Notre-Dame fire restoration fund/Sackler boycott cartoon.
(Drawn on the night of the fire, before the actual donations controversy that followed.)
15 April 2019.
This is a cartoon that deliberately links two current news stories: the restoration of Notre-Dame cathedral following the devastating fire and the boycotting of funding from the Sackler family charitable trusts.
The cartoon was drawn on the evening of the fire, and predates the controversy about the donations from large businesses that developed in the following days.
The cartoon is primarily about the current controversy in some western societies concerning the assumed ethical standards of the donors who contribute funds to institutions such as art galleries and religious buildings.
The Sackler family are major benefactors to many institutions. Only a week ago I was in Westminster Abbey in London where I noticed their name on a recently restored stained glass window to which I assume they had contributed funding.
However, the Sackler family own Purdue Pharma, a company that produces the prescription painkiller OxyContin that is said to be addictive. Thus there are calls to boycott any charitable funding offered by the Sackler family.
Of course the Sackler family are far from being the only donors to charitable causes who may be involved in supposedly tainted money. It could possibly be argued that any organisation that had enough money to distribute in such lavish ways must have come about it by somewhat dubious means, depending on one’s standards.
Brexit and climate change cartoon
A cartoon about the way that the all-encompassing concentration on Brexit is preventing people from being concerned about climate change and global warming
This cartoon first appeared in Private Eye, January 2019.
Donald Trump caricature as a match with flames as hair.
The cartoon shows Donald Trump as a match. His hair appears as fire or flames
Post truth cartoon.
Truth and facts being ignored in favour of emotional or prejudiced viewpoints.
The concept of ignoring the facts when reaching a decision about something, and letting the heart rather than the head rule, seems to be a phenomenon that’s on the rise. It has recently been labelled ‘post truth’.
In the cartoon I’ve linked it to the phenomenon of conspiracy theories, which are frequently used as a way of justifying irrational or unproven ideas.
The rise of post truth tendencies is said to be linked to people’s increasing use of social media via phones and electronic media and the tendency for internet algorithms to send people only information that they already agree with – however the tendency has always been there in the way that people purchase newspapers that agree with their political and other views.
It may also be linked to the current mistrust of experts.
The blaming of the working class by the middle class for Brexit and the election of Trump
The cartoon shows a middle class man accusing a working class man of prejudiced bigotry, oblivious to the fact that he himself is being a prejudiced bigot.
“Do you remember where you were when trump was first elected?”
A cartoon showing two people in a devastated landscape, with a tattered stars and stripes flag.
One of the people is asking the other if he remembers the time when Donald Trump was first elected as president of the United States (implying that the degraded landscape in which they are sitting is a result of the Trump presidency).
A cartoon showing a man who is regretting voting for Britain to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.
The image is partly a comment on the extreme criticism of ‘leave’ voters by those who voted to stay in the EU.
Based on the WW1 recruitment poster “Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?”
Brexit cartoon – the winds of change.
The cartoon shows a British person with a British flag (union jack) blown into his face so that he can’t see where he’s going.
The image may show a person who can’t see the future ahead now that Britain has voted to leave the EU, with the flag representing Britain.
Alternatively, it may show a person who was blinded by patriotism before the referendum and thus voted to leave the EU on those grounds. This doesn’t imply that everyone who voted to leave the EU in the referendum are blinkered nationalists, just that blinkered nationalists probably voted for Brexit and thus managed to get many other Leave voters tarred with the same brush.
The following version, without the word Brexit in the caption, can be ordered instead, on request.
Is the EU in danger of splitting up now that Britain has voted to leave (Brexit) in its referendum?
The cartoon shows an EU flag being torn apart as one of the stars leaves the circle of member nations.
Will the EU fall apart?
Will other member nations vote to leave, especially if they elect nationalist right wing governments?
Cartoon – climate change refugees.
The cartoon shows the possible increase in mass migration that may be caused by global warming and climate change.
The cartoon compares the current (2015) crisis of mass migration to Europe caused by political instability in the middle east with the possible crisis of mass migration that may occur due to climate change.
A cartoon about mass migration, climate change refugees, impact of global warming.
A cartoon showing a man with an “End is Nigh” placard.
A passing woman is saying “There was a time when I’d have dismissed him as a crank”.
A cartoon about the current feeling of pessimism about the state of the world and about its future.
This could refer to climate change, global warming, or the election of Donald Trump as president of the USA!
Original version: 2010
“No platforming” – the movement to deny a debating voice to speakers who’s views may be offensive to some of the audience.
This cartoon is about the phenomenon of denying a platform in debates for speakers who’s views may be found offensive by some of the audience.
The phenomenon is particularly prevalent in universities.
“No platforming” can be seen as a form of censorship masquerading as a virtue. It is built on the premise that people have the right not to be offended.
This may be a worthy aim, but it’s very much open to abuse, as the ‘right not to be offended’ can easily become a means of stifling debate.
Apart from anything else, the airing of controversial views are crucial to the health of democracy.
