Leader: Mighter than the sword

Satirical irreverence, like queuing, has long been a national habit. From Jonathan Swift to The Thick of It and James Gillray to Gerald Scarfe, the British relish nothing better than the delicate dismembering of the powers that be. For years, our printed press – including this magazine – has been home to vicious and hilarious satirists working in the form of the political cartoon. In the pages of the New Statesman, work by Vicky, Low, Ralph Steadman, Martin Rowson, David Simonds and others has skewered our leaders over the decades. Where is the next generation? And what will become of cartoonists in the digital age? There is no doubt: to remain open and humorous, our political culture needs these scabrous artists of the inky trade.

This article first appeared in the 27 August 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The end of the political cartoon?