A Mock Heroic on how Toff and The Weeper stood up to Brussels, halved the EU Surcharge and did Britain proud, with a Warning Quatrain in Conclusion expressing the Mene-Tekel of a Moving Finger.
When Europe’s bill on Britain’s doormat lands
Toff and The Weeper raise affronted hands;
they curse their luck that things should come to this
– that Frankfurt laughs, and Brussels takes the piss.
The Weeper says – These sums are double -Dutch;
one and three quarter billion’s far too much.
Toff licks the gravy from his silver spoon;
And thirty days to settle’s far too soon.
What’s to be done? asks Weeper. Disarray
will overtake the Exchequer if we pay.
If not, the Bulldogs, party of the Pound,
more vocal than before, and gaining ground,
will call us cowards, lily-livered drolls,
and come next May will shaft us in the polls.
Leave it to me, says Toff. On centre stage
I’ll strut my stuff, personify outrage,
stand up for Britain, argue, make a fuss,
split hairs, buy time, and be cantankerous.
I’ll thump my tub, be angry, seize the day,
spit venom, beat my drum, refuse to pay.
Hollande is cold and Merkel doesn’t give
a fig for how her British cousins live;
all’s well with those for whom compliance earns
freedom from surcharge, and no small returns.
Therefore, grim Weeper, fetch up from the cellars
your box of magic tricks, the smoke and mirrors
with which we Tories mastermind illusion,
spread disbelief and generate confusion.
Spread what deceit you can, twist, misinform,
hoodwink the voters, make mischief the norm;
I’ll put on a display and – do not laugh –
you’ll find that we can cut this bill by half.
Away to Brussels, off to Finland, flies
quasi -heroic Toff to seek allies;
but canvassed ministers reject his pleas
and he returns, his ears beset with fleas.
Meanwhile The Weeper stays up half the night,
the Toff’s boast vivid still by morning light ;
that magic fraction rattles round his head,
and fifty-fifty renders him half dead.
He fusses, fidgets, takes his slide rule out,
scans Europe’s bill for wriggle room, for doubt,
looks to his coffers, shudders, feels the pain,
tears up his figures, sighs and starts again.
Outside, the Bulldogs bark and lightnings flash;
the threadbare country cannot find the cash
for nurses’, teachers’ wages, doctors’ fees
let alone punitive demands like these.
At last! The penny drops, Eureka dawns;
delightedly he treads Westminster’s lawns,
rejoins, rejoicing, ranks of happy men
now Next Year’s Rebate swims into his ken.
In place of Toff’s confounded rhetoric
he proffers sound, ice-cold arithmetic;
one half he’ll pay up front , one in arrears,
offset against rebates in future years.
Postponement is the order of the day;
Brussels accepts the scheme without delay;
next year’s rebate, not quarrelled with as yet,
will settle the account, and pay the debt.
Toff and The Weeper rub their hands with joy;
Now for the Maths, The Weeper says, Oh boy!
My maths can prove that two and two make five
and those that live by fractions might survive.
Take 8.5 from 17, what’s left?
Another 8.5, alone, bereft.
When this remaining 8.5 is carved
from next year’s rebate, this year’s debt is halved,
and next year’s debt, moreover, at a stroke,
by that same action vanishes in smoke.
Tell me then, mirror, mirror on the wall.
who’s the most cunning Chancellor of all?
Toff hugs him close and dances round with glee.
You are, dear Weeper, this we plainly see.
As we walk tall the length of Downing Street,
bulldogs hang down their heads and scent defeat;
we’ve stood firm, fought our corner, flexed our muscles,
and pulled the rug from under tyrant Brussels.
Best of all, Weeper, this has raised our flag;
next year’s election’s not yet in the bag
but we have spoken clear, and spoken loud
and our defiance has done Tories proud.
Heading for bed, The Weeper says You’re right;
may Tories always triumph – so, Goodnight.
Goodnight, sweet Prince, misquoting Toff replies,
and flights of angels praise thee to the skies.
He too in admiration shakes his head,
and climbs the spiral staircase into bed.
Over their lids the Sandman sprinkles dust;
the sleep they sleep must be that of the just,
for neither dream nor nightmare sleep affrights
though on their wall the moving finger writes:-
Sleep on, magicians, tricksters to the end,
better you were in truth than cunning schooled;
the people are more shrewd than they pretend.
Or you imagine. People are not fooled.
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This post was written by John Gohorry