Times cartoon on Jacqui Smith

// 20 April 2009

Via Cath Elliot and Caroline at Uncool


As Cath says:

Can someone please tell the nation’s esteemed political cartoonists/satirists to change the record and start coming up with something a bit more imaginative (and funny!) ‘cos this public school-boy crap’s getting boring now.

The Times copied this tripe directly from The Independent. The Spectator also got in on the act.

Of course, these cartoons don’t even make sense really – Smith’s husband watches porn… so… what…? What is the clever point the cartoonists are making? Porn exists near to the Home Secretary, so it’d be funny to put her on the cover of a porno – because she was a bit too powerful, let’s show her her place?

As Caroline says:

Firstly – using sexuality to humiliate a woman? Fail. Using sexuality to undermine a woman in a position of power? Fail. Totally fucked up.

Comments From You

maggie // Posted 20 April 2009 at 11:53 am

Fails all round then. I think they’re flogging a dead fantasy. There is nothing remotely funny, satirical or witty about these cartoons. Just a pathetic attempt at cheap political smears.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 20 April 2009 at 12:59 pm

Yet another deliberate attempt by the male-dominated and male-owned print media to claim it is women who are responsible for mainstream viewing of pornography.

Correct cartoon image would be one showing Jacqui Smith’s partner consuming pornography. Since he not Ms. Smith rented the degrading pornographic DVDs.

Proves once again the print media is not objective, neutral and neither can it claim to be factual, truthful and accurate!

But there patriarchy’s sole aim is to hide male accountability and blame women.

Kez // Posted 20 April 2009 at 6:23 pm

That’s horrible. I know unflattering depictions in the press of one’s appearance etc go with the territory for politicians, but this is using her gender to humiliate her in a sexual way, which, whatever your opinion of her over the “allowances” scandal etc, is uncalled for.

zohra // Posted 20 April 2009 at 9:16 pm

This is really shocking! I can’t even come up with the words to say more right now.

Rob M // Posted 21 April 2009 at 12:57 am

I think Caroline more or less nails it. This is one of those irritating cases where you can end up defending someone who is supremely hateful because she’s been attacked wrongly. Hrng.

I really can’t see a defense for political cartoons of any ilk – they are pretty uniformly horrendous, lazy, bad. Focus on the physical first and foremost, because hey, it’s the easiest thing to draw. For women, this adds the extra easy target of some sort of sexist comment (unsexy/whorish, delete as appropriate, or combine for maximum laughs.)

In this case, I really think the derogatory sexual thing was actually just an easy coincidence arising from composing ‘satire’ from the very first thing that pops into the cartoonist’s head. I guess they’re on deadlines, poor things.

The thought process will have gone: Story involving Politician and Porn -> draw a Politician in Porn! For the crack cartoonist, porn subject -> draw a naked lady. So, if it’s a male politician, surround him with naked ladies. If it’s a female politician, make her the naked lady. Haha!!!!1!

This another example of sexism hurting everyone – for God’s sake, “haha, she is a porn lady” is just shit, and so vaguely generalised to attack any woman as to ignore the prime and supremely valid target of another horrific Home Secretary. But then, I suppose conveying “the irony of a politician hell bent on pissing away billions of public money on schemes designed to shit all over the privacy of all citizens being embarrassed by her own/husband’s private information being revealed due to her unjustly claiming publicly funded money” is quite tricky to convey in a cartoon, in fifteen minutes sketching time.

Hannah // Posted 23 April 2009 at 3:12 pm

What I find particularly offensive, that people don’t seem to have commented on yet, is that the cartoon is making really inappropriate insinuations about Jacqui Smith’s own sexual practices by portraying her like this. As you say, it’s another example of trying to bring down a woman in a position of power by mixing her private and public lives in a way that wouldn’t be done with a male politician. Whilst it’s true our prurient press goes crazy over insinuations whenever some horny old male politician has an affair, at least there’s some substance for them to be talking about. Here they’re just grabbing wildly at an opportunity to lecture women that our biology means we can’t be taken seriously.

Dieter Guy // Posted 24 April 2009 at 7:42 pm

What’s been really bugging me about this story is that the media are so gleefully fixated on the idea that someone watches porn that they ignore the real issue of it being a clear misuse of the expenses budget.

Have to love that serious devotion to reporting, “who cares about the breach of public trust, I get to draw tits!”

Jess McCabe // Posted 24 April 2009 at 7:55 pm

@Dieter Guy Perhaps that’s because it was a case of a few pounds, which was paid back as soon as it was discovered? I really can’t get over excited about something which was a clear mistake.

Helena // Posted 25 April 2009 at 10:18 am

I’m shocked and sickened by the cartoon. Sorry, I am just lost for words.

Gregory // Posted 25 April 2009 at 10:27 am

“I really can’t get over excited about something which was a clear mistake.”

I think Jacqui claiming porn on parliamentary expenses is a G20 first. She is going to lose her seat at Westminster.

She is not up to the challenge of running the Home Office, one can’t accept anything she says, she does gimmicks.

“I feel a little sorry for Mrs Smith. She’s the first female Home Secretary in history… and seems to be useless at her job. The department leaks like a skive because it desperately tries to bury bad news.”


Unless that is a disguised, Tory hate blog, Jacqui Smith, the first woman HS, was a unmitigated disaster.

That is a very sad thing, at the end of the day. Never mind the porn, Jacqui’s bath plug was a humiliating moment for Britain. It is just terrible.

Jess McCabe // Posted 25 April 2009 at 11:14 am

@Gregory I’m not convinced. All Home Secretary’s are terrible; personally, I am of the opinion it’s the role itself not so much the individual filling it. Can you identify any politician who has actually made a ‘good’ Home Secretary?

What is the job of Home Secretary? It’s the police, crime, anti-terrorism, immigration. What are those institutions like? The immigration system is inherantly, and was designed to be over decades, racist. What about the institutional problems in the police? Given the blame for any terrorist attacks and crime, is it in the interests of the Home Office to concern themselves about civil liberties?

In theory you could have a Home Sec who managed to rein it in somewhat, but in today’s political reality there’s no incentive for the government to do that…

Madeleine // Posted 25 April 2009 at 4:50 pm

It is very much in the interest of the Home Office and the government as a whole to concern themselves with civil liberties instead of systematically eroding them in the name of ‘anti-terrorist measures’,most of which turn out to be useless anyway. Otherwise they will lose even more public support. That is the political reality.

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