Note: I wrote this poem in response to a third-year university assignment where we were tasked with adapting Romeo & Juliet, to be read out in class. My fellow students on the whole opted to perform a retelling of the story from a peripheral character’s perspective, or similar, but I went for this instead, using the language of Shakespeare’s tragedy to convey a somewhat different message. It was shortly after David Cameron had been elected as Prime Minister for the first time.
For context, I feel it is important to add that, while I still consider myself to be left-wing, the current preponderance of far-left, neo-Marxist voices spouting ideological identity politics across culture, have by default pushed my politics somewhat toward the centre. So I suppose I would now consider myself more of a classical liberal, if one must label these things.
One old-boys’ club, unmatch’d in villainy
(In fair Westminster, where we lay our scene),
Takes power once more in ill-veiled enmity,
Impoverished blood to spill and wealth to glean.
And from its fascist zeal, our common foe
Compels humanity to take its life―
Whose misadventured, piteous death-throe
Plunges this “sceptr’d isle” into class-war strife.
Their imitation of welfare and social health,
Which once they swore they never would remove,
Lie dying, victims of five years of stealth,
And now, they’re really getting in their groove;
So if you hope the next five years to pass,
Bend over and hold on to your arse…
But soft! I hear the shattering of shop windows as they break,
The fire of riots, glowing in the East.
Didn’t we do well to quell a nation’s hope? The scope of our achievement is full worthy of an austere champagne feast!
Old chums, it’s time to release *nudge-nudge wink-wink* the full and creeping misery of our unrelenting Capitalist beast:
Hi-Ho! We’ll shaft them while they work
And we won’t stop until they’re fleeced,
Our pockets lined,
Our pals’ palms greased,
And all semblance of solidarity is
In the post-mortem we will say,
“Well, they did invite us in. It’s just our nature to bleed them dry, We can’t help it if everything they have and are is a proposition just too tempting.
Yes, your Honour, we fucked them.
We fucked them, but we swear upon our desiccated souls they were consenting.”
They may bite their thumbs at us, but we’ll just stick them in a screw.
Oh yes, we’ll claim we stand together, but we within these walls all know that all we really stand for is me and all of you and of course that privileged few who line our coffers with their gains made at the proles’ expense;
And we’ll dispense with the dissenters, but we’ll fear no consequence.
We’ll chide them and deride them, all because we can’t abide them–
We’ll let Murdoch and his minions misinform them and divide them.
What’s in a name?
That which we call a Pole by any other name would smell as garlicky.
Oh yes, of course we’ll take their taxes,
But our pocket-press should still disseminate the hate against the rest:
We really ought not be picky.
When there’s no strength in infrastructure I’ll cast a plague on all their houses!
Welfare? NHS? I hate the words as I hate benefits and all Trade Unions!
Oh! If you have a fortune, I’m your multi-tool–
I can chop and slice and dice;
I’ll hammer home all our reforms and put the squeeze on like a vice.
But comrades, let’s not forget that it behoves us to *act* nice.
Take it in what sense thou wilt, wherefore art thou surprised?
All the sponging, lazy shirkers had to do was dig a little deeper and they just might have surmised that all my words are a smoke, made with the fume of lies.
Yes, our corruption is as boundless as the sea,
For never was a story of more depravity than this of Tory rule and the strangulation of our country.