Nails nailed into hammer – illustration

Conceptual illustration. A hammer nailed down

A hammer nailed down.
Did the nails nail down the hammer to stop the hammer hitting nails?

The image can be seen as a metaphor about overthrowing tyranny.
The hammer is a metaphor for a tyrant (perhaps), or at least an oppressive force or feared presence.
The hammer seems to have been attacked by nails, perhaps because hammers normally ‘attack’ (or at least hit) nails.
Are the nails there to stop the hammer hitting more nails and thus committing more violence?
Or was the hammer nailled down by another hammer?
The hammer is leaking blood in a rather surreal and gruesome way.

A cartoon about violence, revenge, surrealism, dada, tools, crime, motives.
Cartoon reference number: ham710a
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Bob Crow obituary cartoon

Bob Crow obituary cartoon

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
Ref: a646

Socialism and the Labour Party illustration – based on a Walter Crane illustration

The Labour left - based on a Walter Crane illustration

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.
Cartoon reference number: a554
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Beppe Grillo cartoon. The general election, Italy

Italy politics a joke - Beppe Grillo  cartoon

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?

Cartoon reference number: a548
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Lemmings cartoon – the possible consequence of following an authority figure

lemmings cliff follow leader cartoon

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
Cartoon reference number: a536
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League tables cartoon

league table cartoon

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
Cartoon reference number: a532
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Government health advice – cartoon

government health advice cartoon

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 reference number: a524
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The danger of western military intervention in north Africa and the Middle East

western intervention in desert cartoon madden

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 reference number: a515

Social control through the ages – cartoon

social control through the ages - cartoon

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
Cartoon reference number: a502
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Cartoon about Utopia

utopia by-laws - cartoon

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.
Cartoon reference number: a500

The trouble with Utopia – cartoon

utopia surveillance camera - cartoon

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).

Cartoon reference number: a499

Life as a game of chess – cartoon

chess piece as hats - cartoon

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.

Cartoon reference number: a426

Cartoon about press regulation – who reports on the reporters?

press regulation cartoon

Cartoon – who reports on the reporters?

This cartoon is about the subject of press manipulation of the news, press regulation, and who should police the press and broadcasting media.

A cartoon about press freedom, censorship, press reporting, press bias, the influence of the press on public opinion.
Also a Leveson Report cartoon Lord Leveson’s report on the future of the press in Britain is due out on 29th November, 2012

Cartoon reference number: a424

Green vote cartoon

green vote cartoon

An illustration or cartoon about the green vote

A cartoon about the vote for environmental political parties and parties that have an environmental agenda

The cartoon shows a leaf from a tree falling into a ballot box, representing the green vote.

An illustration about democracy, the green movement, the green party, elections, ballots, ballot boxes.

Cartoon reference number: a406

UK planning regulations to be relaxed to stimulate the economy – cartoon

planning regulations to be relaxed cartoon

UK planning regulations relaxed – cartoon

In an attempt to kick start the economy, the UK government plans to relax planning regulations, meaning that more building work can be carried out without planning permission

This sounds a bit like a goldrush for cowboy builders to me, with jerry-built extensions and conservatories springing up everywhere

A cartoon about the economic recession, austerity, Keynesianism, building regs.

Cartoon reference number: a382

Cartoon: the popular press and serious news

popular news hiding important news cartoon

Cartoon: press manipulation of news

A cartoon showing the popular tabloid press overshadowing and obscuring serious news stories and reporting.

The public cannot see the important news stories because they are hidden behind the trivia of the pop press.

This cartoon isn’t so much a criticism of the popular tabloid press as an observation of how things are. I usually find myself reading the ‘human interest’ stories in newspapers when I think that I really ought to be reading more weighty articles. It’s what we find interesting.

Cartoon reference number: a345

Is the threat from terrorism exaggerated – illustration

is the threat from terrorism exaggerated?  cartoon

Is the threat from terrorism exaggerated – cartoon

Illustration showing Uncle Sam looking at a relatively small terrorist threat through a pair of binoculars, magnifying the perceived threat

This cartoon first appeared in BBC Knowledge magazine.

Cartoon reference number: a336

Tiananmen Square protester cartoon – photographing conflicts

tiananmen square tanks protester cartoon

Tiananmen Square protester cartoon – taking a photo of the tanks

Cartoon about the phenomenon of civil unrest, conflicts and protests being photographed and filmed by civilians using their mobile phones and digital cameras

At the time of the Tiananmen Square protest the technology to record the protest digitally did not exist.
It is now not uncommon for riots, battles and massacres to be filmed or recorded and to be posted on web sites such as Youtube
This cartoon first appeared in BBC Knowledge magazine.

Cartoon reference number: a335
Ref a335
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Questioning authority – illustration

questioning authority cartoon

Questioning authority – cartoon.
A student questioning the authority of a lecturer

Cartoon showing a lecture on politics authority

A joke about authority, questioning, totalitarianism, anarchy, anarchism, authority figures

The joke is that the student is questioning the authority of a lecturer who is telling the audience to question authority.
This illustration first appeared in BBC Knowledge magazine.

