The UK government has stated that people must not congregate in groups larger than six – the ‘rule of six’.
In an attempt to stop the cover-19 virus spreading more due to lax adherence to social distancing rules the UK government has introduced a new rule to prevent large groups of people meeting up.
The cartoon depicts the characters from the famous Hollywood Western film the Magnificent Seven adhering to the new rule.
Drawn: 10th September 2020
Cartoon reference number: a844
The cartoon shows a lecture about the desirability of ethnic diversity. Almost the whole audience is white.
The inspiration for this cartoon came from the phrase that performers at some events use when describing the audience as ‘a sea of white faces’.
Of course the audience at some events may be predominantly white because that reflects the ethnic mix of the locality or because of the differing interests of different ethnic and cultural groups, however sometimes it is a result of issues around discrimination concerning opportunities and access, as is implied in this cartoon.
A cartoon about race, racism, bame issues, discrimination, unconscious discrimination, cultural discrimination, racial bias.
Drawn: 8th Sept 2020
Cartoon reference number: a843
To what extent should art galleries reflect contemporary concerns?
A cartoon about changing the exhibits in art galleries and museums to reflect contemporary society and to avoid offence.
It’s quite common in art galleries that exhibit contemporary art for the art to reflect contemporary concerns (or at least the contemporary concerns that concern the art world).
This cartoon shows a historical artwork being judged by contemporary mores (or rather, the mores of a particular sector of society that embraces ‘woke’ values).
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a841
The danger of the expression “You can be whoever you want to be”.
The cartoon shows Donald Trump in his school days listening to the expression. Maybe getting a few ideas.
In the USA the aspirational expression that anyone can become president of the United States has proved to be true, unfortunately.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a840
Hate speech cartoon or hate crime cartoon.
A comment on the fact that the UK laws around hate crime and hate speech only apply to actions or comments directed at people because they are members of a number of five specific groups. Expressions of hatred on account of a person’s colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability are forbidden. Amongst other things the categories don’t include class, which I find intriguing, meaning that calling a working class person riff-raff is okay!
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a838
Should museums return objects to former colonies?
This cartoon, set on a fictional planet, is about the earthly debate about the return of cultural artefacts in museums to the nations from which they came. Sometimes such objects have been plundered, sometimes obtained due to the leverage of dominance, and sometimes obtained fairly.
The point that the cartoon is trying to make is that such transactions are rarely as simple as they are portrayed, with one dominant nation or empire invading another land and plundering its cultural wealth. The parameters of this scenario are set too narrowly.
In many cases the less dominant nation was previously a colonising or imperial force itself, which may have been how it came to be rich enough to produce cultural artifacts of value.
On my fictional planet for example, the nation that produced the gold artefact had plundered the gold from which it made the object from a country that it had subjugated.
It can be argued that sophisticated cultures cannot evolve without the dynamic of conquest.
Drawn: 31st August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a834
A cartoon about the changing meaning of ‘white supremacy’
In recent months I’ve noticed what I think is a shift in the meaning of the term ‘white supremacy’.
To me the term has always meant the conscious policy of domination by white people over other people, often using violent means, and the implicit superiority of white people over other people.
A white supremacist under this definition would typically be depicted as a fascist or a member of the KKK, as in the cartoon.
Recently the term white supremacy seems to often be used by groups such as BLM (Black Lives Matter), to refer to contemporary US society (and western society in general). This society is white dominated, true, but that doesn’t make it supremacist in the fascist/KKK sense.
A danger of using the term to describe current society is that it labels all white people as conscious co-conspirators in the oppression of ethnic minority people, thus potentially making all white people ‘enemies’. I believe that quite a few of them would rather be described as allies.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a842a
A cartoon about the changing definition of ‘white supremacy’
In recent months I’ve noticed what I think is a migration in the meaning of the term ‘white supremacy’.
To me the term has always implied the conscious policy of domination by white people over other people and the implicit superiority of white people over other people.
