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I wrote the poem below in the summer of 2015. David Cameron had won a slim majority in the House of Commons and had been returned by the country to 10 Downing Street.

Though this has nothing to do with the poem, I remember that England were getting hammered by Australia at Lord’s.

I wrote the poem having used Tim Dooley‘s poem Directive, from his marvellous pamphlet The Secret Ministry (Smith/Doorstop, 2001), in a writing workshop.

Until the political events of recent weeks I had completely forgotten I had written it. I don’t think it is a patch on Tim’s original, but am nevertheless pleased to see that it seems to speak about the moment we are trying to live through just now, whether the UK leaves the EU without a deal later tonight or not.


(after Tim Dooley)


State-approved cookery books
in every emporium of food.
Information concerning lipids
in dayglo font between speeches.

The weather: we can change it.
Compulsory viewing of sport
in multi-coloured attire.
Babies to be named in ceremonies at these events.

The roads: now One Road.
24/7 litter; 24/7 religion; daily worship
of the tank.
Laughter on prescription.

No longer will the mouse tremble
beneath the kestrel’s talons.
Pleasant lands for sale, unseen dividends for all.
Enjoy who you voted for.


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