Cartoon reference number: a332

Egypt election cartoon – ballot box balanced on pyramid – Egypt’s future in the balance

egypt election ballot box balance pyramid - cartoon

A political cartoon or editorial illustration about the 2012 election in Egypt.
Is the arab spring now turning sour?
Is the democratic ideal about to topple?

The election in Egypt is symbolised by an Egyptian pyramid with a ballot box balanced on the top. This symbolises the instability inherent in the aftermath of the recent revolution or ‘Arab Spring’. Will Egyptian politics stay in some sort of balance or will it topple over into an undesirable state?

The cartoon shows the current situation in Egypt the Egytptian election is a race between Hosni Mubarak’s ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi. The result is bound to be contentious and unstable.

Ref eg0612
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Spain economic crisis – Spanish bank needs propping up – Bankia cartoon

spain bank bankia propped up cartoon

Cartoon about the Euro crisis in Spain.
The bailout of the Spanish bank Bankia – cartoon

Cartoon about the financial crisis in Spain, showing the fact that the bank Bankia needs propping up.

The joke in the cartoon is that the building that houses the headquarters of the Bankia bank is of an unusual architectural design, appearing to lean over dramatically.
The cartoon shows a person taking a photograph of another person who is standing so that in the photo he looks as though he is propping up the tower that is the hq of Bankia. This is a direct reference to what tourists do when they are standing near to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

As well as being a straightforward joke about the leaning tower, the cartoon also has the more serious underlying point in that it asks whether the support given to Bankia will be effective, and whether the effectiveness in holding back the possible collapse of the euro currency will be illusory (shown by the illusion of the man holding up the bank in the photo).
A cartoon about the euro crisis, bank bailouts, struggling economy, banking debt.

Cartoon reference number: a287
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Will Greece drop the euro? The Discobolus (Discus Thrower) in a metaphor for the Greek financial crisis

greece euro crisis discobolus cartoon

Cartoon about the Euro crisis – Greece. Discobolus (Discus Thrower) dropping the euro

Cartoon about the financial crisis in the euro zone, especially in Greece.

Chris Madden cartoon showing the ancient Greek statue or sculpture the Discobolus, or Discus Thrower, by Myron as a metaphor for Greece and the Greek economy, with the discus replaced by a euro coin which the discus thrower has dropped. A pedantic note – the statue of the Discobolus in the cartoon has got the head pointing in the correct direction – most versions of the statue in existence (all are Roman copies of the lost original) are reconstructed from fragments and have the head looking forwards and down, which was found to be incorrect when a nearly complete version was uncovered.
The cartoon is about the possibility of the Greeks dropping the euro.
If Greece drops the euro they will return to the pre-euro Greek currency, the drachma

The dropped euro has cracked the plinth on which the Greek statue stands, and the euro coin is bouncing into a dustbin (which mirrors the shape of the plinth on which the Discobolus stands.
Chris Madden cartoon about the financial crisis in Greece, political cartoon about the eurozone falling apart.

Cartoon reference number: a286
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Cartoon: Occupy St Pauls eviction. Discarded V for Vendetta masks cartoon

occupy protest eviction discarded guy fawkes masks

Cartoon showing the result of the Occupy St Pauls eviction. Discarded V for Vendetta masks

Cartoon showing the aftermath of the eviction of anti-capitalism protesters from the Occupy camp outside St Pauls cathedral
The cartoon shows discarded V for Vendetta masks in a litter bin.

The Guy Fawkes mask was adopted by the anti-capitalist Occupy movement, and protesters at the Occupy camps outside St Paul’s cathedral and elsewhere were frequently seen wearing the masks.
Drawn: 2012
Cartoon reference number: a122
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Margaret Thatcher cartoon. Margaret Thatcher as the iron lady or mad axewoman

Margaret Thatcher iron lady mad axewoman cartoon

Margaret Thatcher cartoon caricature as the iron lady and 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, and on posters such as the one shown in the photograph here.
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
Cartoon reference number: a121

Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady – political lapel badge

Margaret Thatcher as Mad Axewoman - lapel badge

Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady – political lapel badge from the 1980s
Margaret Thatcher cartoon or caricature

This photograph is of a lapel badge of Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady/Mad Axewoman produced in the 1980s by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)

The badge was in support of an industrial strike by steel workers, hence the slogan Smelt the Iron Lady
The original Iron Lady cartoon can be seen here
Cartoon reference number: a493
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Margaret Thatcher as the Mad Axewoman or Iron Lady – political placard or poster

Margaret Thatcher as Mad Axewoman - poster

Poster showing Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady or the Mad Axewoman
Margaret Thatcher cartoon or caricature

This photograph of a placard of Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady/Mad Axewoman was taken at an anti-Thatcherism political demonstration in London

The banner was produced by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
The original Iron Lady cartoon can be seen here
Cartoon reference number: a492
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Caricature – Margaret Thatcher as Britannia

Margaret Thatcher as Britannia - caricature

Caricature – Margaret Thatcher as Britannia
Margaret Thatcher cartoon

A cartoon of Margaret Thatcher as Britannia.
The cartoon includes several references to political issues of the Thatcher era.

