Cartoon history of the Labour Party

Alan Mumford, management training guru and latterly indefatigable publisher of books of political cartoons, has produced his best collection yet:  "Did Cowards Flinch?  A cartoon history of the Labour Party", with a foreword by Neil Kinnock.  As Lord Kinnock writes in his 2-page + foreword,

This book is an illuminating political history provided in the form of an art gallery.  Some of the work will have made even the most courageous flinch and wince some of the time.

Professor Mumford prefaces each chapter, covering a different period from 1900-1917 to 1993-2006, with a page or two setting the political context of the cartoons that follow, and each cartoon has a full explanatory caption — very necessary, since even the oldest readers and most dedicated Labourites will be hard put to it to identify some of the subjects of the earlier cartoons reproduced.  The cartoonists represented include everyone's favourites: Low, Vicky, Peter Brookes, Steve Bell (of course), Martin Rowson  (of course), Cummings, Jak, Trog, Illingworth, and many more.  

I declare an interest (personal, not financial): Alan Mumford is among my oldest friends, going back to historic protests against the Suez disaster in 1956 and even earlier than that.  There are few people better equipped by an encyclopaedic knowledge of cartoons and by an equally comprehensive knowledge of contemporary political history, viewed from a discerning but recognisably Labour perspective, to produce a splendid book like this:  big and colourful enough for the coffee table but with enough solid reading in it for the bedside.  It's not too late to give away a few dozen copies as perfect Christmas presents.  Hardback, a snip at £19.99 (no, that doesn't fool me, either), from The Political Cartoon Gallery, 32 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS, by telephone to +44 [0]20 7580 1114, or by e-mail to  You can also visit a splendid exhibition of many of the cartoons in Alan's book, and bearing the same name,  at the Political Cartoon Gallery, (still) at 32 Store Street, London, UK, WC1E 7BS, open from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 11.30am to 5.30pm on Saturday.  Call 020 7580 1114 for further details.  But better hurry: the exhibition closes on Christmas eve.  And don't forget to buy the book!

One word of warning: apart from the magnificent front cover (see below, and don't on any account miss the present Leader in it), all the cartoons are in black and white.  I suppose the great majority of them were only ever drawn and published in B&W, and to have reproduced a handful of more recent ones in colour would probably have doubled the price of the book, so don't let's complain.

Did Cowards Flinch?, by Alan Mumford 


2 Responses

  1. Lorna says:

    I agree. It is a splendid book – and it also made a splendid Christmas gift.

  2. Bet Rayed says:

    It is essential to get New Labour out of Downing Street. They are the most corrupt, incompetent, shocking government I have ever seen at the helm of my country.

    Under this awful government, so-called asylum seekers and other foreigners are flocking to Britain. They don't claim asylum in other European countries because they all want to come to soft touch Britain where they will get put to the front of the queue before British people for housing, people who have paid into the system for years! In addition, they walk all over us: mosques are springing up like never before and Muslims suicide bomb us and call us evil – but they're only too happy to claim the full range of benefits available! I'm sick of the loathsome lefties eroding our culture and way of life and will definitely be voting for the BNP at the next election as I see them as the only hope for claiming our country back. Currently, white British people are made to feel like second-class citizens in their own country. There's no freedom of speech either unless it's for the foreigner.

    Next, there are services which are in chaos. Water shortages in summer are becoming far more common and migrants breeding like rabbits will double our population reportedly by 2080. We have hosepipe bans in the summer – people are going to die because of all the extra people! What about the rising burden on the NHS? How about the fact fifty different languages will be spoken in schools and the impact on communication and education? There's also going to be far more houses needed. Think of all those extra houses having to be built on floodplains – because of demand by foreigners. For Goodness' sake, we're heading for Muslim Sharia law in this country.

    Brian writes:  You won't be surprised to hear that I disagree profoundly with almost everything in this chauvinist, racist, xenophobic rant.  There are plenty of reasons for being deeply critical of New Labour but none of them is included in this comment, and the proclaimed intention to vote for the BNP at the next election gives the game away completely.  I am resisting the temptation simply to delete the comment, but have decided not to do so because it serves as a terrible warning of the dangerously xenophobic sentiments which the latest in our long history of waves of immigration is encouraging among people who should know better. 

    For another equally distasteful example of this kind of intolerant, anti-immigrant, xenophobic rant, please see the first Comment at — .

    As a postscript, it's worth noting that this comment is written under a pseudonym ('Bet Rayed' = betrayed) with a link to the website of the BNP.  I suppose the fact of sheltering gutlessly behind a pseudonym could be a kind of sign of grace, implying a sense of shame at the expression of such repellent and inhumane views.