Condom Cameron and Trumps golden toilet
How on earth did we end up where we are? Back in early 2015, everything seemed, if not exactly in good hands, then at least quite settled. Then David Cameron wrecked everything by winning an outright majority in the general election, forcing him to keep his promise to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
It was also all change in Labour land. Ed Miliband stepped down and the hitherto unremarkable backbencher Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the opposition. Nick Clegg merely faded into invisibility.
Then came Brexit: an outcome to the referendum that no one expected and whose meaning politicians are still struggling to interpret. So Dave stepped down and Theresa May fought off a bunch of no-hopers to become the second worst postwar prime minister. After Dave, of course.
Brexit means Brexit. Strong and stable. My arse. The 2017 election put paid to that and now we are left wondering how a Northern Ireland backstop can be both definite and indefinite. The only certainty now is that things will almost certainly get worse. And don’t get me started on the US. But what’s bad for the country is manna for satirists, and in Steve Bell the Guardian has one of the very best political cartoonists in the business. Funny, sharp and cruel, certainly, but also an informed port in a storm of insanity. In his latest collection, Corbyn: The Resurrection, we get to see history through his unique lens.
There’s Condom Dave. When Steve (it feels wrong to call someone who has been a Guardian ever-present since 1981 by his surname) heard that Cameron disliked the condom image, he made a point of drawing it more frequently. There’s Jezza. Steve may have finally found a politician whose policies he admires, but Corbyn does not go unspared. Step forward Jez-Bi Wan Conorbyn and Popeye in a Lenin hat. There’s Trump the Golden Toilet. There’s Grenfell with the burnt-out Tory logo on the roof.
And then there is Theresa. The image of her as a scary clown in a harlequin outfit has taken on a new meaning after the Chequers deal. Cue “Chucking Chequers” and Boris Johnson vomiting her black-and-white costume over the stage at the Tory party conference. A moment of genius. When nothing much else makes sense, you can rely on Steve for clarity.