The rise of wilful buffoonery and the allure of people like that Trump bloke.

I don’t usually do politics. The kind of spoken word that I do is an escape from the real world, though I do poetry about themes and society, such as LGBT issues, representation and inequality. I don’t usually do pieces about real people either, unless you count Jeremy Clarkson and Katie Hopkins, both of whom I’ve performed humorous poems about. I always see such poems as having a relatively short shelf life. I haven’t performed the Clarkson poem much since the muppet was fired from Top Gear. It was a sad day.
However this year has truly been a bummer, politically speaking, not only with that whole Brexit thing, (what the hell was all that shout?), and the populism of that Farage bloke, the rise of the rather spooky Teresa May, (again obliterating one of my poems, in which I mention ‘Home Secretary Teresa May. Short shelf life, you see), but rather more scarily, the ominous buffoonery of Donald Trump.
I’ve tried to make sense of all this as the ultimate expression of celebrity culture, the rise of anti-intellectualism, image over content, bluster as a signifier of the supposedly downtrodden. The result of the Europe referendum demonstrated, to my way of thinking, the wilful protest of the supposedly under-represented. Both Farage and Trump have grasped the idea that it doesn’t matter what lies you tell, as long as you sound angry. They have created situations in which there is a supposed opposition to everything which their supporters only just now realise that they cherish. Abstract concepts such as freedom, identity of the dominant culture, fear of change, the foreign Other. The more they shout and lie, the more popular they get, because the lies are so obvious that they’ve become conceptual anti-political protests.
I’d like to write poetry about this. But none of it is very poetic. The best way to fight bluster and bullying is often with humour, and that’s happening a lot in the US but not so much over here. I can’t remember who said that you can’t win an argument against stupidity. But when the stupidity is a purposeful tactic to win arguments, that’s when we should be worried.
The Pet Shop Boys did a song called I’m With Stupid, which had the line, ‘Is stupid really stupid, or a different kind of smart?’
Will all of this blow over? Probably not. Mr Trump hopefully won’t win the election, but you can never be too sure. People are being put off politics, including the politicians, and this will lead to a whole generation of media-managed calculated blundering, office as character, celebrity warmongering.

Oh, England.

Oh, England.What was that?

Are we still friends?

You’re scaring me.
You’re pulling out of the staff

Lottery syndicate.

Buying your own tickets now,

Hoping the big one comes along.
We turned one way

At the crossroads

Already convinced

That we were lost.
The loudest shouter

Demanded the way

That looked best for him.

He had no map.
Just instinct, 

Not even an app,

And now the engine sounds

Like its out of fuel.

You shrank.

You stink.

You snarl.

You don’t think.

You regret.
The scariest thing is wondering what

Kind of language this seemingly legitimises,

What small stands a good man can take in a world

Where hate is now seen as justifiable

Because that funny Farage bloke looks like he might

Say something similar, you know,

Sipping a lager, probably, chortling and saying it

Not because it’s right but because it sounds

Good in the saying.

He’s got the rhythms,

He’s got the moves.

He looks like he thrives in chaos.
Perhaps he’ll buy us a round.
Oh, England.

I never felt comfortable with your flag,

Seeing it more as the appropriation of the mindless

Snivelling narrow minded seething loud mouthed 

Gut-led instinct ignoring boozer whose political 

Pronouncements sound leery in the pub environment,

Just one of the lads,

Waving that flag,

Waving it with all their might,

Waving that damn flag.
We are an island.

And some think that this means

We cannot join hands,

Reach out and help those jump across

When they need it the most,

Share some love because we all have love,

Even a skinhead can have a tender heart

If only he weren’t so

Afraid to show his true emotions.

The chanting of the pack might not make sense

But when it echoes back from high street shop fronts,

There’s a certain inevitability.

All it takes is an idiot with ambition

And a modicum of hatred.
Some think we need to build a wall,

But that would only succeed in

Keeping us in.
Oh, England.

I see no boundaries,

I see no politics,

And it’s not just me.

So long as we are on this planet

We cannot escape our duties,

Our humanity,

That others might be inclined to stand tall

And say that they exist for the greater good,

For peace and love, togetherness,

Understanding, sharing,

Kindness, curiosity,

Passions of the truest kind,

Rather than some localised upchuck,

And this at least makes me

Feel slightly better about the future.

Good people will always 

Be there.

Good people wilL always

Be there.
Oh, England.

Poem (for Katie Hopkins)

Poem (Katie Hopkins)

Once upon a time

There was an evil monster

Whose ferocity was fed

Not by those it maimed

But by the pumping buzz

Of publicity and sound bite,

Controversy and sheer big-headed

Attention-seeking desperation

And it was called 

Katie Hopkins.

And the more it fed the more

It scratched at the surface of

Polite society hoping that the

More damage it inflicted

The greater it’s substance would be

Only to find with each

Deep vicious cut

That people merely laughed at it.

How it scowled at the world

Like a mardy shark

Spoiled not by circumstance

But by the slow drip of publicity

Which it mistook for adulation.

How it fed so ravenously

On the eternal circle of

Jaded misguided opinion and response,

Prejudice disguised as truth.

Oh, Katie Hopkins,

Like a bad busker on the

Pedestrianised high street of proper debate,

A sad singer wailing at the world

Having only made 10p.

You’re like the kid in the quiet cul de sac

Whizzing up and down on her skateboard

Starting to become a nuisance.

Looking out from the window,

There she is again.

Whizzing up and down on her skateboard

Back and forth, hither and thither,

Whizzing up and down on her skateboard

Get off that skateboard, Katie Hopkins.

Get off that skateboard, Katie Hopkins.

Get off that skateboard, Katie Hopkins.

I like to think it’s an act.

No-one can be so stupid.

I like to think that you

Meet up with your friends

And you’re perfectly normal,

As easy going as the rest of us, 

Hoping that one day we will all realize

That it’s a silly joke,

A grotesque parody,

Somehow revealing our own

Misgivings and

Actually adding something to the world.

Oh, Katie,

You vain fickle brained warthog,

You gloating flap mouthed pimple,

You xenophobic motley-minded weasel,

You rank vomit-inducing ne’erdowell

With a face like a permanently surprised frog,

You toxic, provocative, class-conscious, 

suspiciously orange


It’s like you’ve seen that Farage bloke and thought,

I’d like a piece of that,

Though he’s far too left wing for my liking.

It can’t be like this, surely,

It can’t be.

Yet a part of me suspects that it is.

If you didn’t exist,

Then we’d have to invent you.

And that, I suspect,

Is what’s already occurred.