A chessboard on which the chess pieces are not only black and white but are also shades of grey.
The idea of the cartoon is that conflict occurs when things are seen in black and white or when people are polarised in outlook. With shades of gray or nuances of opinion conflict is less likely – specifically as on the chessboard in the illustration.
The cartoon is a comment on the fact that people tend to analyse things in black and white, as “either/or” or in binary.
A political cartoon about the ongoing crisis in Egypt which was originally heralded by the arab spring
In this image the crisis in Egypt is symbolised by an Egyptian pyramid turned upside down (to symbolise the turning upside down of the political order)
This image was drawn at the time of the initial uprising in Tahrir Square, Cairo, which saw the overthrow of President Mubarak.
The inverted pyramid has been used as a metaphor for instability in Egypt in cartoons several times during the current crisis. The concept was conceived independently for this cartoon with no reference to other cartoons. I wouldn’t want to claim that it was the first use of the inverted pyramid though
Scottish referendum cartoon – has the independence campaign opened a Pandora’s box of problems?
The cartoon shows a ballot box with “Scottish referendum” written on one side and “Pandora’s box” on another.
The idea is that the independence campaign and the vote may have created divisions within Scotland and between Scotland and England.
The aftermath of the campaign may also generate problems within England as the political parties struggle to reconcile the wishes of the Scots with the wishes of the English.
There may also be resentment within England of the perceived privileges that were offered to Scotland in the closing days of the independence campaign.
On top of this, the regions of England that feel marginalised by Westminster and the south east may start agitating for more autonomy.
The whole thing is a veritable Pandora’s box.
If I’d had a vote I’d probably have voted ‘Yes’ to independence, if only to avoid all of the disruptions and uncertainties that will follow the ‘No’ victory.
Finally, I don’t think that the ‘No’ victory will settle the Scottish independence issue. Before long the independence movement may start agitating again. Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, has already accused the UK government of lying in order to secure a victory for the pro-union campaign. A divided Scotland may find that while it’s in a state of agitation it will have difficulty attracting investment and jobs, which will only make things worse.
Margaret Thatcher cartoon
Margaret Thatcher caricature as the mad axewoman
Margaret Thatcher was responsible for huge cuts in the welfare services, hence her depiction as an axe
See another caricature of Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady or Mad Axewoman here:
Margaret Thatcher – Iron Lady cartoon
An illustration or logo about the Scottish independence referendum
The people of Scotland will vote in the Scottish independence referendum on 18th September 2014
This illustration can be used to accompany articles about the Scottish independence debate
Alex Salmond caricature
Alex Salmond is the leader of the SNP, the Scottish Nationalist Party.
A referendum about independence of Scotland is taking place in September 2014.
Big Brother thought police cartoon
The Thought Police from George Orwell’s 1984 using cctv surveillance cameras
A cartoon about repressive societies, state control, police states, repression, dictatorship
The crisis in Egypt depicted as a pyramid on fire
An image showing one of the pyramids of Egypt in flames, as a symbol of the unrest and turmoil caused by the current conflict between the Egyptian army and the Muslim Brotherhood (in August 2013). The cartoon was drawn in June 2012 in anticipation of future conflict.
A burning pyramid as a metaphor for civil and religious unrest in Egypt.
A comment on the proposed high speed rail service, HS2.
Inquiry into HS2 show different financial implications and differing conclusions about financial viability
The cartoon shows a government minister responsible for rail transport and trains looking at an inquiry report and thinking “My reputation’s on the line”
The sell-off of Royal Mail – cartoon
A comment on the proposed sell-off or privatisation of the UK’s postal delivery service, the Royal Mail.
The cartoon shows person wanting to post a letter to complain about the decline in the postal service. However, the letter box (a traditional red pillar box) is being removed, thus making it difficult for him to send his complaint
Suffragette cartoon – votes for women
This image is about the common criticism that the suffragette movement was primarily concerned with campaigning for votes for middle class and upper class women, and weren’t interested in votes for working class women (At the time of the suffragettes working class men didn’t have the vote)
A cartoon about suffrage, suffragists, democracy
Nigel Farage caricature
Humorous photo of Nigel Farage
Following the success of UKIP in the local elections in the UK, the Guardian newspaper ran this front page, featuring a photo of Nigel Farage and some of the UKIP candidates who had won seats in the local election.
The fold in the paper distorted the photo of Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, inadvertently created a bizarre Nigel Farage caricature from a straight photograph.
The distortion makes it look like a photo of Nigel Farage with a strange expression on his face
Margaret Thatcher cartoon
Statue of Margaret Thatcher as Ozymandias
“Look upon my works and despair”
An obituary cartoon following the death of Margaret Thatcher
The phrase “Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair” comes from Ozymandias by Shelley
Margaret Thatcher cartoon
Margaret Thatcher’s funeral
Margaret Thatcher was a divisive figure when in power. This cartoon shows the public lining the streets to watch her funeral, with a protester from the SWP (Socialist Workers Party) waving an anti-Thatcher placard.
