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I watched the TV parade of affluent

(and mostly public school) chancers, liars,

fantasists, hypocrites, law-breakers

vie to top each other’s warmed-up clichés

and self-serving platitudes. The social

and economic future dystopia most

seemed to desire would, they assured us,

bring out the British best in all of us,

just like the Blitz. I thought of bomb-razed

building lots in major cities still empty,

and a tale a cabby told me years ago,

taxiing me from the railway station.


As he dropped me off he looked at the house.

He asked if it had a cellar, with a door

opening onto the back garden. I nodded.

He and his mum, he said, had joined a silent

and lengthy queue to buy black market sugar.

‘A doctor lived here then, ran a racket

with the lad that worked at the grocer’s.

The lad did time. The medic got off scot-free.’


I did some research, worked out the dates.

Here, in this place of light we have made our home,

all those ordinary folk committed crimes

like common recidivists – while London

was bombed, and Coventry, and Liverpool,

and the BBC broadcast Churchill’s speeches

of carefully crafted rhetoric.




© Copyright David Selzer
3 Responses
  • Catherine Reynolds
    September 2, 2019

    How it is, by chance, that history reveals itself. Who’d have thought that your house was a repository for Tate & Lyle’s best? Oh well, at least you’re in the right place for buying and selling, come Brexit!

  • Dave Williams
    September 17, 2019

    Is this an ode to Brexit? It applies to so many of our politicians and should be compulsory reading for them. I really like this as it is such an accurate commentary on where we stand today and referring back to the Blitz as a marker for the last time this country was in such a mess

  • Hugh Powell
    October 8, 2019

    Coming late to this debate, but it’s still never out of place to condemn this Brexit gang for what they are doing to the future. As might be readily pointed out, we were rescued from the Blitz not by our own efforts, but in partnership with our allies, all of whom determined to build a better future, in harmony, after the job was done.

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