15 Times British Politics Went Full 'The Thick Of It' In 2016

'The only other candidate is my left bollock with a smiley face painted on it.'

Back in September, The Huffington Post UK felt the political year had already been surreal enough to warrant comparison to legendary profanity-ridden comedy show, The Thick Of It.

In fact three months before that, the creator of the show, Armando Iannucci, ruled out a new season because he found the political landscape “so alien and awful that it’s hard to match the waves of cynicism it transmits on its own”.

Well, a lot’s happened since then so undeterred, let’s give it another go.

(Oh, and Jeremy Hunt didn’t make the list, so here’s picture to honour that.)

At first we all thought perhaps Jeremy Corbyn had injected a much needed boost of energy into his Labour leadership.


This looked great! No more beating around the bush, Jeremy was telling it like it is.


Oh no, hang on. It’s a hack. A beautiful, hilarious hack.


The Thick Of It devote an entire episode to those pesky intrusive long-lens photographers and while it was no “Bat People” memo, it was comparably embarrassing.

Steve Back

Business Secretary Greg Clark insisted having its cake and eating it is not the government’s policy towards Brexit negotiations.

Which is a shame because everybody loves cake.

If it wasn’t for the Sky News banner you’d have been forgiven for thinking this was a one-off Christmas special.

Sky News

Perhaps it’s the pained look on Corbyn’s face?

Sky News

Or maybe it’s the sheer panic on Tom Watson’s face?

Or it could just simply be the fact Corbyn’s aide is called Seamus (Milne), but whatever it is, this aborted meeting after the Labour leader invited the TV cameras in to his new-look top team in June was incredible.

Sky News

Keep your eyes on the cyclist ahead...


Also worth noting is Chris Grayling’s aide apparently trying to hide his identity badge when he realises he’s being filmed.

Right at the beginning of the year, Tory ministers visited the flood-battered town of Pooley Bridge in Cumbria to show their support.

Only they were late.

Oh, and they showed up on the wrong side of a destroyed bridge.

Leeroy Fowler/Facebook

10) When Corbyn tried to hide from the press behind a glass door

The Labour leader had just finished a speech at thinktank Class in November in which he called for “transparency and accountability to Parliament” over Brexit negotiations.

Whilst leaving the venue, political correspondent Libby Wiener asked Corbyn: “Would you be happy if Theresa May called a general election?”

Then this happened... Corbyn lived up to his word by placing a very transparent door between himself and the press.

9) When BoJo and Michael Gove accidentally won the EU referendum

Just look at BoJo’s little face.


Obviously hindsight is a glorious thing and BoJo was all smiles again when he was - to the surprise of the nation - named as foreign secretary.

The then-London Mayoral hopeful was asked by Red Carpet News TV for his views on the Bollywood film industry.

Goldsmith launched into a gushing monologue praising the awards which were held on 8 April.

The interviewer than asked: “You say you’re a Bollywood fan. Do you have a favourite actor, or a favourite Bollywood film?”

And this is when it starts to go downhill.

Goldsmith flounders and stumbles over his words, clearly stumped.

“I wouldn’t be able to... Let me think... No. I’m not going to give you one. I can’t think of a favourite,” he says.

The interviewer asks: “You can’t think of a single Bollywood film or actor?”

Goldsmith replies: “I can think of... I can’t think of a favourite, though I love the whole... I love almost everything about Bollywood.

“I love the atmosphere, I love the colour, I love the excitement. I want as much colour as possible here in London.”

7) Tom Watson’s Glasto comedown

In the aftermath of the EU referendum vote, Jeremy Corbyn’s MPs began to jump ship in droves.

Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, had been enjoying a lovely can of scrumpy up to his ankles in Glastonbury mud when it all kicked off forcing him to make a hasty exit.

Tom Watson

To be fair to the writers of The Thick Of It, this would never had made it into the show as it would have been deemed too far-fetched.

Nigel Farage heading a flotilla of boats down the Thames whilst being pursued by Bob Geldof who thought calling him a “wanker” was an effective form of protest.

It could have been straight out of Partridge though.

5) #TrainGate

Corbyn couldn’t get a seat because it was “ram-packed”.

Corbyn’s team filmed the incident as an example of the case for re-nationalising the railways.

Things weren’t quite as they seemed though and there were actually seats available.

Cue the scandal of the century: #TRAINGATE!!!

This was so cringeworthy it should come with an 18 rating.

In July the farcical Labour leadership contest saw Angela Eagle throw her hat in the ring.

She made the announcement at a press conference only the press had all left to cover Andrea Leadsom pulling out of the Tory leadership race.

3) BoJo gets promoted, Angela Eagle loses her shit

Angela again.

This one simply speaks for itself.

The former Mayor of London was branded a Nazi apologist by MPs from his own party on a day that surpassed surreal.

Simpler times indeed...

1) Leadsom4Leader

The t-shirts. The chant. The fact Andrea Leadsom wasn’t even there because she got a lift.

It’s difficult to pin down exactly why this episode was so terrible but then perhaps humans simply haven’t evolved to comprehend such things.

Led by a slightly awkward MP Tim Loughton, the poshest, most polite demonstration in Westminster’s history snaked its way through London’s streets on Thursday morning.

The Guardian’s Alex Hern put it best...

Roll on 2017.