I drew a quick Nixon caricature for yesterday’s blog post but I was so underwhelmed with the result that I decided not to publish it. It would have looked woeful at the head of a post where I was also going to reproduce Nixon caricatures by Gerald Scarfe and Ralph Steadman. The reason my caricature was weak was probably because I just feel no particular vehemence towards Richard Nixon. So many great movies and books have been made and written about Nixon that I’m fascinated by him, even if I wouldn’t have liked his policies had I been born by the time he came into power.
After yesterday’s failure, I thought I’d try to draw somebody I dislike and having read Martin Rowson’s brilliantly scathing piece about George Osborne in The Tribune, I realise that there was only really once obvious candidate.
I don’t think of myself as being ‘of the Left’ but neither do I think myself any ally with the Right. I’ve been interested in satire for so long that I tend to feel that it’s not really my place to belong to any side. I’m somewhere in the middle but my allegiances aren’t strong. When Labour was in power, I saw things I disliked about them and I longed for a change in government. Now the Tories are in charge, I see things wrong and I long for a change in government. The fact is: I probably just question the lot of them. Politics has many fine people working for our good but there are too many charlatans and careerist politicians happy to tie down a safe seat on a good wage.
It’s the careerists who I despise the most and Osborne is the ugliest toad in the pond. I suppose we are always tempted to think of our Chancellors as being nasty but Osborne has managed to out-nasty every Chancellor I can remember. It’s not that there hasn’t been a political argument for austerity but austerity too closely fit with an ideological narrative that the Tories were ready to unleash on the nation. Rather than give us austerity with a certain reluctance, they were gleeful in the way they talked about cuts and tightening our belts. Austerity is an easy thing to preach when you’re the son or daughter of wealthy parents and when you emerged from your private education primed to pick whatever course you might want to take through life. Osborne chose politics with the same kind of detachment that other people choose to become doctors or lawyers. There’s no real life bearing down on his decision. No need to take that job stacking shelves in Tesco ‘until somebody better comes along’. For most of us, nothing better ever does come along. Life is no fairy tale and the good guys rarely win.