Kasia Kowalska writes:
The annual Political Cartoon of the Year Awards, hosted by the Ellwood Atfield Gallery, in Smith Square, Westminster, were full to the brim with guests and cartoonists alike.
You didn’t have to move far to rub shoulders with the elite of political cartooning in Britain today – most of the nominees, from Christian Adams to Ingram Pinn, Bob Moran to Martin Rowson, were there.
In his welcoming speech, Dr Tim Benson of the Political Cartoon Society, thanked the organisers and said: “We do not lead the world in many things, but we certainly have always led the world with regard to political cartoons.”
Following the introduction of online voting for the Political Cartoon of the Year for the first time, he hinted that, in the future, members of the public would also be able to vote for the Political Cartoonist of the Year.
This year’s awards were presented by the Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, the former Chief Whip, who has found himself at the sharp end of many a cartoonist’s pen over the past year, during the Plebgate scandal. In spite of this, he admitted that he could not resist accepting the invitation, as he is an enthusiastic collector of political cartoons.
He did not resist giving the gathered cartoonists a taste of their own medicine by reflecting on the unique relationship between politicians and cartoonists as he recalled a recent interview by the head of the Israeli intelligence service who said “he didn’t like politicians because they tended to leave their wounded on the battlefield”.
He added: “It struck me that that’s basically what politicians may do … and then cartoonists come along and finish them off.” He stressed that it is, nonetheless, an enduring relationship.
Steve Bell was announced the winner of the coveted Gillray Cup for Political Cartoon of the Year for his portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, above, with Andy Davey as the runner up. Morten Morland was named 2013 Political Cartoonist of the Year.
Upon accepting the award from Mr Mitchell, Steve Bell said: “it’s a great honour to get the Gillray goblet, it’s the one to win, that’s for sure.”
The acceptance speech by Andy Davey, who was recently let go in cuts at The Sun, was greeted with a cheer when he addressed the room by saying: “Either you lot are masters of paradox and satire or you’re a bunch of plebs.”
Morten Morland said that he was “as surprised as everyone else and very glad to win the Low Trophy”.
The exhibition of the political cartoons will run at the Ellwood Atfield Gallery until 23 December.
Many thanks to Kasia for the report and photographs. You can follow Kasia on Twitter: @katyrosesmith