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Suella Braverman Faced Heckles At The Political Cartoon Awards

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman MP was repeatedly heckled, presenting the The Ellwood Atfield Political Cartoon Awards 2023.

Article Summary

  • Former UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman MP faced heckles presenting the Political Cartoon Awards.
  • Her speech addressed issues of free speech and the right to cause offence.
  • Braverman opposes the Telegraph and Spectator's takeover by Abu Dhabi buyers.
  • Steve Bell and Zoom Rockman both received awards, from very different directions.

The Ellwood Atfield Political Cartoon Awards 2023 were held at King's Building in Smith Square in London tonight after a last-minute change from Millbank Tower due to malfunctioning lifts. The event, run by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation and funded by Ellwood Atfield, saw the twice-recent former Home Secretary Suella Braverman MP present the awards, as Kulveer Ranger, Baron Ranger of Northwood, recently made a peer.

Braverman is a British politician and barrister who served as Home Secretary from 6th September 2022 to 19th October 2022 under Prime Minister Liz Truss and again from 25th October 2022 to 13th November 2023 under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak until he fired her for an article attacking her own police force. Known for hard rhetoric against immigrants, asylum seekers, Palestine protestors and the homeless, this was going to be a tricky evening.

The evening opened with nods to both Zoom Rockman and Steve Bell, who have quit or been fired over their cartoonist convictions, both reported by Bleeding Cool at the time, and both involving charges of anti-semitism from differing directions. Both won awards that night; both talked about what they had been through.

The Lord Ranger talked about the importance of political cartoons and wondered why no one had done any of him. I promised I would rectify that by next year. He also took a divergence, talking down recent Marvel movies, which would have been worthy of his former mayoral boss, Boris Johnson.

But it was Suella who took the star of the stage, talking about all the different ways she had been portrayed by cartoonists in the ugliest of fashions but welcoming it as a vital part of the free press. And using the occasion to talk about the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator potentially being bought by Abu Dhabi businessmen. She received heckles throughout, including Guardian cartoonist Rebecca Hendin, whom Suella initially invited to the stage but was persuaded not to by the organisers.

She talked about being portrayed as a "vampire bat, a cranky crayfish, a Halloween ghoul, a zombie, a devil, Morticia Addams, a murderous Chiron. Spitting Image had me as the girl from The Exorcist. You also had me as an angry Statue of Liberty, a Superbraverman, and Barbie… you make politicians look much more interesting than we really are, to be honest, and you're a pillar of our Free Press, and I hope that you continue unhindered by political interference." To which she got the heckle "can we have that in writing?" But she continued, "whether politicians are offended is neither here or there and you can count on me to always fight for your right to offend. Freedom of the press is back in the forefront of our minds once more regarding the Telegraph newspaper and The Spectator magazine, and I want to be clear I oppose their takeover by Redbird IMI. The Telegraph is one of the bedrocks of our free press, and The Spectator is an irrepressible voice for challenging established orthodoxies. To my mind, there is no doubt that this takeover will hinder the accurate presentation of news and the free expression of opinion, and the independence of the paper will undeniably be compromised if its control is seeded to the hands of a foreign state that freedom is essential now more than ever in a healthy democracy and I hope that that takeover does not go ahead. To finish, thank you for uglifying us, thank you for taking the piss out of me; long may you continue doing your hard work."

And the awards then took place… relatively smoothly, aside from one early kerfuffle. I took a bunch of videos from the presentation, at a different angle to any official video, which means that you can see Suella Braverman's reaction to… everything. We began with Tim Benson of the Political Cartoon Gallery opening the awards.

With the Political Cartoonist Organisation also having their say, as well as talking about the refugee colouring book, that Bleeding Cool has featured previously. And yes, you get to see Suella's reaction.

Kulveer Ranger, Baron Ranger of Northwood, was also here to present the first awards but also wanted to talk about not being drawn and Marvel movies.

Then, things didn't quite go right when presenting the awards… and we got a spoiler.

Zoom Rockman wins Pocket Cartoon Of The Year for his work in Private Eye and talks about quitting Private Eye directly after they published it.

Tony Husband Wins Pocket Cartoonist Of The Year, accepted posthumously.

Gag Cartoon of the Year awarded to James Miller of Private Eye.

Suella Braverman's speech on free speech, including heckles and an attempt to run the stage.

Steve Bell accepts the Second Prize Political Cartoonist Of The Year from Suella Braverman for his work for the Guardian.. and then talks about being fired from the Guardian for causing offence. Is this the first time Steve and Suella Braverman have been on the same side?

Patrick Blower of the Daily Telegraph wins Political Cartoonist Of The Year from Suella Braverman and mocks Suella.

Suella Braverman awards Ellwood Atfield Political Cartoon Of The Year runner up to Graham Bandeira.

Christian Adams of the Evening Standard wins Political Cartoon Of The Year from Suella Braverman. Short and sweet, and Suella gets thanked.

After which, we all went down to the pub. Here's a gallery of how the evening looked…

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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