Alex Massie

The Poetry of Opposition

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Hosannas are due to Danny Finkelstein and Iain Martin for finding and publicising this poem written by Chris Bryant, Labour MP for the Rhondda and a shadow justice minister. It's about The Cuts and why They Are A Bad Thing. Make of it what you will.


by Chris Bryant

One arm stretched out behind my head, dipped back,

I push the other through the water’s swirl

And past my thigh before the next attack,

Propelling me, with languorous aqueous grace

I could not possibly repeat at pace.

The rhythm of the stroke, as lengths unfurl,

Calms down my daily work obsessions,

Inspires free-style inquisitive reflections,

About what happens when we all cut back.

Above me, on the polycarb’nate roof

A single leaf is twisting in the gale.

Each time I pass beneath, it spins above

And chases some imaginary tail.

When I return next week, will it be there?

And will the baths be open in a year?

And here's Mr Bryant addressing a traditional subject: Autumn.

No matter what others may say, this is Good Stuff. More MPs should write their own doggerel, rather than having it done for them by their minions.Hopefully Labour Uncut will commission more poems from Mr Bryant.

Also: this really needs to feature in the next season of The Thick Of It.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.