• 1996: No 3424


    Competition No 3424

    Excerpts from the Seven Ages of City Man or any other profession of your choice.



    The Seven Ages of a Labour MP

                            At first the student,

    Posing and strutting in the NUS.

    Then the droning speaker, with his briefcase

    And shining Sunday suit, creeping to his

    Selection Committee. And then the loyalist,

    Lying like trooper, with a woeful tirade

    Made to his Leader’s buttocks. Then an MP,

    Full of strange terms, reading from autocue,

    Lacking all honour, shallow and slick in quarrel,

    Seeking the bubble reputation,

    Ever in the camera’s eye. And then the minister,

    In fair round belly with free dinners lined,

    Eyes insincere and clothes of formal cut,

    Full of cheap lies and dodgy evasions;

    And so he makes his pile. The sixth age shifts

    Into the mean and cliché’d veteran,

    With spectacles on nose and perks on side;

    His youthful hopes, long lost, are far too wide

    For his shrunk mind; and his big manly voice,

    Turning again toward childish platitudes,

    Repeats the old slogans. Last scene of all,

    That ends this uneventful history,

    Is Second Chamber, full of mere oblivion,

    Sans teeth, sans brain, sans guts, sans principles.