The Art Of Politics Priti Patel Special: 2000 AD (And More) Vs The British Home Secretary
by Richard Bruton
Now normally I do a monthly Art of Politics feature here at Comicon that rounds up all the best political cartoons I can find. And usually, these excellent cartoonists do a better job of getting to the truth behind the headlines than most news channels.
But sometimes there’s something so good it deserves its own special … Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Priti Patel Art of Politics Special…
Okay, let’s get right into this –
So this happened this week… with 2000 AD posting a series of these to their Twitter feed…
Glorious political satire with bite right there. Congratulations to 2000 AD for that.
If you don’t get it, read on, it’s well worth the slow reveal. And if you do get it, delight in the fact that they didn’t only just do it once, they did it again and again and again and again and again and again – and don’t worry, if you don’t fancy clicking all those links, the complete Twitter thread imagery from 2000 AD is at the bottom of this post.
Yep, that’s a wonderful bit of satirical skewering from 2000 AD. Initially, I was going to describe it as a fine, fine bit of trolling from 2000 AD, but no, this isn’t trolling, this is an unexpected moment of political satire aimed at a truly vile political subject. Trolling is bad, but this isn’t that, this is pure, venomous, and absolutely necessary political satire.
Okay, now some of you might not have seen this particular bit of nastiness coming out of Great Britain’s glorious leadership this week, where Priti Patel, one of the most powerful politicians in the country, showed us just what a contemptible piece of work she is. Hell, this is a politician who even manages to look smug even on official photos (see the Home Secretary Wikipedia page).
Priti Patel is, for a lot of us here in the UK, the worst sort of nasty Conservative politician, someone whose immigration policies, as she proudly proclaimed, would have meant that her own parents would have been turned away from the country (London Economic) – seriously, is it any wonder that cartoonists like Dave Brown depict her this way…
Well, after a series of really nasty moments and equally nasty policies, Patel came under fire recently after accusations of bullying at the Home Office surfaced.
There was an official inquiry that came back with the conclusion that yes, she absolutely did bully the staff, breaking several parts of Ministerial code in the process.
Of course, as is the way in these halcyon days of British politics, our wonderful Prime Minister decided to do absolutely nothing, stating that he disagreed with the report’s finding that she had broken the ministerial code, with the added screw you to the British public of a statement saying he had ‘full confidence‘ in the Home Secretary.
All of which led to the report’s author resigning in protest. Yep, Sir Alex Allan, old Bozza’s adviser on ministerial standards, handed in his notice after all this, presumably something to do with saying in his inquiry report that her behaviour in this highest post in government “would meet the definition of bullying” … although he did water it down a bit by saying that it could have been “unintentional”.
So yes, the report basically tells us that Patel was either deliberately bullying her staff in a way no-one should ever be allowed to do OR is such a horribly vile person that it’s just part of her personality to bully and she has no idea that she’s doing it. Honestly, toss a coin to work out which one’s worse.
Anyway, in normal times, breaking these ministerial codes is such a big deal that it’s something that would result in any respectable politician submitting their resignation.
But Priti Patel is no respectable politician, and issued what she called an ‘unreserved apology‘. Yes, one of those apologies… the old ‘I’m so sorry that you feel so upset my darling,‘ sort of non-apology that just tends to mean, ‘I’m so very sorry that you found me out, dammit.‘
Now, this isn’t okay when it’s your partner apologising for anything at all, from managing to load all your favourite white undies with something red in the washer all the way up to adultery. But it’s absolutely, completely, totally not okay when it’s the politician holding one of the four ‘Great Offices of State’ here in dear old Blighty – and those are Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary, and Home Secretary. Yep, one of the four most powerful people in the land.
Here Martin Rowson’s take on it all…
Instead, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, just issued this statement…
“I have clearly upset people in the past and on reflection – and I have had time to reflect upon this as well – looking at what has been published today on the report, there is no question I’m absolutely sorry for the upset that has been caused and I’m very, very clear about that”. – Priti Patel – Home Secretary, Great Britain.
(See this Indy article for the full background)
It wasn’t surprising that we saw great political cartoonists sharpening their pencils and getting to work. But it was surprising to see 2000 AD getting in on the act, tweeting out a series of perfectly on point pieces featuring the very worst of the Galaxy’s greatest re-working the weasel words of the Home Secretary. And they did it so well.
Comics can entertain us, can thrill us, can excite us and entertain us. But they can also, when they choose to, be a great force for pointing out, simply and effectively, all that’s wrong with the world. A picture does indeed paint a thousand words. And this week, 2000 AD used their pictures and a duplicitous and vicious Home Secretary’s words to sublime and pointed effect.
Now, those extra 2000 AD messages to a Home Secretary so far removed from being a good, decent, respectable, and basically human Home Secretary that there is…
And by the end of that mass satire blast, they weren’t even bothering to mess with the quote anymore…. yeah, we get the idea exactly…