The Art Of Politics: Presidents And Pandemics

by Richard Bruton

Welcome, welcome everyone to the ‘Art of Politics’, Comicon’s round-up of all the comings and goings in the wild and wacky world of politics. Actually, this past year, it’s seemed as though every single month is just a catalogue of the latest disaster and subsequent disastrous political response to said disaster.

Seriously, what would you just give for a quiet month, a nothing really terrible happened sort of month, a short on news sort of month.

But honestly? I don’t reckon that’s gonna happen anytime soon… which is why it’s so damn satisfying seeing the world’s best political cartoonists skewer whichever idiot is in charge…

So… November… there was this…

Chris Riddell with the news that, I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone reading this, was very welcome to me.

Yes, the US election happened, where two very old white blokes, one with an orange glow and narcissistic personality disorder, the other who’s just wonderfully, amazingly, refreshingly, thankfully just a simple, dull return to the normality of old men in power. I know it’s hardly perfect, but it’s a huge improvement after all.

Well, we covered a fair bit of the election in our ‘Art of Politics’ special right here, but there’s been plenty going on since the night of the election itself…

For a start, in a move which surprised absolutely no-one, the toddler in chief had himself a bit of a tantrum and refused to acknowledge sleepy Joe as the President-Elect, choosing instead to claim electoral fraud was running rampant across the country. Proof? Hell no…

Martin Rowson

Of course, there are plenty of Trump-acolytes and sycophants in and around the White House, all enabling the Orange strop-monster and letting him get away with all this… including Bill Barr, whose decision to open investigations into voter fraud were obviously not just ridiculous and unfounded, but absolutely went against his office…

Steve Bell on that…

Plenty of rubbish went on, lawsuits filed and thrown out, unfounded charges of mass voter fraud, and a big old slush fund to pay for all those lawsuits funded by schmucks all over America. Except they weren’t exactly paying for the lawsuits or the challenges to the election result, instead the terms of the donations meant they were managing to add to a pot that the orange soon to be former President gets to use to pay off various campaign debts… yep, once a snake-oil salesman (and a bad one at that), always a snake-oil salesman.

Oh, and there was, of course, Thanksgiving… Steve Bell

And in other, more plague-like news, there was the prospect of a vaccine, multiple vaccines, being developed… Brian Adcock

Here in the UK, we had the announcement right at the start of the month that we were heading back into lockdown for a month – yes, exactly the sort of lockdown that our fuzzy-haired idiot in charge, good ol’ Bozza, had said there was no way would be happening back when those pesky scientist types suggested the two-week circuit breaker lockdown back at the start of October.

Martin Rowson

Ben Jennings on the same –

And of course, with the result of the US election, old Bozza may well be regretting a few of his previous words, such as describing President Obama’s decision to remove a Churchill bust from the Oval Office as “a symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.” (From the Hill.) Not to mention the whole thorny issue of the Irish question and the complete mess Brexit has made of that.

Yep, Bozza may well find the US-UK special relationship feels troubled…

Ben Jennings on that…

Whilst the ramifications of Boris being Boris (by which I mean bumbling, ridiculous, immensely calculating, racist, and out of touch) remained to be seen, mid-month saw Bozza being hit for six by the resignation and departure of two high level aides…

Firstly, Steve Bell on the departure of Downing Street’s Director of Communications, Lee Cain… a man whose pinnacle of journalistic achievement came when he dressed up as a chicken to taunt politicians back in the ridiculously normal days of 2010’s general election.

And then came the real shocker, as Dominic Cummings ended up exiting No. 10 with his coat and his desk packed up in a little box, looking every bit the movie cliche as he stood waiting for his cab. Yes, the power behind the throne was gone, this Boris-whisperer, a man who we’d all wondered just what the hell sort of dirt does he have on the government and Bozza if he gets away with the stuff he does… poof, he was gone.

So, director of comms and chief advisor to the Prime Minister out on their ears in the same month and, allegedly, it all had something to do with Bozza’s fiancee, accusations of the pair briefing against her, tense exchanges happened or didn’t, depending on which version of events you read. But, whatever the truth, to lose one key aide in a month is careless, to lose two could lead to people thinking that you’re an incompetent buffoon whose rise to power is the very definition of the Peter principle (that old adage of people rising to their level of incompetence).

Martin Rowson on the various departures…

Chris Riddell

And Ben Jennings on the same…

Whilst all this was going on, the saga of the Home Secretary being either guilty of knowingly bullying her way through her department or being so dangerously unaware of her nature that she did it without knowing she was doing it was unfolding. Oh yes, Priti Patel, third most powerful politician in the country, was found to be guilty of breaking ministerial code by the official inquiry.

Martin Rowson on this…

Boris’ reaction? He basically said it was all fine and of course he has complete confidence in the Home Secretary. Just like this from Morten Morland

We covered this in a one-off ‘Art of Politics’ post earlier this month, featuring the excellent response of 2000 AD’s Twitter… using the worst villains in the comic’s history to mirror her non-apology…

Okay, that little diversion over and done with, it was back to the Government messing things up with the Covid response, the Brexit response, the anything they put their mind to really – sort of the inverse Midas yet responsible, sadly, for an entire country.

They put in place a complete lockdown through to Wednesday 2nd December to sort things out. And then decided that everything would be just fine after that, especially over Christmas, where the Covid virus had agreed to have five days off, just so the restrictions on people could be lifted a little.

Brian Adcock

But before Christmas, it was decided that the country would be back in the old three-tier system of Covid response, except almost every single area in the country immediately went into tier 2 and 3…

Peter Brookes

Martin Rowson

And finally, we also had a little financial review from the Chancellor. That one can be summed up quite simply as yes, we’re screwed, let’s increase the defence budget, slash the international aid budget, and as for all those incredible public sector workers who put their lives on the line to keep the country going during the year… we didn’t mind clapping for them but there’s no way we’re going to actually do anything about their crappy pay (as opposed to the pay increases of the politicians themselves).

Three from Dave Brown on that…

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