One technique commonly employed by editorial cartoonists is to use a minor news story (or 'fait divers' as they say in French) to comment on a more important one, and this cartoon by Christian Adams from The Daily Telegraph is a good example of that.
The minor story concerns a pleasure cruiser that got stuck underneath a bridge on the River Thames last Saturday. The 40ft-long boat was too high to pass through Chertsey Bridge in Surrey and became wedged under the archway. It is thought the skipper misjudged how much the river level had risen because of the recent wet weather and underestimated the clearance needed to get through. Full story >>
In Adams's cartoon, the (damaged) boat (ironically renamed 'The Jolly Coalition') has become a metaphor for the UK's coalition government. Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg are standing on the prow. Cameron says, "We're staying right here 'til 2015". The reference here is to Cameron and Clegg's joint news conference on Monday, during which the two party leaders put on a show of unity, saying they would stay together until 2015 to try to reduce a large budget deficit despite policy differences over the European Union and state handouts. Full story >>
The message of the cartoon is open to interpretation, but I take it to mean that, due to circumstances (i.e., not wanting to have an early election), Cameron and Clegg are stuck with each other whether they like it or not (and they probably don't) until the next scheduled General Election in 2015. There's also the idea that the coalition is stuck in a rut (or under a bridge), and is not likely to achieve much during the rest of this parliament. Finally, Cameron could be compared to the blundering skipper, attempting to make the best of a bad job, i.e., his party's marriage of convenience with the Lib Dems.