Thursday 29 April 2010

Marc cartoon, 1978

As it's election time, here's the original pen and ink version of a political cartoon that appeared in The Times on June 14th 1978. The cartoonist was Marc aka Mark Boxer (1931-1988).

The glammed-up rider on the horse with a Vote Tory rosette towers over a rather more prosaic and head-scarfed woman holding a newspaper headline Labour to Ban Hunting. This relates to moves within parts of the governing Labour Party of the day to adopt a more hostile approach to hunting. Tony Benn, chair of the Home Policy Committee, was trying to get a commitment to ban fox hunting into the Party's manifesto for the forthcoming General Election. A policy pamphlet published in July, Living without Cruelty: Labour's Charter for Animal Protection did indeed recommend a ban but when it came to the 1979 manifesto only hare coursing and deer hunting were included, not fox hunting.

Attitudes to hunting raised tensions within the Labour Party throughout the twentieth century. Some supporters were close to the anti-blood sports Humanitarian League in the early 1900s and some helped set up the League for the Prohibition of Cruel Sports in 1925. Private members' bills on the subject were periodically raised, without success, in Parliament. On a more pragmatic level, the Party hierarchy was obliged to recognise the level of attachment in rural areas across the social classes to hunting and other field sports if it wasn't to be perceived as solely an urban political force.

Mark Boxer's cartoons were first seen in the late 1960s, first in The Listener, later in The Times and finally The Guardian. He was also editor variously of the Sunday Times colour supplement and Tatler.

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