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Jeremy Corbyn - He's not the Messiah, he's not even a very naughty boy, he's just a bit of a lefty

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Political cartoons ·
Tags: JeremyCorbyncartoon

Here is the news for the media and the Blairites – Jeremy Corbyn is the new Labour leader, elected with huge support from all sections of his party, except for the parliamentary Labour party. Which raises the immediate question: just who are the out of touch dinosaurs?

The torrent of media frothing and furious briefing against the new leader is actually just a continuation of what the right of the Labour party and the media did to ensure Ed Miliband would never become PM from day one of his tenure as leader. And what did they achieve? The election of the most left wing leader of the party for over 30 years, with a huge mandate for change. So if the Blairites want to blame anyone for ‘Corbynmania’ they need look no further than the nearest mirror.
Personally there are a number of Corbyn’s ideas I don’t support, but I know two things – he’s not a as far left as he is being painted and, more importantly, the people will now be given the opportunity to hear an alternative view to the right-wing-only rhetoric they have had piped directly into their brains for the past twenty years from both the major parties via the media. But here’s the thing the Blairites cannot grasp – winning isn’t everything and you can affect change from the Opposition benches as well as the Government ones. All that Labour positioning themselves just to the left of the Tories has done is deliver the most extreme government elected in Western Europe since World War II.

So how did we get here? We hear a lot of how Blair won three elections, but the Labour Party lost 3 million votes between the 1997 and 2001 elections, and then suffered a further 6% drop at the 2005 election and the Blairites have been at pains to understand the reasons why, which are of course are all too obvious to everyone else – people never wanted Tory-lite. Yes Blair won three elections, but that was off the back of grudging support, mistrust of the Tories and support for the incumbent. So when the economy finally hit the skids people couldn’t wait to either switch their vote to another party or to not vote at all.

Corbyn’s election has now created a buzz in politics not seen since Cleggmania, only this time the furore has split the nation between doomsayers and messiahbots. The former seem oblivious to the fact that all they are doing is making themselves sound like spoilt brats sulking at not getting their own way and the latter are in danger of resembling the followers of the Reverend Jimmy Jones.

My take is we should welcome this result for what it really is: an opportunity for us to not only see clear red-blue water between the parties, but also a refreshingly open and unselfconscious politics that cares less for what the media thinks than the electorate.

The inconvenient truth is that all it took for the media to win the last election for the Tories was a bacon sandwich and they wouldn’t have given whoever won the leadership election a fair hearing. Corbyn knows this and also knows better than anyone the media onslaught that lies head for him, with not only columnists and headline writers ferociously spinning their negative bile, but they will be ably assisted by the sulky Jeremiahs in his own party. His family have already suffered their vile attacks and this has quite rightly led to Corbyn, for now, unwilling to offer his head up for a hammering from the stuck record Labour bashers at the BBC and SKY.

My advice to the doomsayers: grow up, democracy isn’t just for when you get your own way and to the messiahbots: don’t drink the orange juice.#

Political cartoons, the future

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Political cartoons ·
Tags: politicalcartoons

I attended my first political cartoon Awards 'do' back in 2007, held by at The Guardian, which was then based on Farringdon Road. Ken Clarke was the speaker and his topic for the night was 'have political cartoons got a future on the internet?' His conclusion was that they did, but that as yet no one had made this a success. Having worked for the BBC Politics Show for the previous 6 months, producing a political cartoon that primarily was for the internet market I did of course take great exception to his comments and I did what any other self-respecting political cartoonist would do in my shoes - I clapped and smiled as everyone else did. But thankfully my partner, Jane, is made of sterner stuff and once Clarke had finished she let him know in no uncertain terms how wrong he was. They chatted for what seemed an age and she came back full of smiles telling me he was very interested in what she had told him and he gave her a tip for an upcoming job to pass on to me. And again I did what any self-respecting political cartoonist would do in my shoes - didn't act on it.

The point I am trying to make is that people may think political cartooning is a dying art in the age of the internet, but I have to disagree. Since 2007 my commissions have grown exponentially and it has not all been print editorial work - I now do a regularly political / industry cartoon for an entirely web-based organisation and have had numerous one-off commissions for purely online work.

My biggest fear for political cartooning is the growing threat of editorial interference and dictat, as editors seek to stifle creativity and enforce political dictat. One newspaper I regularly covered for was so bad they would demand four roughs a day, which they would then totally ignore and then dictate a cartoon they wanted doing, which was never anything short of propaganda. Thankfully we parted company some time ago and I have no wish to ever work for them ever again. At another newspaper (which again will remain nameless) one sub-editor was obsessed with political correctness and stamped on any ideas with even a sniff of controversy, which meant the cartoons I produced for them were often devoid of any real bite.

So the message from me is we can and will learn to adapt to the internet, but it is the enemy from within we have to worry about, if anything.

Political Cartoons and Illustrations
Lancashire, Fleetwood, UK
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