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Sunday 10 October 2010

Where’s Your Sense Of Humour?

Politics can be a funny old game. But not everyone involved has managed to retain a sense of humour. Best known for this trait – a total lack of sense of humour – in recent years was former PM Margaret Thatcher, for whom it must have been a strange experience reading out part of the Monty Python “dead parrot” sketch to gleeful response from conference, without understanding what the laughter was all about.

Together with her humourlessness, Thatcher would occasionally let slip double entendres which could render her audience as helpless as Pontius Pilate’s guards in the “Biggus Dickus” episode in Life Of Brian. The Guardian’s Simon Hoggart has quoted one magnificent example, from her post victory tour of the Falkland Islands. A soldier manning a huge mobile gun invited Thatcher to fire a round. “But mightn’t it jerk me off?” she asked.

This ability to say something mirth inducing while meaning to sound serious appears now to have settled on Thatcher’s successor. During the Tory conference this year, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell drew David Cameron as he usually does, with a condom over his head. And the cartoon representing Young Dave’s set-piece speech was singularly unflattering, adding an unfeasible amount of flatulence, together with the finger.

Cameron caught up with Bell and Hoggart at the Spectator party. At first he was pleasant and cheery, but as Hoggart has told, he zeroed in on Bell’s caricature of him, warning “You can only push the condom so far”.

Finbarr Saunders was not available for comment.

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