Lucy Vickery

Lines on law

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In Competition No. 2881 you were invited to do as Carol Ann Duffy has done and provide an amusing poem about a piece of government legislation. The first line of her poem ‘22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax’, ‘Because the badgers are moving the goalposts’, is, of course, a reference to environment secretary Owen Paterson’s unfortunate attempt to explain the government’s failure to reach cull targets.

Adrian Fry was entertaining on the Chancel Repair Bill. Commendations, too, to Mike Morrison, Virginia Price Evans, Max Ross and John Whitworth. Alan Millard takes the bonus fiver. The rest get £25 each.

’Twas legislation heaven-sent,

A spark of pure enlightenment,

That glorious Act of Parliament

Which crowned the days of yore:

Austerity throughout the land,

Delights denied, indulgence damned,

The ecstasy of Christmas banned

In 1644.

O Cameron, follow Cromwell’s lead

And have us all from Christmas freed

By legislation which, indeed,

Would fervently be backed!

We’ve had our fill of Christmas fare,

The annual frenzy drives us spare,

Restore the law, be Cromwell’s heir

And reinstate the Act!

Alan Millard

A stranded sturgeon when it’s seen

must be surrendered to the Queen

and then what happens to the fish

depends upon the royal wish.

But what, one wonders, should one do

if Nicola comes into view

sunbathing on some British beach

believing she is out of reach?

Should she be ferried from the sands

to London, as the Law demands,

or thrown back, by those who caught her,

into the ocean’s oily water?

No doubt she’d make a dainty dish,

a first-class fighter of a fish,

which, served with haggis to impress,

would have her Highness screaming: ‘YES!’

Frank McDonald

We, Henry, have a scheme to fill the coffers

Of our estate, impov’rished by the greed

And profligacy of disloyal scoffers

Possessing chambers far beyond their need.

The Queen herself hath but a single bedroom,

The ceiling low, which causes her to stoop.

(Yet soon enough, she’ll have no need for headroom;

That pretty neck outstretched, her head shall droop.)

Henceforth, an imposition shall be raised

On all who have more bedrooms than required.

Our Chancellor, good Cromwell, is amazed:

‘Your Majesty, the notion is inspired!’

The Act is just, for we ourselves did frame it,

And now decree ‘The Sleeping-Chamber Tax’.

But those who would dishonor or defame it

Shall have a sev’rance payment — from the axe.

Brian Allgar

It’s silly to hoard your pension pot;

annuity rates are diddly-squat.

Now the government’s letting you blow the lot

on the latest vote-catching scheme they’ve got.

So, empty your pension pot. Don’t go gently

into retirement. Go by Bentley,

Rolls, Bugatti or Maserati

courtesy of the Tory party.

Or swap the lot for women and song

and a month in the sun on Necker.

Just blow the lot. You can’t go wrong,

says the Chancellor of the Exchequer

who quick as a flash will snaffle the lot —

the reason he’s keen to commend it —

by charging you tax when you cash your pot

and VAT when you spend it.

Martin Parker

Green, green the promises

Enshrined in statute law;

No time for Doubting Thomases

In this new holy war.

Let fossil fuel be left to lie

Untroubled in its bed:

In future we’ll use sun and sky

To give us power instead.

No matter that the sun may dim,

Air be as often still,

We’ll cater for that interim

By force of faith and will.

In pious penance as a nation

We’ll snare the carbon snark

And in our proud self-abnegation

Leap into the dark.

W.J. Webster

My dearest one, you know I would adore you

To be my princess and my queen some day;

I’d love to see the people bow before you,

But the Act of Settlement is in the way.

If your divorce were all, we’d be in clover,

Since Grandpa Charles has triumphed in the fray;

The bigamy is easily got over,

But the Act of Settlement is in the way.

Your prison record wouldn’t scare the nation,

A PR firm would find that children’s play;

Your husband well deserved his immolation,

But the Act of Settlement is in the way.

If you had only offered goats to Brahma,

It’s no one else’s business how you pray;

But since you are a Catholic, my charmer,

The Act of Settlement is in the way.

S.E.G. Hopkin

No. 2884: hair brained

You are invited to submit a poem in praise or dispraise of beards. Please email entries (16 lines maximum) to by midday on 4 February.