Blair’s Advice

Blair’s Advice
on hearing tell of his column in Sunday’s Observer

Easy to say,
you’d rather make loud love
to Lord Prescott, or have
your face smashed between
Sir Cyril Smith’s quivering cheeks
than read Tony Blair on how
the motorway to the mountaintop
he envisages lies
through the centre ground;
when you know neither
gentleman’s available, right
here right now, to take you.

We need to make voting Labour pleasurable
for call centre managers and
estate agents of a certain age
as lowering their roasting
menopausal testicles
into a nice cold bath.

To this end, we need a leader
with ideas thrilling
as a dripping cistern,
a man (or woman) likely conceived during
a Conservative Association dinner
somewhere in darkest Buckinghamshire;

who, while his or her fellow students
were thoughtlessly dancing the blues,
bravely danced the beige;
a person of exemplary character apart
from that one conviction for stealing
the brass handles off
their own father’s coffin.

We must offer hope
to those who aspire to shop
for gourmet sausage meat
at Waitrose, and not
waste time on people who perspire
as they rifle through packets
of past-their-use-by-date
picnic ham at Aldi.

17/5/15

KEVIN HIGGINS

Kevin Higgins’s poetry features in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010) and in the recent anthology The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Edited by Neil Astley, Bloodaxe April 2014). The Ghost In The Lobby (Salmon, Spring 2014) is Kevin’s fourth collection of poems. Kevin’s blog is http://mentioningthewar.blogspot.com

18 comments on “Blair’s Advice

  1. No to EU on said:

    “Poets have only ever commented upon elections the point is to win”

    And Blair was good at that

  2. George Hallam on said:

    No to EU: Poets have only ever commented upon elections ..

    On a General Election

    The accursed power which stands on Privilege
    (And goes with Women, and Champagne and Bridge)
    Broke — and Democracy resumed her reign:
    (Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne).

    Hilaire Belloc

  3. Vanya on said:

    George Hallam: On a General Election

    The accursed power which stands on Privilege
    (And goes with Women, and Champagne and Bridge)
    Broke — and Democracy resumed her reign:
    (Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne).

    Hilaire Belloc

    Yes, he wasn’t big on elections old Hilaire, was he?

    He certainly didn’t respect the result of the one in Spain in 1936.

  4. Joseph on said:

    The poem is not on his blog. I went there to check if this title is correct:

    “Blair’s Advice
    on hearing tell of his column in Sunday’s Observer”.

    Does not make grammatical sense?

  5. George Hallam on said:

    Vanya: Yes, he wasn’t big on elections old Hilaire, was he?
    He certainly didn’t respect the result of the one in Spain in 1936.

    Belloc was elected as a Liberal MP (South Salford) at the 1906 General Election. At that time he was a Fabian and was critical of the timidity of the Cambell-Bannerman government.

    Perhaps this explains the poem? I don’t know when it was written.

    By 1912 Belloc had moved to the ‘right’, if you like that way of describing a person’s politics. As an orthodox Roman Catholic it’s not surprising he was not happy with the result of the 1936 Spanish election.

  6. No to EU on said:

    Ian Cameron: Y…..A…..W…..N……………………………..!

    But the total electoral demolishing of Labour is of key importance to activists

  7. George Hallam,

    He became what might be called a medievalist, didn’t he? He thought that utopia would be a feudal arrangement. I think he’s a perfect example of what Raymond Williams called ‘residual’ culture. He used the culture of the past to critique the corruption of the present…a bit like Peter Hitchens.

  8. Vanya on said:

    #10 Dostoevsky was initially a radical and in fact was imprisoned and subjected to a mock execution by the Tsarist authorities.

    He became a classic reactionary, extolling the spiritual values of Mother Russia, the Orthodox church and a harsh critic of liberalism, socialism and democracy. He famously wrote a critique of trial by jury after the future Menshevik Vera Zasulich was acquitted of a bomb attack on a member of the Tsarist royal family.

    However, his observations about the horrors of life for ordinary people, particularly the poor, and the corruption endemic in Russian society were possibly just as harsh, and became the subject of a Soviet publication printed I think in 1970 entitled Re-Reading Dostoevesky. Can’t find where I put the copy I used to have so I can’t quote the name of the author.

  9. Andy Newman on said:

    Michael Rosen: He thought that utopia would be a feudal arrangement.

    Not necessarily a reactionary position, as both RH Tawney and the Guild Socialists, who included at one time GDH Cole, were informed by the doctrine of organicism.

    One could plausibly argue that a socialist society might more easily incorporate aspects of feudalist corporatism than it could “enlightenment” ideas of individual entitlement

  10. Andy Newman on said:

    Michael Rosen: He used the culture of the past to critique the corruption of the present…a bit like Peter Hitchens.

    This is a long standing tradition, especially useful as a mechanism for disseminating oppositional ideas in a period of political repression.

    Famously Tacitus, under the reign of the tyrant Domitian, wrote Agricola, which in describing the republican virtues of the famous general contained an implicit criticism of Domitian’s self-serving court, and in imagining the critique of Rome from the vanquished Britons, Tacitus was able to put words into their mouths describing Domitian’s rule. Although of course he was writing of events from a previous era, the point would not have been lost on his readers

  11. Ian Cameron on said:

    No to EU,

    Who would’ve ever guessed that …… Y……A…..W……N…….!!!!

    I’m only a 77 year old sarf London activist sprog.

  12. Ian Cameron on said:

    No to EU,

    …..and tomorrow I’m off to see the movie “WE ARE MANY” … course I aint got any idea why ….. I’m just sleep walking …… in Robin Cook and David Kelly’s pyjamas…..