This cartoon by Adams from The Telegraph links two news stories: Labour's pledge to raise the top rate of tax to 50p and the reunion of the two surviving Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr for a special performance at the Grammys. Senior business figures have launched a strong and united attack on Labour’s tax plan, warning that Ed Miliband’s policy would threaten the recovery and cost jobs. Read more >>
The cartoon is a spoof of the cover of The Beatles 1965 Help! album. However, instead of Paul and Ringo, we have Labour leader Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls. And instead of The Fab Four (a popular nickname for The Beatles), it's The Fab Two (John and George being dead, of course). The cartoonist is being ironic — The Telegraph is a right-wing, business-friendly paper and in its leader, Tory Mayor of London Boris Johnson writes that "Ed Balls’s insistence on restoring the 50p rate shows his ignorance of how the economy works". Note too that the record company name Parlophone has been changed to Taxophone.
The original Help! album cover features the group with their arms positioned to spell out a word in flag semaphore, leading most people to assume that the band is spelling out the word HELP. However, this is not so. According to cover photographer Robert Freeman: “I had the idea of semaphore spelling out the letters H.E.L.P. but when we came to do the shot the arrangement of the arms with those letters didn’t look good. So we decided to improvise and ended up with the best graphic positioning other arms.” The best graphic positioning of The Beatles ended up spelling out out NUJV (see here for detailed graphics and more info). So in fact Miliband and Balls are spelling UJ. What's more, on the original album cover John, not Paul, did the 'U', but I'm not sure whether that's supposed to be significant. In any case, as we all know, Paul is dead.
One possible interpretation is that Miliband (like a traffic policeman) is holding up his hands to say stop, and Balls is directing traffic (i.e., taxation policy) to the (political) left. This would explain why Miliband is playing John not Paul.