Saturday 20th September 2014
Martin Rowson’s hilarious assault on the Lib Dem coalition clique in his new cartoon book is an incitement for action, says DAVID PEEL
The Coalition Book
by Martin Rowson
with an introduction by Will Self
IF YOU love biting visual and verbal satire on the political mess we are in, you need Martin Rowson.
His Coalition Book features slugs, monsters, breasts, muppets, puppets, fops, voids, serpents, sneakcads, gimps and fat cats, to name just a highly comic few.
The superb foreword by Will Self will have you in stitches too but, by the time you reach the end, you will want to be out on the streets calling for a revolution to sweep away this corrupt gang of crooks and charlatans.
What is wonderful about this collection of hundreds of Rowson cartoons, first published in the Morning Star and in more right-wing media like the Mirror and Guardian, is that we get his words.
They are a hilarious diatribe on the rotten state of our divided nation and they complement in every way the luminous power of his nightmarish illustrations.
Self believes this era will be remembered as the golden age of Rowson, a time when his friend and sometime collaborator finally blossomed from a shrunken figure drawing stick men to the tall and erect chronicler of late capitalism and its downfall.
But what of the limping official opposition to the “men in pin-striped suits with their heads stuffed up their arses” — the Conservative Party — or Nigel Farage, the snake and Thatcherite banker, who Rowson says is about as insurrectionary as a Powerpoint presentation at McKinsey’s?
What of the Lib Dems and their “leader,” the little wooden boy who wanted to be a real politician but turned out to be a source of useful timber?
They get the same beautifully brutal and excoriating treatment, although there could be much more of Miliband, the star-struck lover of austerity-lite and his “we’re tougher than the Tories” crew.
With Christmas coming, this will make the ideal extra-large stocking filler and, fittingly, the penultimate page features the Spirit of Christmas Present showing a terrified Cabinet cowering in bed together and being shown their “children” — ignorance and want.
As Rowson ruefully observes, we are living in coalition Narnia land and ruled by the children of the Witch, where it is always winter, and never Christmas.
It is a poignant conclusion which begs the reader to look around, see the devastation, and act.