Gary Barker Tribune political cartoons by UK cartoonist and illustrator
Gary has drawn political cartoons for the London based magazine since 2011.
Some of the issues covered in the cartoons are NHS reforms, of which there are a number of examples. In the first Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seen ripping the heart out of the NHS, with the tag – the operation was a great success, the patient died. In the second Hunt is this time as an Alien style ‘chestburster’, exploding out of the NHS patient. The Prime Minister shares the stage with Hunt in the next example informing the partner of a critically ill patient that if he cannot afford his appendectomy then he will not receive the operation – echoing US style private healthcare, where it has gone on record that dying patients are wheeled out of hospitals and dumped on skid row to die because their private medical insurance did not cover the cost of the operation that would save them. The next Tribune cartoon has a naked PM riding the NHS wrecking ball and being pushed by Nick Clegg as Ed Miliband avoids the issue and skulks off in the background, showing that no major party appears to want to save the NHS. The final example has a hospital porter in a post-privatisation healthcare system wheeling a dead patient into the hospital kitchens as a contribution for the next lunch for the surviving patients. Leveson is dues to report any time soon and all the protagonists huddle round the newspaper reporting that findings post phone-hacking scandal. The suggested loss of impartiality at the BBC is in the next image, where BBC presenter Andrew Neil and Spectator Group chairman, BBC political editor and former chair of Oxford Conservatives, along with former chair of BBC Trust and Thatcher minister, Chris Patten sup champagne with Jeremy Hunt, in a scene borrowed from the Gangster film Once Upon a Time in America. In the next image is, Nigel Farage as a Grinch style character reads the BBC news whose logo is now purple and gold – reflecting the accusations that the BBC gives too much air time to the UKIP leader. Education Secretary features in a number of editorials, the first as the Education Dictator, the next as a World War I revisionist and the final one as local dictator from the League of Gentlemen.
Every publication has different approaches to content and political cartoons, as well as differing political interests. Some publications give the artist almost free reign whereas others are highly prescriptive. Most artists would like as little direct interference and prescription as possible, but some of the best teams work together to create the best illustration possible to fit the story of the day. This relationship between artist and editorial staff can be very rewarding and results in some great collaborative efforts. The magazine has an excellent attitude to this issue using a number of different artists for each issue. And Gary enjoys a great deal of freedom to concentrate on the issues of his choice for his Tribune pieces, as do all their other artists.