In Competition No. 3103 you were invited to submit a Shakespearean soliloquy delivered by one of the contenders for the Tory leadership in which they consider their pitch for the top job. Though many chose to plug the gap created by Boris Johnson’s public reticence, there was a sprinkling of his fellow hopefuls. Most are now out of the running, but they get one final hearing below.
A round of raucous applause for the winners, who take £20 each. And commiserations to the unlucky losers.
Away with hustings, pish to protocol!
I am the one convincing candidate
To lead our nation through these troublous times.
My rivals — ill-starr’d, ineffectual oafs,
Crass corner-boys, dim double-breasted spivs,
Main-chance manipulators, cheap qui-vivers.
Am I not ev’ry inch the true blue Tory
Born to the drapes and traps of privilege
(Oh, I am out! — I mean ‘of governance’);
Well-bred and witty, worldly-wise and winsome,
Eminently suitable for office?
My drear detractors need no longer sigh
‘Alas, poor has-been controversial clown,
Blond-bumbling polyglot philanderer’ —
The hour is come: Now, Gods, stand up for Boris!’
Mike Morrison/Boris Johnson
’Tis now the very pitching time of night.
Now must I fashion discourse that will sway
The media to digest th’incredible.
Now could I snort a line for comfort’s sake,
But that mine honesty has served me ill,
The truth a weapon for mendacious foes.
Fie on it! Oh fie! When candour’s turn’d
By envious caitiffs to fell purposes,
Nature herself is outraged, and the vile
(I name not Boris) grow unseemly grand,
While I am slighted for an ancient sin.
Once holder of great offices of state,
I now must coax and pander to my peers,
Then to the pond life, for my due reward.
’Tis well my view is long. I do not sigh
That May is past; my thoughts run to July.
Basil Ransome-Davies/Michael Gove
Three truths prophetic here this day are told
As happy prologues to my firm intent:
‘The second female Thane — but not the last!’
Then thus: ‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out.