by Fabian Beckett
Proud Winchester, once wont to manners make,
College of ancient church and burning cake,
Alfred and Arthur’s Saxon citadel,
Welcomes her proud sons with sombre knell.
School of the brainiest, best renegades,
Her cartel rumbled, still she cooks her grades.
In solemn hour her bachelors are come –
The entire realm is reeling somewhat stunned.
Of old the Wykehamists steadied the tiller,
But now include the Left’s snappiest killer.
Here enters now the tall, trim Seumas Milne,
His frame a crucifix, his glare a kiln.
Around him admiration tinged with fear
Ripples from scholar to radical peer.
The eminences grises shudder as he walks,
To the loftiest of the Cathedral stalls.
Assiduous Schneider squires his knight’s side,
Forewarned and ready for what might arise,
So outwardly resembling kith and kin,
The pair still differed as to Out and to In.
Nor is the learned Milne without allies
Within this same assemblage; now he eyes
The Prof whose canticles inspire the ERG,
Patrick Minford, secure from any purge.
Nor far off fierce Whittingdale stalks,
Intent on steely bipartisan talks.
Milne’s sire nourished the BBC; Whitto smashed
Her budget, before being himself lashed;
Such enmities are merest formality –
When Brexit is tomorrow’s reality.
See Peter Jay, once our man with the Yanks
Offer to Milne a murmured reverend thanks.
Insular warriors all, they now hail his deeds,
In hiding who he was from what he seemed.
Only one dissident repairs apart,
Journalist Edward Lucas, sick at heart,
For he has fears of which handler now waits
For Vladimir’s ardently requested updates.
The scene now shifts towards a bijoued street,
The haunt of Loulou’s, spot to meet and greet
Goldsmith brothers two, on a raised perch,
Now waiting to dance awkwardly and to flirt.
An intonation harsh through tresses gold,
Calls Jennifer Robinson, across the fold,
‘Jen! Over here, Tell me how you have been,
Come, sit down – you look like a dream!’
And so it is that in one humble winery
The two best bodies politic chat finery.
Ms Carrie Symonds beckons Jen to her booth,
To share a glass and to drink the truth
‘Watch yourself, Carrie sweet – I know his wife,’
Jen now opines on Boris’ private life.
‘Don’t worry, it was all arranged,’ Carrie coos,
‘To liberate poor Marina from the news.
But what of your stern squeeze? What’s Seumas like
In action where it matters?’ But a spike
Of iced perspiration seems to thaw
On Ms Robinson’s brow; she tells no more.
She who once shielded Julian Assange
Stands stymied by the Muscovite Falange.
‘Agent Death’s Head, from Winchester
Calling Lubyanka Square; while Corb
Is left the wired Maybot to pester
An errand fit to stir the mob.
It’s Operation Confidence
To garner the tankies’ credence.
Meanwhile we report the class
Of high elites is set to pass
Increasingly into our number:
The civil service is all primed
The hollowed-out feudals even chimed
To rise from Jurassic slumber –
You’ll hear the rest from Agent Slain,
When we have squared and staunched Remain.’
Who’s Agent Slain? He hardly knows himself,
Quite through and through as yet. All Labour’s pelf,
Its marshalling for an electoral foray,
Rests in the grasp of Andrew Drummond-Murray.
Unkindly termed a ‘Scotch aristocrat’
He long has served the proletariat,
Much had he lost, much loved, upon this quest –
Once tender passions ravaged his soft breast
For Susan Michie, science’s commissar,
She who lately orated that ‘We are
/ The Working Class,’ from professorial table,
Great Principle joined to Romantic fable,
She was the Red Queen, Andrew her Dauphin
Back in the day; in memory, en fin
They married the Fox Trot to Fabian savour
And mustered the Leninists to vote Labour.
And yet another memory stirs Murray,
Beyond the mechanistic party slurry,
His father’s tabard and his nation’s bard,
The claymore cooling under history’s star.
Ere Bill of Orange and the money-men
Of London-town, cowardice out of ken,
Suppressed the Celt at Glencoe and the Boyne,
The Drummond-Murrays then were prime to join
Each courtly entertainment, sprightly masque,
Anything not redolent of a task.
Best of all, they rejoiced as Lords Strathallan
Superior to the scrapings of mere talent.
It all joins up for Milne and Murray now,
The Roman Church, the Party, and the plough,
Betrayed traditions all, for global banks
Inglorious hedgies, decommissioned tanks,
Picturesque mineshafts on AirBnB,
Essex outsmarting Chelsea on TV,
Each noble hope, each folk by-law held dear
Crushed by the market’s moneyed leer.
They rise from slumber now, lions indeed,
To pounce upon the herd-mind’s loathsome creed,
Rebels not rallying for the working class
But rather revelling in their far flung past.