In Competition No. 3112 you were invited to submit an extract from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Brexiteers.
The title of this new addition to the G&S canon was, of course, a nod to The Gondoliers. But in an entry both serious and silly, full of wit and whimsy, you also plundered The Mikado (‘Four little maids in politics, we,/ Boris-resistant as can be…’), Iolanthe (Lord Chancellor’s ‘Nightmare Song’) and H.M.S. Pinafore (‘Ring the merry bells for Brexit!’), among others. There were stellar performances from Max Gutmann, Sylvia Fairley, David Shields and D.A. Prince. They were only narrowly outstripped by the winners below, who earn £30 each.
Mine is the tousled noddle at the head of Brexit government,
Let getting Out, no deal or doubt, become our sacred covenant.
May tried negotiation but the Eurocrats all bested her,
Conservatives lost confidence — hey presto, my investiture!
It’s going to be a doddle, now we’re leaving unilaterally,
The EU gets more bijou while Great Britain blossoms naturally
Through trade deals with America and India, Australia
And sundry other nations who don’t think free trade a failure.
Remainers spout their twaddle listing oncoming catastrophes,
Delusion and confusion are the products of their strategies.
Directives and perspectives backed by Juncker and his mountebanks
Are no match for my verbal wit and optimistic countenance.
In time Mammon and God’ll bless me for my Brexit bonhomie —
Who wouldn’t rather hear a joke than yet another homily? —
We’d better keep our peckers up in spite of deeper deficits.
Besides, who says it won’t fun to ration all our requisites?
I am the Leader of the House, exacting and funereal,
And with my rod or pole or perch, all measures most imperial,
I chastise any member when he’s found un-parliamentary,
And ban the use of language noted in this thick inventory.
You will not find a Europhile upon my hallowed premises,
And as for von der Leyen I will be her private nemesis.
We should not trade with Francophones or any other aliens,
But do our deals with colonists (Americans, Australians) —
I champion free markets when I’m thinking economical.
I also sit on chat-shows, and they think me very comical.
We must return to golden days that called for Anglo-Saxon flair,
When men wore decent breeches, and each wife of theirs had flaxen hair.
If you are poor, then have no fear, the Trussell Trust will feed you all,
Which leaves me free for Erskine May, and matters more procedural:
We must bring down the socialists whose dogs will come to slaver us.
I am the Leader of the House, my manner most cadaverous.
On the fence, in a dither, a Brexit MP
Sighed, ‘Will he, oh will he, oh will he?’
So I said to him, ‘Brexiteer, how sad to be
Sighing, “Will he, oh will he, oh will he?”
Are you mentally troubled by something you’ve read?
Or has doubt made a worm that bores holes in your head?’
‘It’s a worry,’ he muttered, ‘but not what you said.
Oh will he, oh will he, oh will he?’
He mopped at his brow, his complexion quite grey,
Wailing, ‘Will he, oh will he, oh will he?’
Then he lowered his voice but I still heard him say,}
‘Oh, will he, oh will he, oh will he ?
Will he win what we’re wanting and set us all free?
Will he prove he’s the leader we need him to be?
Will he call an election with a safe seat for me?
Oh, will he, oh will he, oh will he?’
When you live all your days in a paranoid haze that induces a fear for your sanity
As you read in the press of the howling success of a monster of falsehood and vanity,
You feel helpless and fraught at the horrible thought of the ghastly impending disaster,
But what else can you do when the nightmare comes true and your frantic pulse beats ever faster?
So you binge on the pills that relieve nervous ills or you comfort yourself alcoholically,
Then you tear out your hair in a state of despair, a procedure that injures you follically.
You are cursing out loud at the oncoming cloud of dejection and immiseration,
While the mind reels in shock as you hastily stock up with foodstuffs of long preservation.
In the faltering hope that you’ll finally cope you imagine a fortunate Brexit,
Which you greet with a smile but it only lasts while no ensuing catastrophe wrecks it
As you queue in disguise for the food-bank supplies out of shame for the forced importunity,
Giving Europe a cause for sardonic applause as the nation dissolves in disunity,
Or your back-garden war with the bruiser next door to decide who will get the rat dinner
And you fight for a bit till you have to admit that your muscular neighbour’s the winner,
And the Scottish secede in a sudden stampede, and the A2 is stifled with lorries
On the Island of Fools where delirium rules and the Lord of the Revels is Boris.
No. 3115: fabulous
You are invited to submit a fable for the 21st century complete with moral. Please email entries of up to 150 words to lucy@spectator.-co.uk by midday on 4 September.
You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10