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Tag Archives Churchill


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.



On the manicured corniche between Elounda

and Plaka – before the balconied hotels

that rise up the mountainside tier by

expensive tier – is the Turkish Governor’s house,

abandoned for nearly a century.

We venture up the steep, pitted drive

but sudden howling from unseen dogs

deters. On the opposite side of the bay,

where only widows on donkeys go,

the shore is festooned with plastic bags

shredded by the tides and bleached by the sun.

The foundations of the antique city

of Olous shimmer beneath the water.



‘Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.’ Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.


I am contemplating, in the Walker Art Gallery,

Liverpool, the statue of William Huskisson, once

the city’s Tory MP and sometime President of the Board of Trade

but much better known as the world’s first railway fatality

at the opening of the line to fetch cotton quickly and cheaply

from the Mersey’s docks to the mills of South East Lancashire.



Before Churchill took the railings, evacuees

from Liverpool were lined up by the park

one September Sunday afternoon.

Local residents queued to take their pick.

Innocent days! My widowed Granny

and two spinster aunties – ex-Scousers

(though Toxteth Park not Scottie Road),

the sisters Great War collateral damage –

lined up to do their duty. They couldn’t cope.

The one they chose used the ‘f word’

and wet the bed. They gave her back

– and mentioned her,