Under this definition a white supremacist would typically be depicted as a fascist or a member of the KKK, as in the cartoon.
Recently I’ve noticed several commentators on race issues stating that the western world is a ‘white supremacist society’. This society is indeed white dominated, but that doesn’t make it supremacist in the KK/fascist sense.
I think that a danger of using the term to describe contemporary society is that it can be interpreted as labelling all white people as conscious co-conspirators in the oppression of ethnic minority people, thus potentially making all white people ‘enemies’. I believe that quite a few would rather be described as allies.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a842b
Conspiracy theory cartoon.
The cartoon shows a person holding a placard stating “Truth lies in following the evidence”.
Another person holds the same placard with the lower part ripped off, so that the part that he holds reads “Truth lies”.
\A cartoon about conspiracy theories truth, facts, fake news.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a831
The blame game – cartoon.
A cartoon showing a protester with a banner proclaiming “I blame you”.
The cartoon is about people who need to place the blame for things on other people rather than on circumstances. This includes blaming people for their attitudes rather than analysing the circumstances that make people hold those attitudes.
A cartoon about protestors, political demonstrations, guilt.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a830b
Last Night of the Proms – cartoon.
A cartoon about singing of Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia at the last night of the Proms
The last night of the Proms has been controversial in some people’s opinion for many years, due to the singing of the songs Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia. The words of these songs are described as jingoistic and vainglorious with their references to the greatness of the British empire.
This year (2020) the songs are going to be performed without the words. It’s said that this is because of the covid 19 pandemic, but I suspect that it’s at least partly due to the current climate of sensitivity to issues around race and empire.
The joke in the cartoon is that the BBC has turned off the subtitle facility for the broadcast, so that even the words don’t even appear as subtitles, and therefore people at home can’t sing along with the tune karaoke-style.
For the record, I’m not a big fan of the words, but I’d like to see them just fade away as an irrelevancy than actively ban them.
Drawn: 31st August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a833
The US postal service and the postal vote – cartoon.
A cartoon about the position of the USPS and the postal votes in the US presidential election.
Drawn: 19th August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a829
A voter in an election choosing to vote for dictatorship, thus voting out democracy.
This cartoon shows a voter who feels that democracy isn’t working. Perhaps he feels threatened by democracy because he thinks that most people vote the ‘wrong’ way. As a result he is voting for the anti-democratic option of dictatorship.
People sometimes think that a a ‘benign dictatorship’ or authoritarian regime may be preferable to unpredictable and unruly democracy (as long as the resulting regime is one with which they think they’ve got broad sympathy!).
Drawn: Aug 2020
Cartoon reference number: a828b
A voter in an election voting for dictatorship rather than democracy.
This cartoon shows a voter who is dissatisfied with his society and is blaming the problem on democracy. Perhaps he feels threatened by democracy because he thinks that most people vote the ‘wrong’ way. As a result he is voting for the anti-democratic option of dictatorship.
It’s not unusual for people to complain about election results, and even to say that they might prefer a ‘benign dictatorship’ to democracy.
Of course the problem with voting for dictatorship is that once you’ve got it you can’t get rid of it because you can’t vote out a dictatorship because (meaningful) elections are suspended.
Drawn: Aug 2020
Cartoon reference number: a828
Being accused of historical crimes against contemporary social values.
This cartoon is about the tendency within parts of contemporary culture, especially woke culture, to criticise people for attitudes that they held in the past that are now thought of (within those parts of contemporary culture) to be reprehensible.
These attitudes may be ones that are generally agreed to be outdated or they may be ones that are
A cartoon about wokeness, political correctness, moral purity, Orwellian attitudes, political purity, social values, contemporary mores, intolerance, tolerance, thought crime.
Drawn:1st Aug 2020
Cartoon reference number: a827
Conspiracy theory cartoon – sign of the times.
A road sign with multiple roads leading to conspiracy theories.
One road leads to truth, but the road is closed.
