Richard Warren

20thc British art and poetry (mainly), plus bits of my own – "Clearly I tap to you clearly along the plumbing of the world" (W S Graham)

The Daughters of Albion weep

How suffocating the weight of their ceremonial, of gold braid, of power, of money.

How revealing of their values, the identities of the select: Sir Mark, Fergie, Clarkson, Wogan, Joan Collins, Jeffrey Archer.

How right they are to mourn their Joan of Arc, who managed their counter-revolution.

How easily it drops away, the thin pretence of one nation. How shameful today to be British.

Among a baffled Broad Left audience at Sheffield University in the mid ‘seventies, I listened as Keith Joseph of the Centre for Policy Studies, Thatcher’s John the Baptist, expounded her gospel of privatisation and monetarism – a speech he made 150 times in his tour of colleges and universities. He became intensely emotional as he dwelt on the virtues of entrepreneurship:

“I say ‘entrepreneur’,” he explained, “as there is no other term that quite conveys what it means to take risks to make money.”

“How about ‘criminal’?” I heckled, feeling quite pleased with myself.

He was not phased for a moment. The writing was on the wall.


3 responses to “The Daughters of Albion weep

  1. Antony Clayton April 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Shameful indeed. How much longer are we going to tolerate this smug, greedy, hectoring, self-serving oligarchy, blaming the unemployed, poor and sick for ‘the state of the nation’, helping each other along at every step in their attempt to create an unbridgeable gap between them and us?. As for the guest list I’ll never forget Wogan taking the opportunity on his radio show to criticise Mercedes-Benz for poor service, clearly expecting an instant grovelling apology and no doubt a new model to grace the drive of his mansion.

  2. Mandrax Bassoon April 17, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Spot on! A splendid piece of writing.

  3. Jill W April 18, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I’d forgotten how proud I was of you that day!

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