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Haiku for the Tory voter (a lament)

Wanted a Churchill.
Got a blonde workshy dandy,
hapless and fearful.


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Going Viral (with Teflon Dom)

Like Saul on the road to Damascus
when Jehovah stopped for a word and held forth
Mary Wakefield met Lord God Almighty
on the A1. In March. Heading north.
In a car with something quite deadly
(who was apparently feeling unwell)
his road paved with the worst of intentions
off to Durham, or – hopefully – hell,
coughing and sweating and whining
like some self-centred, sociopath scrote

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dominic cummingshypocrisycovid-19lies

the punch that never was

Laura’s snaffled an exclusive
freshly minted by the Tories
a left-wing thug has punched a bloke!
she tweets, ignores the story
about the PM and the photograph
the crisis in our NHS
kids on drips curled up on floors
the current government’s heartlessness
you see, a stolen phone is nothing
when you’ve a brand-new lie to share
about the punch that never happened
by a mob that wasn’t there

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The Royal Mint rides again!

Production’s stopped at JLR
the workforce isn’t making cars
the order book is looking thin
for Landrovers and Jaguars
but we’ve got stale bread and circuses
hip hip replacement hip hoorah
you can buy a rusted Ford Cortina now and point it at the exit
we’re gonna get a special 50p for Brexit!

Calm down dear, don’t make a fuss
that simply wouldn’t do
those whopping great lies on a bus

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brexit50ptoken gesture

Complex mathematics, Oldbury

When X is minus 13%
Z the square root of sod all
calculate the value of Y
where Y equals taking back control.


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these winter days

when the sun
hating the cold dark mornings
hits snooze on the alarm three times
crawls out of bed grumbling
about stiffness in the joints
damp, a bunged-up nose,
is a bear with a sore head
till the coffee kicks in
last of the milk and the motivation

queues at the bus-stop in the rain
with the other heavenly bodies
doesn’t get a seat – again –
Mercury chattering on her mobile
about w...

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(with apologies to Lewis Carroll)

‘Twas Brexit, and the slithy Gove
did frottercrutch in dwarfish glee;
he snicker-snacked the Camerove,

Beware the stabberjock, my son!
The empty eyes, the robo-glint!
who fellobrates the Murdocrone
the Ruperturtle übergimp!

He pallerised the BoJo cloon
they chummed upon their sunderbus
emblazoned it with fibberoons
and ba...

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In the spirit of Leona...

In the world of tax (and tax avoidance)

watch what we say, not what we do.

It's not levied on the likes of us:

it's only meant for you.

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taxtax avoidancepanama paperspolitics


I was standing in line
at check-in
at the bakers
queuing for the morning bus
for water              
in the hope of a job

I was buying flowers for my love
drinking coffee
smoking a cigarette
wondering where the next meal
would come from

I was going to tell the boss to stick it
smiling at the memory of you
feeling the sun on my face
wishing blessings on the day


the bomb...

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Iain Duncan Wots-his-face
has now resigned and left a space
in Cabinet. The explanation?
Tory party machinations.
But then again, perhaps the bloke
just had enough of pigs, and coke.



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How to get everything you ever wanted

Invent a war.
Something bloody and fratricidal.
Lose an uncle to barrel bombs
a brother to secret police.

Three years in, flee.
Pack only what you can carry:
clothes, smartphone, children, cash.
Slip away at night, in silence.

Take your leave of the flat, bakery, office,
rubble-filled streets where the kids once ran
shell of the cafe where old men
drank qahwa, played she...

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this will be a re-run

it’ll be the comfort of the saturday afternoons of your childhood
sat in front of the TV with bread and dripping
watching John Wayne set the world to rights with a gun
it’ll be Kenneth More on tin legs reaching for the sky
with a re-mix of stirring music Vaughan Williams would kill for
it’ll be a tearjerker in the final reel
where you know the hero’s going to die
but his girl will remember ...

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comrade osborne and the little red book

comrade osborne and the little red book

The chancellor’s autumn statement
and McDonnell’s quoting Mao!
It’s a joke. A jest. A jolly jape
to illustrate just how
George is selling off our assets
to global profiteers
and the Chinese state is buying up
the things which we hold dear
while the media says... nothing
a conspiracy of silence
on illiterate economics
and structural state viol...

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politicsosbornemaoautumn statement

21st c. enlightenment blues

Rattling through the low hills

in the darkness and the endless endless rain
the train is overcrowded
because the train is overcrowded
because the train is always overcrowded
and the conductor’s now a manager
a voice we never see
mumbling something through the tannoy
about weather and delays.
We used to have seats
now we stand
and this is progress.

the airwaves are full bey...

