I have to say, for the first few dozen pages of Tim Benson’s latest compendium of political cartoons, I thought there was something wrong with me. Unlike last year’s collection where I laughed at those things that I was politically sympathetic to and cringed at those awful jack booty clangs of misdirected pro-Government propaganda (as I saw them), this time around I was confounded by the fact that cartoonists of various political persuasions seemed to be in agreement on a great many things. Things like – Trump is bad. Things like – Boris Johnson is a corrupt imbecile. Things like – just what kind of opposition is Keir Starmer offering? Anyone? I found myself nodding and chuckling at cartoons in The Telegraph and The Times. My god, I thought, what is happening to me?
Thank goodness then, for The Sun, who have quite possibly the most attractive version of Boris they can muster and show him with his hands tied by those dastardly Sage sorts. Grr! Damn those pesky Sage sorts with all of their data and, you know, good advice for preventing needless deaths. A shudder of revulsion at the shit The Sun shovels and I was right as rain again. Ah there, I thought, a cartoon from The Daily Mail that makes me hate everyone who reads The Daily Mail. Marvellous!
But there was more. This little shudder of revulsion pointed something out to me in stark relief, particularly in regards to Boris. Yes, he’s viewed as an incompetent across the political spectrum, yes he and his corrupt compadres caused huge loss of life through their incompetence (and continue to do so as I write this sentence) – but whereas in The Observer and The Guardian he’s a venal cock, in The Times and The Telegraph, he’s ‘our’ venal cock. It’s tainted with a sense of “Lord love him, what’s our Boris got up to now? Ah you’ve gotta love him eh?” And the answer is no. You don’t. (In case you were wondering.)
As a compendium that will have you saying, “Oh my God, was that only this year?” quite literally over and over and over again, it can’t be beaten. I have to say, having made my way through a second collection, I’m very much looking forward to next year’s. I’d even go as far to say, if we had any kind of opposition to this shitty, shitty Government, they should gift members of the electorate copies of the four or five books leading up to the next General Election so that they can be reminded of all the things the Government expects people to forget.
Any Cop?: Rapidly becoming one of the literary highlights of my year.