Memorabilia: Jackie Doyle-Price MP

Written by Jackie Doyle-Price MP on 21 October 2013 in Culture
Thurrock’s MP recalls the golden age of political satire, via a rather special pair of slippers

While today’s satires in the shape of The Thick of It and 2012 are pretty good, those of us who grew up in the 1980s had the excellent Spitting Image to inform and provoke us. It is interesting to speculate how the team might represent the current crop of political leaders, and I suspect that all are glad that they have escaped ridicule from that particular quarter. David Steel never recovered from being portrayed as the fawning figure living in David Owen’s pocket.

The puppet imagery is, however, iconic. The images were reproduced as collectable items including, as I recall, a range of pet toys.

These ‘Maggie and Neil’ slippers were given to me in 1992 as a leaving present when I left my job with South Yorkshire Police. Interestingly the image of the red rose has worn away over the years, but appropriately the Conservative Party torch still burns brightly.

They are rather fun. It would also be fun perhaps to have some coalition bedslippers but I fear that David Cameron and Nick Clegg are too handsome to caricature! Recalling Spitting Image is a reminder that the ideological debates in the ‘80s were much more polarised than they are today. Perhaps that is why people vote less and are less engaged. In winning the battle of ideas Margaret Thatcher’s transformation of politics is to rob the satirists of their material.

Tags: Issue 62

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