A Poem of Brexit – July 2016How they brought the bad news from John of Gaunt’s birthplace (Ghent) to Charlemagne’s grave (Aix). I sprang to the soapbox, and Boris, and he; I twiddled, he twaddled, we swindled all three… The Bullingdon Races I went to the polling station on the twenty-third of June, Eighteen hundred and sixty-two, on a summer’s afternoon: The Bullingdon Boys have trashed us all, they called a referendum, We’ve made our bed, and Europe’s dead, and so’s the United Kingdom. Oh me lads, ye shud a’ seen us gannin’, Passin’ the foaks upon the road just as they wor stannin’; Lots o’ lads an’ lasses there, all wi’ smiling faces, Gawn alang the Scotswood Road, to see the Blaydon Races. Look at the people of Sunderland, they voted two to one: ‘The Polish squads will take our jobs, it says so in the Sun!’ Howay the canny Japanese in charge of Nissan Motors: The Rising Sun won’t rise for long, to feed the Geordie voters. [Will there be deals for all the wheels, the Hondas and Toyotas?] [The fishermen, unfortunately, won’t escape the quotas.] O utinam sodales hoc vidissent! praeterivimus omnes in via velut stetissent! juvenesque virginesque ore subridenti, omnibus in motoribus, Equiriis intenti! Parts of Cornwall, Pottery Town, the famous Valleys of Wales! They’re all awash with Europe’s cash, it ought to have turned the scales. Own goal! own goal! Take back control! The barmy slogan caught on: Ere set of sun, two brickworks gone, in Accrington and Claughton. Ô les gars! Vous auriez dû nous voir! Les gens comme immobiles, là-bas sur le trottoir: Les gars avec les filles, sourires aux visages, Les potes vont aux votes, gare aux grands carambolages! ‘The harlot’s cry from street to street,’ as William Blake predicted, ‘Shall weave old England’s winding-sheet.’ Bad luck, the self-evicted! What’s black and white and dirty-faced? The gutter press’s pages: The Power that’s irresponsible, the Harlot down the ages. Oh me lads, ye shud a’ seen us gannin’, etc. Austerity, charity food banks, and Bullingdon George’s gambles, Disparity and dishonesty, chancy chancellor’s omnishambles! No funds for the environment, no go the global warming, Kill off the solar industries and blight the country’s farming. Ach, die Burschen! Was war das zu sehen! Wir fahren an die Leut’ vorbei, da scheint’s, als ob sie stehen! So viele Burschen, viele Mädchen, alle Gesichter lachten, Zur Wonnestund’, mit keinem Grund, das Unglück zu verachten! What were the lies, the porky pies, that mesmerised the nation? The hordes of Brussels Bureaucrats, the Turkish Occupation? The billion pounds to heal the sick, disgraceful fabrication, The now-you-see-it-now-you-don't, the prestidigitation! Oh me lads, ye shud a’ seen us gannin’, etc. At first it was the grandest dream and it was so exciting: Half Europe had agreed at last to put an end to fighting. Came years of rubbishing in the Press, the spooks, the faceless funders: Cameron, Anthony Eden, Blair! the grand historic blunders. Oh me lads, ye shud a’ seen us gannin’, etc. Where was the Labour leader? Where was anyone from Labour? Where was the solidarity and where the Love Your Neighbour? Some Britons come with turbans, some with scarves around their faces: ‘No immigrants, no migrants, no agreements!’ cry the racists. Oh me lads, ye shud a’ seen us gannin’, etc. The gaps between the North and South and rich and poor have widened: The pensions and the pounds recede, so take away our Trident! Unpick the years of careful work, as niceties turn to nasties: The health, the wealth, the Europol, the Stilton and the pasties. Oh me lads, ye shud a’ seen us gannin’, etc. Was it the northern working class? The southern comfort-zoners? The dwellers in the tenements, the pampered private owners? Unpick the years of careful work, replace it with disorder: The work of Hume, Ahern, and Blair: the peaceful Irish border! Oh me lads, ye shud a’ seen us gannin’, etc. Who’s going to pick the English fruit, and leave at end of season? Who’s even going to grow it now, with no commercial reason? Reject the grants, the bursaries, reject the friendly payments, Put lots of people out of work and tyrannise the claimants. ¡Ay, los compadres, que vernos deberían! Pasábamos a la gente como si no se moverían. Los chicos y chiquitas y las caras radiantes, a ver el espectáculo de bravos cabalgantes!