Britain doesn’t do Lord High Executioners, but if it did, Gordon Brown would probably be the best in the world. The prospect of the Chancellor in this role occurred to me while listening again to Gilbert & Sullivan’s masterful satire, The Mikado. Ko-Ko makes his entrance with ‘a little list’ of those who are for the chop. Among the joys of W.S. Gilbert’s libretto is its invitation for a contemporary version of victims. Who better to identify them than the Clunking Fist?
Ko-Ko, The Lord High Executioner (Gordon Brown):
As this year it may happen that more taxes must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I am the Clunking Fist
So let’s start with fat-cat bosses who can shed some extra pounds
And which never would be missed, I know that they exist!
There’s the pestilential journalists who write the Telegraph
They claim I spend and squander cash — Oh, please don’t make me laugh.
All home owners with mortgages, including those in flats,
I’d like to tax their pets as well, their birds, their dogs and cats.
My credo’s grim so watch out all you viniculturists,
You’ll pay for getting pissed — don’t think that you’ll be missed!
Chorus (Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Ed Miliband):
He’s got ’em on the list — for them a nasty twist;
And they’ll none of ’em be missed — Brown is a mis’rablist.
There’s the toiling Polish plumber, and the others of his race
And the nerd industrialist — I’ll email him my list!
And the people who smoke cigarettes and puff ’em in your face,
They never would be missed — nor will the Mammonist!
Like the dealer who earns millions, on his ghastly mobile phone,
That spiv deserves the fist, because the losses aren’t his own;
And the posh chap from the public school, who dines in tails and tie,
And who ‘doesn’t go to fox hunts, but would rather like to try’;
And that singular anomaly, the business columnist —
Yes, JR’s on my list — I’m damned if he’ll be missed!
He’s got them on the list — they’ll be no escapists;
No, I don’t think they’ll be missed — Brown is a socialist! Ko-Ko
And that bloke from Banff and Buchan, and who just now is rather rife
The bold Scottish Nationalist — yes Salmond’s on my list!
All pensioners who worked hard and then saved for later life —
Their funds have not been missed — I’m sure they’ll get the gist.
As will opposition leaders of a compromising kind,
Such as — David Cameron — Sir Ming Campbell and other, tiny minds.
There’s V-A-T, and stamp duty, and petrol that’s taxed too —
The cost of filling up your tanks I’d rather leave to you.
No, it really doesn’t look good for the British motorist
For they’d none of ’em be missed — I’ll show those analysts!
You may put them on the list — from Southend to North Uist;
And they’ll none of ’em be missed — Brown is the Clunking Fist!
Jeff Randall with apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan