PCO Cartoon Review of the Year 2023

Cartoon © Steve Bright

Glenn Marshall writes:

OK, lock yourselves in, this is going to be a rocky ride and 2023 was a particularly rocky ride for Rishi Sunak. The above prescient cartoon was by Brighty at the beginning of the year in The Sun.

Cartoon © Dean Patterson

Mystic deAn also predicted the turbulence the world would face in 2023.

Cartoon © Achaz von Hardenberg

The year has been that bad that by the end of it even Ukraine had slipped out of the news. I did love this Guernica reworking from a Guardian piece on the bombing of cultural sites. By Achaz von Hardenberg (admittedly it was published the previous year but I thought it deserved a showing)

Cartoon © Jeremy Banx

One feature earlier in the year was the rise in crime figures. This Banx criminal investigation from the FT.

Cartoon © Ed Naylor

Another great take on the same story from Nay in Private Eye.

Cartoon © Paul Shadbolt

The Government really doesn’t like asylum seekers in small boats but decided it would like to accommodate them on large boats. Lovely cartoon and drawing by Shadbolt. Paul told me that in the issue following publication the Eye letters page was full of complaints about ‘inaccurate rigging of HMS Victory’, as well as the fact that ships are always referred to as ‘she’ rather than ‘it’. Drawing any military hardware in a cartoon turns out to be ‘Pedants Corner’ bating .


Caricature © Mark Winter

Amongst those that died last year was Barry Humphries in April. A great rendering of him by Chicane.

Cartoon © Ros Asquith

Also in April Dominic Raab resigned following the bullying inquiry. This faab drawing of the red faced embarrassment by Ros Asquith.

Cartoon © Rebecca Hendin

The first stage of the Covid Inquiry hearings started in June. This was by Rebecca Hendin in The Guardian. Later in the year key witnesses would be using the contemporary version of the excuse of ‘the dog ate my homework’ about missing WhatsApp messages..

Cartoon © Andrew Fraser

The actors and writers strike started in July and quickly escalated. This from our theatre correspondent Drew for Private Eye.

Cartoon © Dave Brown

Great mash up of two stories by Dave Brown in the Independent, one about the plastic, pink-faced, eager-to-please glitter ball, the other about a Mattel toy doll (can you see what I attempted to do there, I’ll be writing on ‘The Now Show’ before you know it!).

Cartoon © Andy Davey

We had a whole raft of by-elections in 2023, mostly where the Tory vote hit an iceberg. Their one lifebuoy was in July with Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

(Ed: Lovely sea Mr Davey)

Cartoon © Grizelda

That rare by-election win was put down to the local Tory candidate’s stance against the London Labour council’s ULEZ introduction (Ultra Low Emission Zone). This wheeze by Grizelda in The Times.

Cartoon © Henny Beaumont

In August the immigration minister Robert Jenrick ordered the overpainting of cartoon murals in two reception centres for the children of asylum seekers, as the cartoons were ‘too welcoming’. This led to a huge backlash by cartoonists and ultimately to ‘The Great British Colouring Book’ which was created to give to migrant children and is indeed now on sale to the public at large. The above by Henny Beaumont for The Guardian.

More on the story on our PCO blog here and here.

You can buy the book here.

Cartoon © Steve Bell

Lee Anderson MP (aka 30p* Lee) also made his position clear on asylum seekers coming over here. This one of Steve Bell’s last cartoons for The Guardian.

* Now known as 31.17p Lee, taking into account the recent inflation hike.

Cartoon © Chris Burke

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg continued to get ready to rumble. They’ve even attempted to stage the fight in Rome’s Coliseum; I hope the lions win. `

This fine X rated face off depiction by Chris Burke for ‘Gentleman Magazine’ and ‘Milano Finanzia’, two publication that don’t feature nearly enough in our Review Of The Year.

Cartoon © Graeme Bandiera

This on Nadine Dorries by Graeme for The Northern Agenda won Runner Up for the Political Cartoon of the Year in the recent awards.