The cartoon is about the current proliferation of (and acceptance of) conspiracy theories, as we now seem to live in a post-truth fake news world.
The climate of conspiracy theories is a sign of the times, hence the sign and the title of the cartoon, Sign of the Times.
Cartoon drawn: 30th July 2020
Cartoon reference number: a826
The perception of tolerance and intolerance in western society – cartoon.
Western democracy is currently being judged by some sections of society as highly intolerant.
It’s my opinion that this is partly because western democracies are in fact very tolerant. This allows the intolerances, injustices and prejudices that do exist within western democracies to be analysed openly, and sometimes very loudly. At the time of writing the Black Lives Matter campaign is dominant in people’s consciousness, while subjects such as sexism, gay rights, gender issues, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other subjects have been at the top of the agenda. These are all subjects that would not be given the time of day in countries that are less tolerant: the issues would possibly be seen as either not existing or they would be suppressed.
The cartoon is linked to the paradox of tolerance, which is the paradox that a truly tolerance society has to tolerate attitudes that (it interprets as) intolerant.
Drawn: 23rd July 2020
Cartoon reference number: a825
Changing names linked to slavery.
Bristol was a city that made a significant profit from the slave trade.
This cartoon was drawn several years before the statue of Edward Colston was toppled in the city centre and the city’s concert hall, Colston Hall, had it’s name changed.
Drawn: Sept 2017
Cartoon reference number: a820
A cartoon about cancel culture and historical thought crimes.
This cartoon is about the current (2020) phenomenon of cancel culture. This is the concept by which a person is ostracized or shunned if they are judged to hold unapproved views or have attitudes that run counter to those of the arbiters of what are acceptable views. It is a subsection of woke culture.
Cancel culture is responsible for such phenomena as no platforming, where people with proscribed views are denied the ability to put their views forward for debate, particularly in universities.
It is often applied to people based on attitudes that they held in the past. By this criterium practically everyone on the planet should be cancelled, which is one of the points of this cartoon. The saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” comes to mind.
Cancel culture is often applied to historical figures from several centuries ago, particularly (at the moment) to those involved in some way in the transatlantic slave trade, and is manifested in the current campaigns to remove statues.
Cancel culture can be viewed as having a stifling effect on culture and debate, with its, to me, zealously censorious woke attitudes and its Orwellian implications.
Drawn: 7th July 2020
Cartoon reference: a815
Cartoon showing Boris Johnson losing control of the country and the government
Prime Minister Boris Johnson sitting in a go-cart hurtling over the edge of a cliff.
Johnson is holding a steering wheel as though he is steering the cart, but the steering wheel isn’t attached.
He is sounding very optimistic and up-beat all the same. Delusional optimism.
The cartoon plays on Boris Johnson’s jokey, boyish, playful personna.
Original (Brexit) version drawn: March 2017
This version drawn: 2nd July 2020
Cartoon reference: a812
A cartoon about the concept that the use of any term that is not politically correct or woke-approved to define race or gender is offensive.
This cartoon is about the tendency within woke culture for the use of unapproved terms to describe people, especially in the spheres of race and gender politics, to be viewed as offensive and open to condemnation, even if used innocently.
The terms that are approved and disapproved sometimes change quite regularly, so it can be hard to keep up.
Notice that I’m not giving any examples of approved or disapproved terms here, in case I inadvertently get it wrong. Also, as the cartoon states, to merely mention a disapproved term as an example is viewed as offensive itself.
At the time of drawing this cartoon the tendency to police language for political purity seems to be on the rise, however it’s been there for as long as I remember. In fact I drew my first cartoon about it in the 1980s.
A cartoon about woke language, political correctness, linguistic purity, Orwellian language, political purity.
Drawn:16th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a807
Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown rules cartoon regarding funerals and political demonstrations.
A cartoon pointing out the problem that thousands of people were allowed to gather for political protests over the weekend with only mild criticism over the fact that it broke the coronavirus lockdown rules (justifiably or not, depending on your viewpoint), while the rules state that, for instance, only ten people can gather for a funeral.
