My father read me the Rudyard Kipling poem If when I was a child and it made rather an impression upon me. In light of recent times, I was lately considering what sort of poems the parents of politicians might have read to their children and, with apologies to Mr Kipling, I think it might have gone rather like this:

If (You’re the Prime Minister)

If you can keep your job when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you still trust yourself when all men doubt you,
Yet spin a virtue from their doubting too;
If you can twist and not be tired by twisting,
Or damn as liars while spouting yet more lies,
Permit marches against people co-existing
While sacking those who, for peace, fight and die;

If you can cut and keep on cutting faster,
Yet delay on touching those who tax-evade;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two backbenchers just the same;
If you’re content to hear mistruths you’ve spoken
Twisted by hacks to make headlines for fools,
Or watch the things you once gave grants to broken,
And sell them off to finance revamped schools;

If you can make one heap of all our earnings
And risk it on a banker’s flip-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And blame the opposition for the loss;
If you can force the police, teachers and nurses
To serve their turn when all the money’s gone,
And cling to power when all you hear is curses
Except the will which says to you: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk to crowds and still fake virtue,
Or plot with that tabloid magnate such-and-such,
If neither foes nor loving friends can trust you,
If liberals count with you, but not too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of news that’s spun,
Yours is the House and everything that’s in it,
And – which is worse – you’re David Cameron.


About Fles

Early middle-aged (oh yes I am!), no longer long-haired but still speccy and decidedly still an increasingly opinionated git. I’m basically a believer in individualism, that everybody has their own perspective and inner-beauty. I try to find humour in every situation. I enjoy reading and writing poetry.
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