Take their attitude to terrorism. Satirists might concentrate on the government’s threat to basic liberties, as many on the Right and Left have done. Alternatively, they might turn on a judiciary whose rulings allow “Londonistan” to survive.
What no one with satirical passion would think of doing is telling tit gags Benny Hill would have rejected as not funny enough. Yet Headcases had the animated Gordon Brown explaining to Jacqui Smith that she must show more cleavage as the terror threat increases. When an attack was imminent, she must sound the alarm by appearing topless before the Commons. Meanwhile Brown, a politician who has taxed and spent on a scale beyond the dreams of the Left of the 1990s, became in ITV’s hands a Victorian Scrooge who watches every penny from his counting house desk. You could almost hear them saying, “he is Scottish and a son of the Manse so —eureka! — we will show him as a skinflint!” Conservative readers will blame the broadcasters’ liberal bias for ITV’s failure to wound or even graze. I’m sure there’s truth in the charge but suspect that a deeper “bias against understanding” was at work.