I’m sure that in the near future funeral-goers will ignore the lockdown rules and will attend in larger numbers on the grounds that their reason for attending is justifiable.
Drawn: June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a803
Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown breaking cartoon.
Last week Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s adviser, was in hot water because he chose to defy the lockdown rules relating to covid-19.
This week thousands of demonstrators chose to defy the lockdown too.
Does that take the pressure off Cummings, as the demonstrators are potentially much more likely to spread the coronavirus, yet they haven’t come in for the same criticism (justifiably or not, depending on your point of view).
Drawn: June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a802
Covid-19 coronavirus, social distancing and political demonstrations.
A cartoon about the tension between the need for social distancing and the right to attend political demonstrations – as highlighted by the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations linked to the death of George Floyd.
The dilemma is not linked to the cause advocated by the demonstrations, and would apply no matter what the cause.
Drawn: June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a801
A cartoon about erasing the past because of its flaws, then erasing the present because of its flaws.
This cartoon is about the current trend (2020) for some groups to want to erase evidence of the parts of the past that they find offensive. This is manifested in the pulling down of statues of people who had links to the slave trade.
The point of the cartoon is that I think that such attitudes and approaches are misguided, as they require a (selective) moral purity that is impossible in a complex world full of complex people. The wish to erase the moral imperfections of the past would lead to the wish to erase the moral imperfections of the present, and in an imperfect world full of imperfect people the consequences of that could be a form of repression not dissimilar to some of the religious and political repressions of the past. Bear in mind that people are still capable of creating repressive societies in the misguided belief that they are doing a good thing – people don’t change, just their situation.
The imagery in the cartoon is based on the Bonfire of the Vanities – the burning of objects that the church considered sinful, such as books, art and mirrors which happened in Florence, Italy in 1497. It also relates to book burning by the nazis in Germany and the destruction of degenerate or subversive objects in other states ranging from communist regimes to the Taliban.
Drawn: 3rd July 2020
Cartoon reference: a813
The politics of race and the toppling of statues.
This cartoon illustrates the way that the current (2020) wave of protests and campaigns to remove statues on the grounds that the people depicted had links with the slave trade oversimplifies history, reducing it to a single issue, racism.
The cartoon makes use of two meanings of ‘black and white’ – one being the polarisation or over-simplification of things into binary issues and the other being the categorisation of people as racially being black or white.
The removal of statues is part of the campaign by Black Lives Matter and other groups such as the Rhodes Must Fall campaign.
Drawn: 11th July 2020
Cartoon reference number: a819
Reparation cartoon – claiming compensation for historical injustices.
The concept of reparations for historical injustices is currently in the news due to campaigns for it to be applied to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The cartoon illustrates the fact that historical injustices have been a constant feature of history (and indeed of the present day) and have been meted out to a large proportion of the world’s population. In fact they were probably the norm until quite recently, before modern concepts of justice were systematised (Concepts that still don’t apply in a lot of the world). Slavery has also been a constant feature of human history, and has probably afflicted almost every human population.
The cartoon uses the idea of exploitative law firms and legal services that try to encourage the public make claims for compensation for events such as accidents and who employ a No Win, No Fee strategy in order to draw in clients.
Drawn: 18th July 2020
Cartoon reference number: a822
Silence is violence cartoon.
A cartoon about the Silence is Violence slogan that is used by the Black Lives Matter movement.
This isn’t a cartoon about BLM or racism, but about the implications of this particular slogan.
In fact the slogan could be used by almost any campaign that interpreted the target of the campaign as exhibiting violence in some way.
One of the problems with the slogan is that it implies that anyone who disagrees with the slogan itself disagrees with the cause of the campaign.
Drawn: 23rd July 2020
Cartoon reference number: a824
Silence is violence cartoon.
This is a cartoon about divisive protest slogans.
The slogan Silence is Violence is used in Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
This isn’t a cartoon about BLM as such, but about this particular slogan. The slogan may well pre-date BLM, as it’s a very catchy slogan.
