that isn’t relevant here, the same sentiment applies to bad pennies.  

with thanks to Auntie Margaret for the 'boos' gag


Tuesday, 28 December 2021

A bit late this year...


I’ve not felt like posting anything this year – not since last year’s half-arsed Christmas card.  There’s a combination of reasons.  First, as I’ve had occasion to say before, there comes a point when what’s going on is beyond satire.  The nonsense about parties/business meetings is a case in point.

But the second reason is more significant.  This government is so incredibly appalling that I’ve found it impossible to say anything even remotely amusing about anything they’ve done.   Incompetent, dishonest, corrupt, uncaring, heartless, self-centred…I probably could go on.  And what’s made it worse is the fact that until very recently, despite all the above, they’ve remained ahead in the polls, and the news programmes still manage to find people prepared to say ‘Boris is awful but we still love him.’

I could just about face a cartoon about his personal nest-feathering for this year’s card but that’s about all.  (Actually, after I’d done this one, I thought of a better: Bojo and Carrie in their drawing room admiring their gold wall-paper, with the caption: “Deck the walls with others’ lolly”). 

Ah well.  Do we dare to hope that next year might not be quite as fucking awful as the last couple?

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Merry Christmas?



I’ve not done a lot of cartoons this year.  Partly I couldn’t be bothered – the lockdown blues often meant I just couldn’t be arsed to do very much at all. But more importantly, I really couldn’t find anything even remotely amusing about which to produce a cartoon.  Not for the first time I (and many others) have concluded that satire’s dead.

I usually conclude these posts by hoping that the next year would be better than the previous one.  That’s never worked, so last year I decided not to risk any wishes, lamely finishing ‘…let’s just keep fingers crossed that it’s not as bad as it might be’.  Well that went well.

It really is impossible to imagine a government as serially incompetent, as structurally mendacious, and as cynically corrupt as this lot.  The latest small example which took my breath away was Priti Awful claiming that the government had constantly been ahead of the curve in acting proactively in tackling the pandemic.  Such strategic brilliance has us top of the European league for Covid related deaths (and 4th on deaths per head of population), and one of the worst performing economies.  Just about every decision has been too late, each delay leading to more cases and deaths, and increased impact on the economy.  And of course there’s the nightmare that is Brexit, where the lack of preparation has been staggering.

So, at the start of December I thought – let’s cheer myself up by preparing the Christmas card, but in keeping with the spirit of 2020, everything started to go wrong.  First idea: Dominic Cummings in an opticians reading the eye-test poster now containing either a reference to Barnard Castle or a Christmas message or both; then other versions of the same idea appear, after which Cummings gets sacked/pensioned off and the cartoon loses its topicality. Next: one of the Wise Men at the stable door telling the shepherd they can’t come in because of the rule of six: even better version appears in Private Eye, in which the Baby Jesus alone accounts for three people. Next: Wise men on a screen announcing they’ll just do the meeting by Zoom – same idea on a Private Eye Christmas card.  So, now an idea reflecting the confidence with which Our Great Leader and his team are approaching post-Brexit trade talks...

Which brings us of course to next year, and I’m making no wishes about it, of any kind.  Just try to have a Merry Christmas…


Thursday, 23 April 2020

It's Shakespeare's birthday!

I've not posted about the lock-down yet - well there's still plenty of time, if you're over 70. But I thought I would celebrate the Bard's birthday with some reflections on subtly hidden meanings within the text that they never told us about at school.  And of course a lot of the plays were written during the Elizabethan equivalent of Covid-19...

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

And the waters covered...

I've not posted a great deal about climate change; not because I don't care but it's not particularly funny.  OK neither is anything to do with BoJo but I've cartooned him just a few times.  Well last year I started work on a series of cartoons about climate change, and one of them was based on the old LNER poster advertising Skegness:

Of course this was deliberately exaggerated for the sake of emphasis; but then this week...:

This was in Shrewsbury yesterday.  Well you can still see some buildings (and the sun's not shining and The Donald isn't dancing around, but maybe we're heading in the direction of the carton.  Yet I've heard a number of locals round Shropshire, on the news and people I've spoken to, who still say this is just standard, the Severn always flood, climate change is just a fantasy of environmentalists.   I'm at a loss to know how we can get people to take this seriously...