Nine Propositions Regarding Capitalist Politics
Tuesday, 21 May 2024 15:53

Nine Propositions Regarding Capitalist Politics

Published in Poetry

Nine Propositions Regarding Capitalist Politics

by David Betteridge

For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken...
- Mark 4:25

One It is easier to win an election than to run a
government.

Two It is easier to ruin an economy
than to bother to do due diligence

Three It is easier to blame others for our crimes
than to admit any error ourselves.

Four There is no lie too big or too blatant
that a politician should refrain from uttering it.

Five It is better to pile extra burdens on the poor,
even to the point of killing them,
than to countenance losing our riches.

Six There is no disaster that may befall a nation
that does not present a good opportunity for us to make profits.
Where such an opportunity does not exist,
it falls to government to create one.

Seven There must be no end to our freedom to pursue profit,
and no end to the power that safeguards that freedom.
Where voices are raised in opposition,
we must buy them off, or rubbish them, or crush them.

Eight Life is to be seen, and lived,
as an arena for competition, not cooperation.
Blessed are the strong.

Nine Tiger, tiger burning bright
In the jungle of the Right.
What mortal mind or agency
Dares challenge our supremacy?

Blind Spot
Tuesday, 21 May 2024 15:53

Blind Spot

Published in Poetry

Blind Spot

by Paul Francis

She’s had to ditch that school job, which she loved;
some supermarket shifts will pay the bills.
She’s haunted by the story of a kid
who mimes that he is eating, every day,
taking an empty lunchbox into school.
And on the news, this big man in a suit
says he’ll be cutting taxes on the rich.

He thinks he sees it all. He can’t see her
because he’s focussed on the nods and smiles
as donors pat his back, congratulate
their protégé, and top up his champagne.
There will be turbulence, but he’ll maintain
this course. He tells them what they want to hear.
“It’s just the start. There will be more to come.”

The Day and The Hour
Tuesday, 21 May 2024 15:53

The Day and The Hour

Published in Poetry

The Day and The Hour

by David Betteridge

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One:

What distinguishes the worst of architects from the best
of bees is this: that the architects raise their structures
in imagination before they build them in reality...
- Karl Marx

Where there is no vision,
the psalmist sang,
the people perish.

Has our vision retrospective scope, we ask,
with eyes in the back of its memory's mind?
No? Then it falls short, vulnerable from behind.

Has our vision close scrutiny of things
that may not seem at first significant -
things that are routine, or in the dark,
maybe at the head of leadership,
or in our ranks, or in the corners
of our unexamined hearts:
things that can turn to danger, quick as a wink?

Experience instructs us:
before we act, think!

Has our vision a future tense, keen
to look across to tomorrow's further shore,
to envisage what might be different from today,
and how, in our journey there, we might follow
the best-considered way?

As a sculptor sees the contours of a statue
already shaping in an uncut block of stone,
or as an athlete first conceives a lift, or jump, or throw,
or run, and holds it within the grasp of mind,
cherishing it even before the act begins,
so, as a wise saw says, each last one of us must think
and feel, even in the welter of our present woes,
as if we were already citizens of a better land,
in its early days.

Two:

What if that other voice we all know so well responds by saying,
"We say no, and we are the state"?
Well we say yes – and we are the people.
- Canon Kenyon Wright

Purblind, some of us let a clown run rings
around us, unaware his circus act had allies
massed in his defence, brigade upon brigade
of adepts in the wars of both position
and manoeuvre, weaponised.

Not seeing straight, or thinking straight,
we set our sights on wrong goals,
and, forsaking loyalties
and purposes and roots, got bewildernessed
in ruinous wrong ways.

As the clown banged his tin drum,
even if we did not see the peril in its signs,
how did we not hear the horror
in its beat, its dead-march that betokened
the breaking of laws and lives,
as again and again has happened
in carnivals of evil down the years?
How did we not smell the reek
that our enemies' cruel arrogance exudes?
Why did we not sense earlier the creeping-up
and worsening of our fears?

Never as now have our enemies
so carelessly self-revealed
their empty souls and ravening greed,
their two-facedness,
their lethal recklessness in word and deed.

These hellish handcart drivers,
untroubled by any fear or shame,
these crass demolishers of culture,
these sociopaths in smart suits,
these devotees of global smash and grab,
ignorant or contemptuous of history and its gains,
these strangers to sanity and to truth,
these bringers of death,
see how they stand now: exposed as guilty,
red-handed, few options left, run out of breath.

