Simon Hoggart, R.I.P.

One of the great things about the Internet is having access to the best written newspaper in the English speaking world, The Guardian. I’ve been reading it for many, many moons and the first thing I do is to check and see if there’s anything new by political sketch writer, columnist, and all around satirical genius, Simon Hoggart. I looked this morning and learned instead that he had died at the age of 67.

The core of Simon’s genius was finding hilarity in the daily Parliamentary grind and producing comedic gold. He also knew his politics inside and out, including the American variety. He spent 4 years working in the US & A ,and liked Americans as much as he disliked Mrs. Thatcher, George Osborne, and Tony Benn. Here is a Hoggartian nugget about a certain former US President’s speech to the Labour Party conference in 2006:

“The former president was brilliant, dazzling, charismatic, seductive and completely shameless. He wooed them all the time. He didn’t stop. He cast his eyes down coyly. Then he raised his head, smiled, and looked slowly round the audience, gazing deep into their eyes. He is the Princess Di of the political world …”

Simon’s column is still online at the Guardian. If you haven’t read his stuff, check it out and if you have, go back for a bit of re-reading. The world of political satire has lost one of its giants.I’ll let him have the last word with a paragraph from his last column, which was a year in review spectacular:

In Britain, it was a year of ceremonial – births, deaths, and the first Wimbledon men’s champion for 77 years.We lost Margaret Thatcher, who proved as divisive in death as she ever was in life. Among Tories her passing was greeted as if we had lost a national saint. In the north she was burned in effigy. Even as her funeral procession wound through London streets some faced the cortege and bowed their heads in respect; others turned their backs. What few people seemed able to do was face the fact that she got some things right, and others horribly wrong; that she wasn’t evil so much as ludicrously overconfident in her judgments. The new pope may have renounced his own infallibility, but she never did.