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Once Parliament was in recess – both Houses

of Hypocrisy on their long summer hols –

in the basement of an office block near

King’s Cross (where you catch the Hogwarts Express)

one Saturday morning in July,

three journalists, watched by two technicians

from GCHQ, spent three hours to save

the Government’s face, and The Guardian’s,

by destroying hard drives with drills and grinders,

circuit boards whose data – from the exiled

whistleblower Edward Snowden – was

replicated throughout the Americas.

Ah, far, far  better farce than inaction,

and capitulation than loss of

influence! How the Red Tops rejoiced!


Only the Manchester Guardian – founded

after Peterloo, and to promote

repeal of the so-called Corn Laws – condemned

the Suez Canal fiasco, that last

hurrah of gunboat diplomacy.

That editor would have hidden the hard drives

somewhere in the British Library’s stacks,

just round the corner on the Euston Road,

and sent the hapless lads from Cheltenham

to Platform  9¾.




© Copyright David Selzer
5 Responses
  • Graham Mytton
    February 28, 2020

    I think that although this is not the first ever poem about the media it is the best I have read, at least for its timelinesss.

  • Dave Williams
    February 28, 2020

    Great cynical tone to this – love the reference to ‘both houses of hypocrisy’ – best description I have heard of those farcical institutions

  • Alan Horne
    February 28, 2020

    I like this, David. Makes me think we need more poems about the news media.

  • Alex Cox
    February 29, 2020


  • Mary Clark
    April 6, 2020

    Interesting. Three hours of futility, though, I think.

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