Cartoon © Rob Murray

A fine drawing from Rob Murray in The Telegraph on Nad’s toxic resignation letter. (Is that a Leonardt 40 Shorthand dip pen nib Rob? I personally favour Leonardt’s 256. I pair it with Higgin’s Black Magic waterproof which has a very true black and dries quickly. The 256 is very flexible but robust too. I used to use genuine old school nibs supplied to me by the legendary Philip Poole at ‘His Nibs’ in Drury Lane. HATE the Gillott 303 it’s the nib of the devil….but I digress)

Caricature © The Radical Embroiderer 

Here’s an excellent stitching up of ‘No Show Nadine’ from Radical’s ‘Sponger series’ thread.

Cartoon © Royston Robertson

The Conservative party conference began in Manchester at the end of September just a few days after the felling of the Sycamore Gap tree. Royston couldn’t resist this bit of Tory logo topiary which was published in The Spectator.

Cartoon © Sarah Boyce

There’s been a lot in the news about the rise in obesity in the UK and the strain it’s putting on the health service. Very funny from Sarah Boyce in Private Eye.

Cartoon © Nick Newman

As well as our waistlines increasing so was the rate of shoplifting….no doubt particularly of XXXL sizes. This one of Nick Newman’s pocket cartoons from The Sunday Times.

Cartoon © Kathryn Lamb

The water company CEOs were still pumping raw bonuses into their own bank accounts. KJ Lamb summed it up nicely in Private Eye….

Cartoon © Pete Dredge

… and Pete Dredge slings some excrement at the aforementioned water companies.

Cartoon © Wilbur Dawbarn

As well as worrying about migrants fleeing from France we also had to worry about bed bugs fleeing from Paris. Wilbur bravely donned a hazmat suit for The Spectator.

Cartoon © Kipper Williams

In November we had the King’s Speech. Charles 3.0 had to grimace his way through reading The Government’s reversal on some of its environmental commitments. This by cartoon royalty Kipper Williams for PE.

Cartoon © Pete Songi

Pete Songi’s cartoon on plans to grant new North Sea oil and gas licences. This reads more like a desperate plot to ‘Just Stop Keir’.

Cartoon © Mike Stokoe

With the awful atrocities of 7th October and the subsequent death and destruction in Gaza, protests became widespread around the world…or hate marches as Cruella Braverman labelled them. This nice reversal from Stokoe in Private Eye.

Cartoon © Guy Venables

In his daily spot for The Metro Guy Venables tackled the issue of one mans ‘cease’ being another mans ‘pause’.

Cartoon © Jonesy

More on Rishi’s desperate attempts to become electable by Jonesy in Private Eye, following the election of Javier ‘mad cap’ Milei in Argentina.

Caricature © Kevin Wells

Just in case you’re missing Donald Trump from our annual review here’s a brilliant mug shot by Squiggle King. Sadly I think Trump will be featuring quite heavily in next year’s review, but doesn’t Milei make The Don look almost normal? (I said ‘almost’)

Cartoon © Martin Rowson

Cop28 began in the oil pumping UAE at the end of November. One of the promises was the ‘transitioning away’ from fossil fuels in the same way I plan ‘transitioning away’ from drinking alcohol by 2050. This was Martin Rowson’s sceptical examination of the conference for The Guardian.

Cartoon © James Mellor

Penny thoughts from James Mellor in PE. James has had an interesting year, it started with him getting death threats following a cartoon in Charlie Hebdo and ended with him winning the inaugural Tony Husband ‘Gag Cartoon of the Year’ award.

Cartoon © Jonathan Pugh

Has the Government found someone willing to fly migrants to Rwanda? Great cartoon by Pugh in the Daily Mail.

You can see a selection of Jonathan’s cartoons of the year here.

Cartoon © Rupert Besley

More festive frivolity, this bit of truth from Rupert Besley.

Cartoon © Chris Cairns

This end of year cartoon by Chris Cairns for ‘Wings Over Scotland, is a perfect summation of the year.

Cartoon © Clive Goddard

I like to end on a cheery note. This by Clive ‘The Chairman’ Goddard.

Happy New Year from all in the PCO bunker and thanks to all cartoonists everywhere, who try to shine a little light in a lot of dark.

See you back here same time, same place in 2025….if there is a 2025.



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