Hang the Rich from Lamp-posts / But don’t hang me

While on the subject of politicians’ verse (see below, and the comments board for my poetic opinions about Mr Marsden), and political verse more generally (over at Harry’s Place), I thought I’d post this fine song, which has not, I think, appeared anywhere in cyberspace. It’s sung to the tune of “Keep the Home Fires Burning“, and the fourth line in particular is quite moving.

Put the thing through quickly,
Wage the class war slickly,
Hang the rich from lampposts
But don’t hang me…
Stick to Marx, my hearty,
Damn the Labour Party!
Keep the hellfires burning
For the bourgeoisie.

Someone once told me that it was first sung many years ago during a rent dispute at Ruskin College, though I don’t know whether that’s really true or not.

Virtual Stoa agrees with Michael Howard shock!

But this time they’ve gone further than any civilised government should go. Earlier this week we read in our newspapers that the Government proposes to use the children of asylum seekers as pawns to cover up their failure to get a grip on their asylum chaos. Children of asylum seekers are to be taken into care in order to force their parents to leave the country. The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary should be ashamed of themselves. We shall oppose any legislative provision that seeks to give effect to this despicable provision. And I have no doubt that when we do so we shall be joined in the lobbies by the many Honourable Members on the Government benches who, unlike the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, still retain their self-respect.

— Mr Howard, responding to the Queen’s Speech earlier today.

Alternative Big Read

Norm’s Alternative Big Read is out — and here’s a handful of interesting things. It turns out that I’ve only read 25 of the BBC’s top 100 in the Big Read, which is a bit scandalous, since, the faddish overrepresentation of Harry Potter and the mere presence of Jeffrey Archer aside, it seems a pretty good list. But of the 25 that I have read, fifteen of them are here among Norm’s top twenty, and, within that list, all five of the ones I haven’t read fall into his poll’s top ten (it’s shameful confession time: Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Middlemarch, The Grapes of Wrath and Anna Karenina).

So of this top ten, I’ve read half; of the second half of this top twenty, I’ve read all; and of the bottom eighty, I’ve read only one eighth. That’s a curious distribution, though quite what the chief mechanisms are that generate it aren’t really clear.

War on Terror

From the Melbourne Age:

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark was frisked at Sydney Airport for explosives in an incident that has embarrassed the Australian Government.Despite having a NZ security officer with her, Miss Clark was pulled out of a queue on October 28 and given a body scan with a new explosives detection device to make sure she was not a bomb-carrying terrorist, The Age has learned.

Senior Australian Government sources said the incident was an embarrassment. It was not regarded as the right way to treat the leader of Australia’s close ally, they said

“You won’t be surprised to hear the New Zealand Prime Minister was not found to be carrying any explosives,” a spokesman for Transport Minister John Anderson said.

One of the odder political organisations I’ve ever belonged to is the London branch of the New Zealand Labour Party, which was basically run out of Austin Mitchell’s office at the House of Commons, and its infrequent meetings usually took place to coincide with Helen Clark’s visits to London.Happily, she didn’t blow us up on those occasions, either.