Now's the day, and now's the hour,
Burns wrote, and sang.
Given our enemies are in disarray,
disuniting into faction fights, imperilling the safety
of the state, then we have one clear choice,
in fact it is imperative:
as one to make a stand, contesting the continuance
of their misrule, asserting our claim of right
to governance, at last, of this beleaguered land.

Three:

The most beautiful of all doubts is when the downtrodden
and despondent raise their heads
and stop believing in the strength of their oppressors...
- Bertolt Brecht

In a flash, in a flood, from memory's store,
from a remembered Bible story book,
a picture comes to mind:
Pharaoh's troops in turmoil, tossed
with their weapons and their useless chariots
by the Red Sea's power.

Like matchstick men they meet their end
as walls of water - that had parted long enough
to let Moses and his people through -
now thunder on their hostile heads.

Now's the day, and now's the hour,
for both the victorious living
and the disarmed dead.

Was this a scene that Brecht envisaged
when he wrote his poem praising doubt,
noting how "invincible armies" can be put to flight,
"headlong", while "impregnable strongholds" fall,
and ancient errors, valorised as truth,
are in the end put right.

In praising the doubt that tests decisions
"like a bad penny", Brecht dispraised the doubt
that is despair, that even under danger
asks too many questions, fearful to act,
opting out.

Divers exploring the Red Sea's bed found
shell-encrusted chariot wheels down there,
relics of an era's end and a bold new chapter's start,
when a page was turned, from foul to fair.

What relics from today's divisions
and impending shift of power will future history retrieve,
to put in picture books or heritage museums:
keys to safe deposits, maybe, and yachts,
and limousines, and other trappings
of a wasteful Few, juxtaposed with the sad remains
of a Many cast aside, like shards, in early graves
or battlefields, to be rendered back to view,
emblems of a time when a people
almost perished?

Best evidence of all will be,
growing from its early days to a mature peace,
a new-made land, negating what we now see,
living proof that where there's vision,
we, the people, flourish.

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Please Be Advised
Tuesday, 21 May 2024 15:53

Please Be Advised

Published in Poetry

Please Be Advised

by Helen Bovaird Ryan

I’d just like to start this morning by welcoming you one and all
To this wonderful institution Our government, many thanks for making the call
to join our brigade of stalwarts, you’ve now boarded the Boris-Rishi-Liz Bus,
you’ve made the grade, you’re vetted, you’re now officially one of us.

So that’s all very lovely and charming, but I feel it would be remiss
not to give you each fair warning - this job comes with perks but also risks
It’s a place of plenty, huge opportunity but also many pitfalls
So I’d like to begin by explaining we’ve created a brand new protocol

Please open the booklets in your folders. It’s so boring I won’t read it all
But I expect you to glance at the contents, before shredding it. Your call.
A. Ensure you’ve completely covered your back
B. Never leave yourself exposed, make sure to tighten any slack
C. Don’t give a single glimpse into life at Number Ten,
you’ll soon discover its very walls listen.

So if you put those principles at the top of your new list
You’ll avoid placing the government in the path of possible risk
And of course, my dear friends, that is our ultimate goal here
to hold power ad infinitum, that’s a given, never fear.

Moving on, there’s the thorny issue of dealing with THE PRESS
And here, I think you’ll find we’ve established good redress
If you look at your handout - please turn to page 95
There’s a list of handy phrases that I’ll ask you to memorise

....THE HONEST ANSWER IS….
... AS FAR AS I’M AWARE....
....I’M VERY GLAD YOU ASKED THAT…
....IT’S JUST BECAUSE WE CARE....
....THAT’S DESPICABLE, DEPLORABLE,
UNACCEPTABLE, THAT’S WRONG....
....LET ME BEGIN BY SAYING....
....MOVING FORWARD, MOVING ON....
....WE TACKLE THE BIG ISSUES....
....THERE WAS NEVER ANY QUESTION....
....I HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF....
....IT WAS NEVER OUR INTENTION....
....LOOK AT OUR TRACK RECORD.... and so on and so forth,

you get the picture, don’t you? The press just can’t handle the truth.

The way to get the job done, is to avoid answers as above. Like I say
the press will be quite happy to defer and go away.
The key thing to remember is they’re constrained by small time-bites
So stall, fob them off with cliches. They’ll smile in polite delight.

Okay there you have it, I wish you well my friends,
there’s a party soon in room 101, I expect you to attend.
If you follow all my guidelines, let me assure each one of you
Number Ten will be your perfect home till 2052.