Daily Express cartoonist Paul Thomas has cut the political world to the quick yet again with his vituperative quill.
In a recent vignette last week, he depicts a comely weather forecaster who warns us of “snow from the north, and immigrants from the east,” as a front of dozens of little black cut-out people blows in from the continent.
It’s here, so you can marvel at it in full.
Let’s charitably overlook the deeply unpleasant overtones of the pictorial, and that on closer scrutiny, there isn’t even a joke behind it.
Let’s also disregard for a moment that during PT’s three years at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts he clearly missed the class on noses and hands (hiding the right one only draws attention to the remaining poignée of fresh boudin blanc with which the meteorologist in question appears to be gesticulating at the map).
Let us focus instead on PT’s cunning use of iconography to interweave his tableau with political references – and perhaps biographical hints too – much as the classical masters have executed over the centuries.
Notice how Mr Thomas has – almost imperceptably – included on his map the stylistic wolf that is the symbol for football club Wolverhampton Wanderers, so as, perhaps, to stress that this is a map at which we are looking, and that that is the spot on that map where Wolverhampton is.
The eye is then drawn to a similar icon hovering somewhere over where Amsterdam should be. It’s, erm, possibly a very fat jumbo jet landing at Schipol, or a novelty bong.
But despite the ambiguity, the theme is set for geographic symbolism.
It is at that moment that the perceptive viewer of this oeuvre will notice another clin d’oeil from the artist.
It’s daubed in black so as to set it apart from the other visual messages emanating from the canvas.
The colour, too, is an optical echo of the black that characterises the wondering immigrants.
The two vertical bows – like a horizontal kiss – are accompanied by an exclamation point, and hover somewhere over where this particular cartographer may well have placed the Belgian and EU capital: Brussels.
At first thought the reader may conclude it is the footprint of a small deer wearing a stilleto heel, as if to depict the stumbling eurocrat as a clumsy and effete newborn beast of the wilds.
Then, perhaps, it is an alternative take on the incoming Greek EU presidency’s stylised ‘boat’ logo, adapted to have two conflicting sails, to tell the tale of a country – and indeed an institutional role – that is torn between two opposing destinies.
And then, one concludes inescapably that it’s probably just a badly drawn ladybum.
Because to the Daily Express, and to its cartoonist who revels in “being extremely rude about the people who are trying to tell us all what to do” and likes the letters “accusing me of bad taste,” Brussels = c**nts and arses.
One wonders how he rendered it so anatomically accurately?