johnminnion.com

Political caricatures

in the New Statesman

When I was a kid all the plugs and sockets at home had round pins. I’m not sure when this changed but there was a period when you had to check compatibility.
This is my drawing of Frank Chapple, maverick trade union boss of the Electricians’ Union, infamously a champion of nuclear power. This made him a villain in my mind at the time, so I was put out when the editor presented the original to him as a gift. But I was flattered as well, of course, and easily mollified when I discovered that actually I had total ownership of my originals and could charge New Statesman a fee. This was quite a new ruling back in 1979: before my time originals were kept by the magazine.

My first drawing of Mrs Thatcher in the fateful election campaign of 1979. I clearly had a lot to learn about caricaturing… but she was to give me many opportunities to get the hang of drawing her.

More Mrs Thatcher caricatures here in Where there is Discord

I think all political cartoonists find themselves atsome point lampooning Tenniel’s famous cartoon which originally featured Bismarck as the redundant pilot. Here it is Milton Friedman the guru of Monetarism who is jumping before he is pushed. The original was bought by future Tory minister Kenneth Baker, who I seem to remember charmed me down to quite a low price.
1980: Ayatollah Khomeine and, caught in his beard, Bani Sadr the first president of revolutionary Iran. Khomeine had him impeached and he fled to Paris. How innocent we all were of the implications of the Iranian revolution: the Shah had seemed to be the bad guy, so this bearded cleric was surely the good guy, wasn’t he?

Sir Geoffrey Howe (the man who, we now know, prescribed ‘managed decline’ for Liverpool). An early attempt at a self-contained cartoon. Well, as a piece of black and white art it looks good… but a cartoon would have to be funnier than that. To me this obviously ties in with an article: it is an illustration, not a cartoon.
Norman Tebbit whom Michael Foot likened to a ‘semi-housetrained polecat’. One of the new breed of ‘Essex’ Tories from a working-class background, who believed the unemployed need only get on their bikes to find work.
The Falklands War was Mrs Thatcher’s biggest stroke of luck. The tabloids rallied enthusiastically around her and the whole country seemed to bubble up into a froth of jingoistic patriotism that I for one had not realised was there. Here the horses are tabloid headlines, and Foreign Secretary Francis Pym and Defence Secretary John Knott ride behind the Leader. Labour bumbles along in the rear. The Imperial War Museum has the original of this drawing somewhere in its vaults.

More Mrs Thatcher cartoons here.

Gerry Adams. The Thatcher government put a gag on Sinn Fein and IRA spokesmen, depriving them of the ‘oxygen of publicity’. On radio and TV their words were spoken by actors – which often made their message sound that much more appealing.
The miseries of the Thatcher era were felt a lot less in London than in Northern cities, but we certainly noticed a new breed of homelessness. They were people driven to come south but unable to find accommodation without having a job, or a job without having accommodation