The Brits Score Again in Political Satire

Veep continues the noble British tradition of drolly mocking politicians

The British television series Yes, Minister remains for me the ultimate in political satire, but on a long airplane ride I recently discovered something almost in the same class: Veep (a late discovery I know, but if you don’t own a television, airplanes are your chance to catch up on small-screen developments).

A small bit of digging revealed that the show has British origins, being a descendant of In the Loop which descended from The Thick of It which descended from Yes, Minister.

We’ve had some magnificent political satirists in the U.S., but I must say for a smaller country, the Brits sure punch above their weight in the droll mockery of politicians department.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

6 thoughts on “The Brits Score Again in Political Satire”

  1. “In the Loop” is a very entertaining take on a pretty dark chapter in US-British foreign policy. Though it’s complete fiction, I think it’s accurate in terms of the types of personalities involved and the ultimate fecklessness and careerism that undermines the dissent.

  2. Veep has picked up steam; it does a good job showing that no one really knows everything that is going on, and the human friction that results. Also, some top notch swearing…

  3. Keith, thanks so much for the link showing me that *In the Loop* is now available streaming (through Hulu as well as whatever the Amazon service is called). Years ago I saw a couple of episodes of show in New Zealand and it rendered me absolutely helpless, writhing with laughter–but until recently one had to buy DVDs in PAL format in order to watch it.

  4. Not owning a television isn’t an excuse; these days you can watch “television” on nearly any device that has a screen (thankfully not your car, yet). And Veep is indeed excellent.

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