Friday, 23 April 2010
This political cartoon from yesterday’s Guardian (click to enlarge) may be pretty opaque to non-Brits today and will be opaque to everyone in fifty years’ time. It is a comment on the supposed unsuccessful attempts by the leader of the Conservative party, David Cameron, to make himself sound less upper-class (blog, 8 April) in preparation for face-to-face television debates with the leaders of the other two main parties.
The cartoon is an obvious allusion to the characters Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion / My Fair Lady (“By George, she’s got it!”).
The cartoonist shows Cameron with a condom for a head, for reasons I can no longer remember.
The hovering Mekon figure (readers of the 1950s Eagle comic will know what I mean) is William Hague, former leader of the party, definitely not upper-class, and notable for having retained an unreconstructed Yorkshire accent and therefore using a “flat” vowel in TRAP words (= an open and retracted [a], like the vowel of RP STRUT).