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why you are #beachready

because you deserve to feel
        the sun on your skin
        hot sand between your toes
        to slough off the workday drudge
        and free your smile
because it will be fun
because ice-cream melts fast
        and tastes good
because it’s your laugh that matters
because no-one ever died thinking
        the best thing they did
        was spend three years on a diet

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beachreadyadvertisingbody imagewomen

every night, the same dream

the stink of diesel and of fear which
everyone’s pretending is not here
because if they do not name it, it will not be real
but in the hot bodies of the strangers pressed
around her she can feel
the tension of a panic only held at bay
like sea-sickness, with iron will, good fortune,
muttered prayers
they rise and fall, jaws clench and clench again

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refugeesMediterraneantragedyKatie Hopkins


Fox News got an expert in

to tell them about terror

he said he had some beans to spill

and then he made this error

if you ever needed evidence

his analysis is cracked

he told them Birmingham’s gone Muslim

it’s a #foxnewsfact


he’s seen the Mecca Bingo halls

and put two and two together

then come up with 5, or 39,

he’s really not that clever

he thinks Aston’s...

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fox newsbirminghamnewscomedyislamwest midlands.

The ostentatious breast-feeder

Drinking in my local

last dullday afternoon

soft drizzle outside

nothing much happening

usual 21st c. sense of ennui


when the door burst open

and a woman danced in

spinning wheeling pirouetting 

across the floor 

up on to a table

scattering drinkers before her


eyes flashing devilment and untamed fire

the shimmer of her dress was scarlet, 

silver, pu...

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breast-feedingsatireNigel Farage

last out of Pandora's box (and last to die)

The sun is always there

you used to say

there behind the clouds

waiting to break through.


I hung on those words.


And now I wish you were here

so that I could show you

how outside the rain’s been falling

for longer than I remember

day after day after day

and the skies are grey and heavy

the streets run with water

the fine clothes we were so proud of


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let us pretend

Let us pretend 

that we haven’t been this way before

too recently and too often

that this is the way forward

that it is the road to the peace

which eluded you when you sent 

planes and tanks and men 

into Lebanon, Ramallah, Jenin,

Gaza, Gaza, Gaza.


Let us pretend

that this time will be different 

that this time will be worth it

that you can tot up the lives...

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Poem for Germany

Deutschland, Deutschland

über the moon

you won’t be sober

any time soon.


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world cuphumourfootballGermany

the knock

Should have been your boy

back from the game

bag of fish and chips

grin as wide as the Mersey

drunk on youth and sunshine 

still living every pass shot tackle

as he settles down in front of the box

him and the old man each with a can

to watch it all over on Match Of The Day.


Instead, it was coppers

neighbours, friends, the sad-eyed priest

it was sorry for your...

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the budget statement, in full.

we gave you bread and circuses

now it’s bingo cards and beer

to distract you, so you’re unaware

your future’s disappeared.


© Steve Pottinger

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You could have had kids by now


chips off the old block,

leaving school, 

marching out into the world.


Watching their dad getting by

getting on

maybe struggling 

to making ends meet

like we all are.


Watching the news on the TV

reading about an inquiry 

into the police 

spying on an inquiry

into the police 

letting young men get 

away with murder

because of the...

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Stephen Lawrencepolice inquiry

girl next door


the girl next door knows

that something good is going to happen

I can hear her singing 

through the bathroom wall


I just know that something good

is going to happen



she isn’t tired

she isn’t angry

today bringing up a kid alone

is something she can do

she feels it sure and certain and pure and true

because today something good 

is goi...

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girl next doorsteve pottingersomething good

Never See A Nipple...


(with apologies to John Cooper Clarke)



Beheadings are acceptable, boobs are bad

the female form’s fantastic but only when it’s clad

we’re blasé about bullying, laissez-faire on lust

but our patriarch goes postal if the news feed shows a bust

sign on, log in, no matter where you look

you’ll never see a nipple on facebook.


We’ve made a Faustian ...

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This is where they come from:

villages eaten up by sand

river beds run dry

lands of red earth stained with blood

where there are mobs, bombs, bullets,

crops that fail.


This is who they are:

the young, the desperate, the brave,

fathers with daughters, motherless sons,

whose sin was to be born poor

worship the wrong body

bow before the wrong...

