BoJo: a Litany
by Christopher Norris
I hate your lies, the monstrous lot
Of lies you’ve told to save your skin,
To line your pockets, take a shot
At some old rival, seek to pin
The blame elsewhere, pretend you’ve got
A half-way truthful tale to spin,
Or tell the world you’re really not
That scheming bastard out to win
A bit more time before the plot
Unravels and you end up in
Deep shit, or gaol, or a tight spot
Where your glib tongue and oafish grin
Won’t ease the punishment one jot
Or help you take it on the chin.
I hate your fake patrician ways,
Your indolence, your languid drawl,
Your mindless yawp, your fool displays
Of boorishness, your flaccid sprawl
On that front bench, the way they glaze,
Those eyes of yours, when some close call
Gets through at Question Time, the maze
Of lies, brush-offs, attempts to stall
For time, or feeble jokes to raise
A laugh from crass back-benchers – all
These things I hate, and count the days
Until at last the blinkers fall,
You’re naked in the public gaze
And off to gaol for the long haul.
I hate your Eton-Oxford-primed veneer
Of civilized behavior, wit,
And what does service in that sphere
As intellect, though scarcely fit
To hide your lack of mental gear,
Your fallback mode of trueborn Brit
With speech to prove it: Eton sneer
Or Oxford posh, the standard kit
For those whose choices of career –
Say, politics or crime – admit
No end of vicious traits or sheer
Stupidity but tell them ‘quit!’
If class and breeding don’t appear
Quite right to make their role legit.
Another thing I hate: how your
Vile defects all bespeak the same
Root vice, how rot infects the core
Of BoJo-being, how your name
Alone’s enough for us to score
A moral bull’s-eye – lack of shame,
The crook’s last alibi, the store
Of handy get-outs when the game
Goes wrong, the fraudster’s bottom drawer
Of killer notes to help defame
Some pesky journalist or shore
Your last defences up when blame,
At last, lies squarely at your door
And justice comes to stake its claim.
But, truth to tell, what I most hate
Is how those COVID victims died
In tens of thousands, how the rate
Sky-rocketed because you tried
To fix the numbers, under-state
The risks, keep your rich chums onside,
Give each big contract to some mate
Of yours with zero bona fide,
Put lockdowns off till it’s too late,
Bluff your way through, let COVID ride,
Leave care-home dwellers to their fate,
Make sure the tabloid hacks provide
Your cover, then sit back and wait
As each new variant hits its stride.
The Bodyguard’s Tale
by Christopher Norris
You can call me his chief protector,
You can call me his hired gun,
You can call me Chief Inspector
Since it’s one of the jobs I’ve done.
Started off in the private sector,
Looking out for Number One –
I’d have taken on Hannibal Lecter
With the bunch I used to run!
Then I joined the Old Bill as Director
Of Ops for his days in the sun
When we’d duff up the odd objector
While the monster was out having fun.
Yet I thought: who’d be poacher-turned-keeper
If ‘security’ means you’re employed
Just to shelter this jerk from the Reaper,
This cock of the walk who’s destroyed
Human lives by the thousand (much cheaper
Than the health-care he enjoyed!),
Whose lies twist and cling like a creeper,
Whose stunts are pure celluloid,
And whose harms to the country strike deeper
Than a germ-bearing asteroid.
Then I thought: what are bodyguards there for
In such desperate times as these
When the top guy we’re summoned to care for
Has brought the whole land to its knees?
It’s not monsters like him we prepare for,
Not scoundrels who loll at their ease
While the people they’ve no time to spare for
Die in droves from a viral disease
And the ‘freedom’ he wants a fanfare for
Is the freedom to die as we please.
A dilemma, but soon I decided
Where my best course of action lay
If this old hired gun were now guided
To bring predator down, not prey.
Oh, the papers will feast on it: ‘why did
Such a cool hand as him go astray?’,
And I’ll tell them: ‘It’s one thing I’ve prided
Myself on – still having the say
When duty and right are divided
And duty just has to give way’.
No denying the hour was a sad one
When conscience submitted its plea
And I thought: ‘Career? You once had one,
With your hiked-up protection fee.
But this last guy turned out such a bad one
That you shook the poison-tree!’.
So I’d practise the hip-shots, then add one,
Get the whole thing worked out to a tee,
With the monster’s last outing a mad one
Facing all his accusers in me.
Christopher Norris is Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of Cardiff. He is the author of more than thirty books on aspects of philosophy, politics, literature, the history of ideas, and music.