Thursday, October 4, 2012

The sycophant

My old friend Ian McMillan was on the telly today announcing that it was national poetry day. I recognised the rich, pit-deep Barnsley accent and turned round. Otherwise I would not have known it was a special day. He was one of the tutors at an Arvon Foundation course I went on at Ted Hughes' old house, Lumb Bank in the last century.

So as well as making a short video in the afternoon I thought I ought to contribute something more in keeping with the special day. I had Shelley's 'Mask of Anarchy' in mind in which he slags off the Lords, Castlereagh (Murder) and Eldon (Fraud). Nothing changes except the date on the calendar.

The sycophant

Justice Phillips in your ermine gown
you really look the part,
establishment’s own sycophant,
a venerable fart.

Justice Phillips in your cloistered world
made only for the rich,
with tightly-knit embroidery
it only takes a stitch,

Justice Phillips, in your toadyness,
to stitch-up a good man,
with tightly-knit embroidery,
regrettably you can.

Justice Phillips, it’s regrettable,
Assange regrets it too,
but sad regrets are coronets
to sycophants like you.

Justice Phillips, you are leaving us
while Julian remains,
it must be really paining you
for all your toady pains.

Justice Phillips, I hope Qatar gets,
right up your beakish nose,
a country full of sheikhs and slaves,
and oil-rich slimy toads.

John Goss

Justice Nicholas Phillips retired at the end of September to take up a post in Qatar for something I suspect more than £300,000 a year. But this was not before he had presided over Julian Assange’s extradition appeal, for trumped-up charges of rape. Assange lost but the decision was not made in the Supreme Court so much as in Whitehall, the gentlemen's clubs and the upper echelons of government. Anybody who thinks otherwise is a blatant fool.

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