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369 000


Here is a poem

for the others

who are born on mud floors

marshland and high plain

in homes of plastic and flattened tin

in spat-out estates in lands

whose time has gone

in the mewling sprawling cities 

of the south and east and rising world

who tumble down out of shanty towns

looking for work and hope and food

who doss down in shop doorways


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Mum's the word


Edward Snowden’s in the spare room

spies are hiding in the bin

a pack of Fleet Street’s finest

are struggling to get in

there’s paparazzi in the flowerbeds

and killers in the yard

And Ed thinks he’s in Cuba

it’s going to be hard

to explain this is a terrace

in a sleepy cul-de-sac

which may be nothing like Havana

but he’ll have to watch his back


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Edward Snowden

No means... yes, Charles?


When you’re playfully tiffing a Saatchi

remember: the tears that he sheds

aren’t signs that he’s hurt or unhappy

but of loving contentment instead.


The nose tweak which makes his eyes water

isn’t cowardly, vicious or sore

but a shorthand to show your affection

which he craves. So go on. Do it more.


And the necklace of bruises you leave round his...

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never known for his subtlety

three pints in at The Anchor

half an eye still on the game

orders another lager



stands tall at the bar

and tells us all 

this changes nothing

he wouldn’t kick her out of bed



he’s no oil painting himself

never has been never will

shouts of he should be so lucky

in another l...

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angelina jolie

Give him a grid reference, for the love of god.



Some folk like to play promoter 

claim they live to put on bands*

in truth they've got their work cut out

finding their own arse with both hands.


They draw up maps and spreadsheets

they make strategies and plans

but its location is a mystery

"Where's my arse? Shit! Where's my hands?"


They fight down waves of panic

they ask relatives an...

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£10 million for this?


Roses are red

Maggie was blue

now she is dead

they're having a do.


They're airbrushing history

re-writing the past

Big Ben's falling silent

the flag's at half mast.


In a time of austerity

they've money to burn

for the pomp of her funeral

but the lesson we've learned


is they secretly know

she's not loved by the nation


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The Day We Elected...


... Wilko Johnson president

the sun shone.

Which was a start.

He walked into Parliament with a heart

full of honest intentions

and a Telecaster in his arms

and we were one nation under a groove

under a riff. A distinctive, choppy, furious,

down-and-dirty-and-your-momma-wouldn’t-like-it riff.


The day we elected Wilko Johnson president

the Commo...

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Wilko Johnson

No-one likes an angry poet on Youtube

Here's the video version of the poem I posted in early November. Just in time for the day of action against Starbucks, too!

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angry poetStarbuckstax

No-one likes an angry poet - video

If you enjoyed my poem about corporate tax avoidance, and can't live without seeing it in another format, then you'll find the video here:
I'd like to say we made it on a day I was looking particularly haggard, but I suspect they're pretty much the norm... ;-)

Note: I've re-posted this in the hope the 'comments' function works this time!

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angry poetStarbuckstax avoidance

No-one likes an angry poet.



Next Tuesday

what with the weather being lousy

and the nights drawing in

and the rent being due

and the electricity bill hitting the floor

and going through the roof at the same time

and feeling in need of a mid-morning pick me up

to shore up my morale,

I’m going to put on my rain gear

head into town

walk into Starbucks

and smile at the ba...

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Beryl's laugh


spills out of the cafe

bouncing off formica tables

wreathed in steam from pint-sized mugs of tea

rolls out across the concourse

to dance in autumn sunshine

prancing round the buses that will leave

from this place no-one’s heard of

to another one no-one knows


and the drivers smoking cigarettes

and the mothers who are barely more than girls

and ...

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Even in the bad light I saw them come

round the corner at the top of the street

and knew this was it: trouble.

Nothing to do but keep walking

and hope they hadn’t twigged.

But the set of their shoulders

the purpose to their stride

made one thing good and clear:

fat bloody chance of that.


Ten years ago I’d have fancied my chances,

manual work m...

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Outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

while here the TV spits into my room

faster than bullets, the same old news

that some far-flung corner of a foreign field

is now sown with blood, with shrapnel, and with loss

that it’s worth the sacrifice

worth the cost

and outside, the hawthorn is in bloom.


Outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

the willow glows with ...

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13th Floor



And I remember

him opening the door

saying Come in, make yourself at home.

Wanting to show it off, like you do

with a new place.

And walking into a big, bare lounge,

not a stick of furniture in it,

just a mustard-coloured carpet

and a view out over Leeds.

Thinking Shit, that’s depressing

thank god I don’t live here.

But knowing what it mea...

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