Sunday, October 1, 2006

Independent on Sunday: What It Feels Like ... To Be Caricatured

Name: Kenneth Baker
Age: 71
History: As an ex-cabinet minister Lord Baker has been the subject of many cartoons. He is the author of 'George IV: A Life in Caricature' (Thames & Hudson) and helped to establish The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London W1 (www. cartooncentre.com)
Interview by Keith Laidlaw

There is a very interesting relationship between politicians and caricaturists - most politicians love to be caricatured, because once you have been, you've arrived. It's a tick in the right box, as it were.

I was caricatured a lot when I was Education Secretary because I was doing such a lot and changing things. Because I was a rather cheerful chap I was often caricatured as the Cheshire cat, sometimes as just a smile, and in all sorts of ways: a snake, a lizard, a slug, even a lion at one stage, which was an unusual one.

The important thing is you mustn't mind, because the caricaturists aren't there to flatter you at the end of the day. Blair has been savagely caricatured, as was Margaret' I don't quite know how Blair feels about it, but Margaret didn't care a button. I was also attacked a great deal, but it seems to be difficult to get through my thick skin' I've written books about satire and caricature, so I'm at one with the art form.

There's a lovely quotation from Dr Johnson, who said, "I hope the day will never arrive when I shall neither be the object of contumely or ridicule, for then I shall neglected or forgotten."