It’s my feeling that the slogan is divisive and intimidating, in the manner of sayings such as If you’re not with us you’re against us.
The slogan turns everyone who is not a vocal supporter of whichever movement the saying is applied to into an enemy. This is very intimidating and threatening. It’s also not a good way to attract allies or to foster sympathy or support for your cause – in fact I think it drives people away, which is very counterproductive.
I’ve placed a very old person in the cartoon as the silent person, to show that it’s ridiculous to expect everyone to be an activist.
The saying Silence is Violence can theoretically be applied to all issues, so theoretically everyone has to speak out on all of those issues. Users of the slogan are therefore in danger of being hoist on their own petard.
Drawn: 20th July 2020
Cartoon reference number: a823
A cartoon about the irony that Edward Colston’s money was used to benefit worthwhile institutions in Bristol (and London).
This cartoon is about the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston by protesters in Bristol because he was involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
It is about the complex and messy nature of financial and social endeavour, and the complex and messy nature of people.
It is about the broader issue of how money is generated to finance society in general, especially its more worthy aspects.
This is not a cartoon defending the statue of Colston (as I’m generally against the concept of statues of prominent people anyway, although I wouldn’t get rid of them either).
Drawn:8th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a804
A cartoon about the possible danger of refusing to take a knee
Taking a knee is a gesture of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Some people, while sympathetic to the cause of tackling racism, feel that they wouldn’t want to take a knee themselves, either because they don’t agree with all of the aims of BLM or because they feel uncomfortable with there being any obligation to enact the gesture, especially because they feel that the gesture contains some elements of supplication (or that if it doesn’t actually contain those elements now, it may well evolve so that it does in the future). Supplication implies adherence to the cause or a pledge of allegiance rather than simple recognition of it or solidarity with it.
The British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, today (18th June 2020) expressed opinions along these lines, stating that he thought the act contained elements of submission. He has been criticised quite widely for this attitude.
The cartoon shows someone being hit in the face by a custard pie, a metaphor for being ridiculed or humiliated.
Drawn: 18th June 2020
Cartoon reference: a809
A cartoon about toppling statues.
This cartoon is about the judging of historical figures by modern standards of ethics and morality.
The cartoon was drawn during a campaign of statue toppling in 2020 that started with the toppling of a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol. Colston made money in the slave trade. His statue was erected to celebrate his later philanthropic donations.
The cartoon attempts to illustrate the problem of judging historical figures by the moral and ethical standards of today by showing the absurd (and hopefully comic) situation of a statue being toppled because the person represented by the statue was not a vegan. Veganism is generally speaking a very modern lifestyle choice that would be unknown to historical figures.
It is also about the phenomenon of people sometimes committing disproportionately excessive acts if they hold their views with a high degree of righteous zeal.
It is also about mission creep – the current campaigns about statue toppling began with racism but may extend to other areas.
Drawn:11th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a806
The outcome of multiple life conditions on opportunity and outcome – intersectionality cartoon
This illustration was drawn for Marxism Today magazine in the mid 1980s.
It features a machine into which babies enter at the top and adults leave at the bottom.
The machine represents the workings of society, with tubes and pipes representing functions such as education, class, race, gender etc.
The adults leaving the machine have all been filtered through the various parts of the machine to produce different types of people. The types of people are produced to suit the conditions and needs of society.
The illustration could be interpreted as being about what is now called intersectionality (although it was drawn in about 1984 or 1985, before the term intersectionality was coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw).
Drawn: mid 1980s
Cartoon reference number: a845
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.
Cartoon reference number: a769
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.
Cartoon reference number: a768
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 to symbolise his aggressive personality and his effect on US politics.
Part of his political strategy is in fanning the flames of discontent.
Caricature drawn: 2018
Cartoon reference number: a765
A cartoon that pokes fun at the way that the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) and its leader Nicola Sturgeon like to blame their woes on the English.