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Competition

Competition: Political verse

14 July 2012

6:00 AM

14 July 2012

6:00 AM

In Competition No. 2754 you were invited to submit an example from the Selected Poems of a contemporary politician.

Politician-poets have met with varying degrees of success. While Jimmy Carter’s efforts prompted literary heavyweight Harold Bloom to pronounce him ‘in my judgment literally the worst poet in the United States’, the youthful dabblings of Barack Obama have been judged more kindly. Closer to home, Dominique de Villepin has published several well received collections of poetry.

So how did your chosen victims fare? Step forward, Dennis Skinner, George Galloway, Nicolas Sarkozy and Tony Blair. Brian Murdoch as Alex Salmond channelling William McGonagall takes £35. The rest get £30.

T’will be in the year of two thousand and fourteen
That we shall have the greatest referendum ever
seen,
And Bonnie Scotland shall from Albion become free
For the first time since we took them over in six-
teen-o-three
When wee King Jamie sat on the English throne.
And although naebody even wanted to hack my
‘phone
And I might look a bit like Shrek (only less green),
First Minister Salmond will soon replace yon
English queen,
And also English poets like Milton and
what’d’yecall’em all,
Who’re never as guid as Burns, or me, or the great
McGonagall.
I’m a major figure on the international stage
today,
Even if they dinnae always ken where it is I’m frae,
So in far California I meet them with a smile
Though they usually think Scotland’s part of Erin’s
Isle,
And for Chinese human rights I’ve nae worries or
cares
Because they lent Edinburgh two fine fat panda
bears.
Brian Murdoch

Bless this House! It gives me leave
To shout down, torment, nag and peeve
The toffs that speak in accents posh,
More fun than cockroaches to squash.
I’m licensed to abuse and sting
And nobody can do a thing.
Speakers have come and Speakers gone,
But Bolsover’s proud beast lives on.

Bless this House! No place can beat
My very own strategic seat.
Below the mic I lurk, and rise
To rake the House with custard pies.
Whate’er the cause I’m free to swipe,
No barb too sharp, no fruit too ripe.
I’ll keep it up until I die,
Long after I’ve forgotten why.
Noel Petty


I, Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarkozy,
Was running for President, frightfully cosy
With Angela Merkel; the future was rosy;
I’d even acquired a new wife.

I, Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarkozy,
Berated the shiftless, the idle, the dozy.
The wealthy adored me; they sent me a posy
For shielding their fortunes from strife.

I, Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarkozy,
Ran second to Hollande — he’s vulgar and prosy,
So how did he beat me, when everyone knows he
Eats peas off the back of his knife?

I, Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarkozy,
Run faster and faster, while others just mosey,
But now, with the judges becoming so nosey,
I may have to run for my life.
Brian Allgar

When I was nine-and-forty
I heard wise Frenchmen say,
‘Give notes and pounds and euros
But not good faith away;
Give votes away and vetoes
But keep your honour free.’
But I was nine-and-forty
And George Bush talked to me.

When I was nine-and-forty
I heard men say again,
‘The lie that launches war’s crime
Is ever told in vain;
‘Tis paid in blood for all time
And sullies every vow.’
And I am ten-and-forty,
And who believes me now?
Nigel Stuart

I’ve travelled all around the world from Dundee
to Iraq.
I’ve been unjustly cast aside but I keep coming back.
They’ve labelled me a maverick. I think that’s
quite correct.
You’ll see nobody’s brand on me, I’ve too much
self-respect.

My vices? None to speak of (the occasional cigar),
I’m not the kind you’ll witness propping up the
Members’ Bar.
I have no use for alcohol. I’ve never once got
wrecked.
My body is a temple and I treat it with respect.

They mock me for cavorting in a playful tv show.
The media paint me monstrous but what do the
media know?
They claim I flattered Saddam, but I didn’t genuflect.
I simply gave the people he oppressed their due
respect.

‘Street corner Cromwell’? ‘Gorgeous George?’ I
wear the tags with pride.
I’m always in the thick of it. I never run and hide.
But moi, an egomaniac? It’s a slander I reject.
My honour and integrity are absolute. Respect!
Basil Ransome-Davies

2757: Oh! what a horrible morning!

Whatever other problems they may have, characters in musicals never seem to have to suffer the petty tribulations of everyday life. Competitors are invited to redress the balance by introducing a note of unwelcome reality into a song from a musical (16 lines max.). Please email entries, wherever possible, to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 25 July.


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