THE DISGUISED REPUBLIC


For Mark Chapman, PPC

So well is our real government concealed, that if you tell a cabman to drive to ‘Downing Street’ he most likely will never have heard of it…It is only a ‘disguised republic’, which is suited to such a being as the Englishman in such a century as the nineteenth.

THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION, Walter Bagehot, 1867.

HM’s Garden Parties turn the Bagehot trick,

showing GB as it really, really is:

the Law, the Cloth, clerks, hacks, uniforms,

diplomats, local government officers

and the odd charity bod – some wearing gloves!

Strangely, though there are two regimental bands,

there aren’t enough chairs, the ice cream runs out

and so many guests leave early – out

into London’s levelling traffic.

Fresh from the slaughter at Culloden,

the Duke of Cumberland’s men created

Virginia Water, a little bit

of highland wilderness in Surrey

– the land, a gift from the Duke’s grateful dad,

Her Present Majesty’s great-great-great-

granddad, for stuffing the Scots for good.

And it’s still in the family – with all

those acres and paintings and pottery,

liveries and lackeys, vanity and greed.

How well they obscure where real power lies!

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