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
New Year 2020 cartoon – prediction of a very bad year ahead.
When I drew this, in 2019, who’d have known 2020 would be such a bad year due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The cartoon shows the old year 2019 (Father Time) pushing the baby New Year 2020 in a baby buggy. Father Time is tripping over the base of a Happy New Year sign, sending the new year rushing forwards out of control towards a cliff edge.
Cartoon drawn: December 2019
Cartoon reference number: a770
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
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
Sugar and its historic links to slavery.
The cartoon shows someone boycotting the use of sugar because of its historical links to the slave trade.
It’s also a cartoon about people who posture and who take extreme positions on issues.
Drawn: September 2020
Cartoon reference number: a854
From the Enlightenment to the Endarkenment – cartoon.
When I drew this cartoon I was very pleased when the term “The Endarkenment” came into my head as an original thought. I looked it up later and found that it’s been thought of before, to describe the same phenomenon.
I use it as a term for the current trend towards anti-rational thought, which includes anti-scientific, anti-historical and anti-establishment thought (I like to think I’m a bit anti-establishment myself, but definitely not anti-scientific or anti-historical).
The statue that is being toppled in the Endarkenment frame of the cartoon is based on the current phenomenon of the iconoclastic toppling of statues of establishment figures who are possibly linked to the slave trade (Many of them are, but the action is largely motivated by emotion, with little regard for historical context).
Drawn: September 2020
Cartoon reference number: a851
Stately homes and their links to slavery cartoon.
Decolonisation of the National Trust.
At the present moment (2020) the subject of racism and slavery is very high on the cultural/political agenda of some sections of society, as evidenced by the rise of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Large sections of the establishment cultural landscape are being reanalysed in the light of race, slavery and colonialisation.
This cartoon is about the fact that recently the National Trust (the custodian of many stately homes in Britain) has started to redisplay the contents of some of its properties in the light of historical links to slavery, coupled with the news that the trust is thinking of concentrating its future efforts on its work that isn’t linked to historical buildings (The National Trust was partly created specifically to care for these buildings).
The cartoon shows a scenario in which stately homes are actually destroyed because of their links to slavery (links which may or may not be quite tenuous or may have been quite normal for the times), much in the way that parts of the contemporary anti-racist movement has toppled statues of establishment figures who had links to slavery.
Will future generations thank them, or will it be viewed as a form of vandalistic iconoclasm?
Drawn: September 2020
Cartoon reference number: a850
Culture wars cartoon – race and science in universities.
Culture wars are raging in universities and academic institutions across the western world. They are raging elsewhere too, but the culture wars in, say, the Islamic world, are different to the ones in the west.
The west’s culture wars often circle around subjects such as race and gender and identity politics that exist within the ‘woke’ analysis of culture.
At the time of drawing this cartoon the subject of race is very much to the fore, with movements such as BLM (Black Lives Matter) having a very high profile.
In academia many subjects in the social sciences are currently analysed through the perspective of critical race theory (CRT).
This cartoon illustrates a tendency to apply critical race theory to subjects where it has no relevance or where its relevance is overstated.
Drawn: September 2020
Cartoon reference number: a849
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
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
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
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 as fire or flames symbolises 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.
This cartoon ws published in Private Eye magazine, April 2017.
Cartoon drawn: March 2017
Cartoon reference: a762
Post truth cartoon or conspiracy theory 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.
Cartoon reference number: a756
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.
Cartoon reference number: a754
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?”
This cartoon was published in The Penguin Book of Brexit Cartoons, 2018.
Cartoon reference number: a746
Brexit cartoon – the winds of change blowing the Union Jack over someone’s face.
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).
Cartoon reference number: a742b
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 reference: a743
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.
Reference number: a712
“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.
Cartoon drawn: 2015