The SWP actually used the headline ‘Rejoice!’ on the front page of their paper, Socialist Worker, when reporting Thatcher’s death – this cartoon was created independently of that headline,
This cartoon isn’t so much about Thatcher as about the SWP and their liking for demonstrations.
The joke is that, ironically, the SWP quite liked Thatcher because she gave them a hate figure. I think they’ll miss her
“Rejoice!” was the expression Margaret Thatcher used when Britain defeated Argentina in the Falklands conflict.
Here’s a caricature I drew of Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady or Mad Axewoman (used very extensively by the SWP as it happens::
Margaret Thatcher – Iron Lady cartoon
Margaret Thatcher cartoon or caricature as the iron lady or mad axewoman
This cartoon of Margaret Thatcher was drawn during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership as a response to her policies.
Margaret Thatcher was known by the iron lady (because of her resolve) and the mad axewoman (because of the cuts that she made to the welfare state).
The cartoon was used widely in political campaigns and left wing publications. It featured in the 1981 Big Red Diary, published by Pluto Press, and was used by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in their newspaper, Socialist Worker. See the links below for these images.
A copy of the poster featured in the 2012 film The Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep. The poster even features in the official UK trailer for the film
See this cartoon on a Mad Axewoman protest placard
See this cartoon on an anti-Thatcher political lapel badge
Bob Crow obituary
A cartoon about RMT trades union leader Bob Crow, who has died of a suspected heart attack
One of the final campaigns that Bob Crow was involved in was concerned with the removal of ticket staff at London Underground stations and the resulting total reliance on ticket machines
Socialism and the Labour Party illustration – based on a Walter Crane illustration
An illustration or political cartoon originally drawn for the Guardian newspaper, based on a Walter Crane political illustration
The cartoon illustrated an article about the Labour left in the mid 1980s, and whether it was becoming viewed as populated by leftwing extremists. This illustration is completely drawn in dip pen and ink, with the parts based on the Walter Crane original being redrawn on tracing paper (rather than being mechanically or electronically reproduced).
The pen and ink version of this illustration featured in an exhibition of Walter Crane’s work at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.
Although the illustration was drawn in the 1980s it may equally well apply to some views of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn in the mid 2010s.
Italy general election cartoon. Beppe Grillo wins surprise victory
Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement wins seats in the general election.
Is Italian politics a joke, with Grillo and Berlusconi – both comedians of sorts – now a comic double act at the top of Italian politics?
Italian general election cartoon. Beppe Grillo wins surprise victory
Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement wins seats in the general election
Grillo is now possibly in the position of being a ‘king maker’.
Grillo and Berlusconi – both comedians of sorts -are now a comic double act at the top of Italian politics
Lemmings cartoon – the possible consequence of following an authority figure
A cartoon showing lemmings jumping off a cliff
One of the lemmings is warning against following a leader – “Never trust an authority figure – and definitely don’t follow one.”
This isn’t a cartoon warning about all authority figures, or all forms of following – after all, we need a bit of respect in our society. It’s a cartoon about blind allegiance and where it can take you, especially when the person who is being followed has his head turned by power
League tables cartoon
A government department creating a league table of league tables
A cartoon about society’s obsession with league tables.
League tables exist in education, with school league tables, hospitals and more
Government health advice cartoon
A cartoon about official health advice
A cartoon showing a man standing on weighing scales, with the scales breaking due to the great weight of the book of health guidelines that the man is holding.
A cartoon about excessive health guidelines, the nanny state, health and safety guidelines
Cartoon – the danger of western military intervention in north Africa and the Middle East
Cartoon showing a military tank from a western army sinking into the desert sand. A metaphor for the west getting bogged down in regions where they intervene in internal disputes.
Areas of dispute include Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, the Sahel, Mali etc.
Cartoon – social control through the ages
In medieval times social control was imposed by the church and religion.
In the twenty first century social control is imposed by technology
A cartoon showing society in the middle ages being controlled by the church (symbolised by a cross), contrasted with society today being controlled by technology (symbolised by a cctv surveillance camera)
A cartoon about coercion, repression, repressive societies
Welcome to Utopia – cartoon
You are now entering Utopia – please abide by these by-laws
A cartoon illustrating the idea that utopian societies can only exist if they are repressive or prescriptive to some degree (probably a necessary degree to be honest).
The list of by-laws that have to be enforced in Utopia show that it’s maybe impossible for people to act unselfishly without a degree of coercion. A cartoon about politics, philosophy,
The down side of Utopia
Utopia monitored by surveillance camera
A cartoon illustrating the idea that utopian societies can only exist if they are repressive to some degree (probably a necessary degree to be honest, judging by the nature of human nature).
Life as a game of chess – cartoon
Showing a chess board on which people are standing, with chess pieces on their heads like hats
A slightly surreal cartoon about chess. The concept is that life is a game of chess, and we are all players
It’s also about life strategies, competitiveness, power struggles, inter-human dynamics, interpersonal politics, sociology, game theory.