The cartoon was used on the cover of Waiving the Rules: The Constitution under Thatcherism edited by Cosmo Graham and Tony Prosser, published by the Open University Press

This is one of several Margaret Thatcher cartoons and caricatures that I drew during her premiership. To see others please type Thatcher into the search box at the top of the page.

Cartoon reference number: a488
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Che Guevara in V for Vendetta mask (Guy Fawkes mask)

che guervara in guy fawkes mask

Che Guevara with V for Vendetta mask
Che Guevara wearing Guy Fawkes mask
The image of Che Guevara is based on Alberto Korda’s iconic photograph of Argentine revolutionary.

A parody of the famous Che Guevara poster, wearing a V for Vendetta mask.
The Guy Fawkes mask was adopted by the anti-capitalist Occupy movement, and protesters at the Occupy camps outside St Paul’s cathedral and elsewhere were frequently seen wearing the masks..

The idea for the image is that Che Guevara and the Occupy movement were anti-capitalist, and both images – the famous photograph of Che Guevara and the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask – are iconic images. So bringing the two iconic images together seems like a logical step.
The fact that the Che Guevara image is frequently available on merchandising from posters to t-shirts produced within the capitalist system is not without irony.
Cartoon reference number: a120
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Margaret Thatcher caricature – Margaret Thatcher as the Queen of Hearts

Margaret Thatcher caricature - the Queen of Hearts

Caricature – Margaret Thatcher as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland
Based on the Alice illustrations of John Tenniel
Margaret Thatcher cartoon

This cartoon of Margaret Thatcher features many references to political issues that are associated with Mrs Thatcher and Thatcherism (such as the Falkland Islands, the police, armaments, nationalism, the attack on the welfare state)

A slightly different version of the cartoon was used as a book cover from Is There Anyone Here From Education? published by Pluto Press
Cartoon reference number: a490
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Cartoon. George Orwell’s Big Brother – thought police surveillance camera

cartoon big brother thought police

Orwellian Big Brother thought police cartoon

Big Brother thought police cartoon showing surveillance cameras. One surveillance camera is monitoring a person while the other surveillance camera is monitoring the person’s thoughts. That camera is labelled ‘thought police‘.

A cartoon about freedom of thought, George Orwell’s 1984 distopia, distopian societies, oppression, oppressive regimes, thought crimes, liberty.
Cartoon reference number: a083
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Cartoon. Scottish independence. The Battle of Bannockburn, 1314 and the Act of Union, 1707

scottish independence bannockburn cartoon

A cartoon about the campaign for Scottish independence and the proposed referendum.

Cartoon. The Scottish National Party (SNP) are campaigning for Scottish independence, with a referendum on independence is being called for (in Scotland though not in England).

Cartoon showing the possible use by Scottish nationalists of patriotism by invoking the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, which was a crucial battle in Scotland’s struggle for independence from England at the time. Scotland later rejoined England in 1707 following the Act of Union. The union of England and Scotland transformed Scotland’s fortunes, ended Scotland’s marginalization due to its geographical location.
Cartoon reference number: a063
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Cartoon. Independence for Scotland referendum campaign

scottish independence referendum cartoon

A cartoon about the campaign for Scottish independence.

Cartoon. The Scottish National Party (SNP) are campaigning for Scottish independence.
A referendum on independence is being called for.

The cartoon shows the possible reaction of some english people to the referendum, as it is thought by some english people that the Scottish parliament is ungrateful for England’s contribution to Scottish prosperity (with some Scottish nationalists more eager to mention the highland clearances (in which Scottish landowners participated) than the beneficial effects of the union of Scotland and England which ended Scotland’s marginalization due to its geographical location.
Cartoon reference number: a062
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Cartoon. A possible drawback of ‘Follow the Leader’

following-each-other-in-circles-cartoon

Cartoon showing two people following each other, and as a result going round in circles.

A cartoon that is possibly about lack of leadership and possibly about lack of direction.

A cartoon about leadership, followers, leaders, following like sheep, insularity, conservatism, orthodoxy, narrow mindedness.

Cartoon reference number: a050
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Cartoon – shooting the dove of peace

tank shooting dove of peace cartoon

Cartoon showing the dove of peace being shot at by a military tank.

Artwork showing the dove of peace being attacked by the miltary.

An anti-war illustration showing a peace dove.
A cartoon showing military antagonism to anti-war movements.

Cartoon reference number: a040
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