Wednesday, 14 June 2023 09:00

The Mandelson Masterclass

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in Poetry

The Mandelson Masterclass

by Paul Francis

You ready, Keir? The die is cast.
Embrace the future, ditch the past.
You, Rayner, Nandy were a team
but solidarity’s a dream
and figureheads must stand alone.
You have to do this on your own.

Borrow ideas, like being green,
devolving power from the machine;
this stuff from Miliband and Brown
can be picked up – and then put down.
I’m saying you need to travel light.
They can be useful, but I’m right.

Momentum, back in ‘17
had hordes of canvassers, dead keen
to spread the word that something new
was on the way – could that be true?
Enthusiasm on the streets
won’t compensate for past defeats.
So clear the slate; they have to see
“Not Corbyn” is your USP.

Now anti-semitism’s the test
of true believers, who scores best.
That’s where you showed your Midas touch.
Racism? Windrush? Not so much
but pledges, manifestoes, vows
are just a line of sacred cows
you need to slaughter. Say again
- what matters? “Me, in Number Ten.”

No truck with other parties, deals;
ignore the offers and appeals.
Collaboration, compromise
are a distraction from the prize.
You’ll need a safety first approach -
no sharing platforms with Ken Loach,
no independent stroppy mayors
with local loyalties. Who cares?
The Brexit lesson – sell your soul
and then you’re free to take control.

One disembodied, male mind
is all it takes to leave behind
the women, strikers, kids and blacks
who’ve had the Tories on their backs
for years. They’re not the votes you need.
Losers won’t help you to succeed.
Austere detachment. That’s the way
to prove that you’re above the fray.
No angry quotes on Palestine
or chatting up the picket line.
I am the guru, and I know
you’re Blair on steroids: Go, Keir, go!

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Paul Francis

Paul Francis is a retired teacher, living in Much Wenlock, who's
active in the West Midlands poetry scene. His website is

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