The Making of a President
PublishedJuly 18, 2012 CategoryBertie in Politics

The Making of a President

In September 1980, I arrived in Washington DC from Oxford, England to fulfil a lecturing  assignment at Georgetown University.


My shared reputation ( with my creation, Bertie Ramsbottom ) as a business verse satirist  seemed to have preceded me; but I was totally unprepared for our stumble into transatlantic politics. Though I probably should have known that a nation versed in Archy and Mehitabel ( a literary cockroach and alley-cat reincarnation of Cleopatra* respectively ) would have little difficulty with an ovine political commentator. Continue Reading »

An American Dream
Published CategoryBertie in Politics

An American Dream

To catch the measure of its voice, the cadence of a nation’s song,
Is what the Presidential race is all about, unless I’m wrong.
There is a yearning for a dream, a vision to inspire anew,
For, if there is no living dream, there is no hope to make it true.

I see it in the waiting eyes of those I pass along the way –
A people longing for the kiss that reawakens night to day !
All of the love and strength is there, to move the world and face the task,
Yet all the sleeping giant needs is someone to inspire and ask ! Continue Reading »

Through the Looking Glass

While Tweedledum and Tweedledee are battering each other
With hot-air filled balloons upon a stick;
And the custard pies are flying, full of “yah-boos” and “you’re lying”,
And the insults and the dirt are flying thick;
While the P.R. men are quickening their search for all the sickening
Detritus on their adversary’s past;
And the nonsense and the phoney personality baloney
Is everywhere accelerating fast;
Could we ask them for a second if the either one has reckoned
That there aren’t too many speeches left to go;
And we’d like a short-cessation of retorts and aggravation
While we focus on the issues and the things we need to know. Continue Reading »

Capitol Hill Mob
Published CategoryBertie in Politics

Capitol Hill Mob

How many saints can dance upon a needle?
How many gurus tango on its head?
How many spokesmen, staffers and advisers?
To kill a decent, wise decision dead?
How many explanations of a statement?
How many obfuscations of a point?
How many briefings and elaborations?
How many ‘expert’ noses out of joint?
How many kitchen-cabinet gyrations?
How many leaks and stabbings in the back?
How many inter-departmental mayhems?
Till someone gives the lot of them the sack?

Can someone tell me how we got deflected
From government by those that we Elected? Continue Reading »

The Price of Freedom
Published CategoryBertie in Politics

The Price of Freedom

How do you know when freedom is in trouble?
When would we take democracy for dead?
Would there be hordes of Commies at the double
Storming the sacred bastions of the Fed?
With Milton Friedman rampant in the rubble,
Shouting that every Keynesian’s a Red?

Or is there something which more deeply matters,
Some more insidious enemy to dread,
Leaving the flag of tolerance in tatters,
Our conscience atrophied, our doubts unsaid?

When ‘ radical’ means ‘communist’ or ‘traitor’,
And ‘liberal’ is synonymous with ‘wet’,
When ‘successful’ is the sole denominator –

Dear Liberty, are you triumphant yet? Continue Reading »

Born Again
Published CategoryBertie in Politics

Born Again

Is there anyone there, said the traveller, beating upon the door;
I speak for a thousand million hungry and sick and poor.
There, in your land of freedom, compassion and concern,
I plead for the distant children with no other place to turn !

There’s nobody here, was the answer – not for a year of so !
There aren’t many votes in compassion; it’s a question of dollars, you know
And it’s not against any religion, to listen and turn you away,
For we’re having a moral revival as the evidence shows every day. Continue Reading »

War Fever – Election Style

From this uneasy grave across the waters,
One of the many thousands blown to shreds,
I speak to all you other sons and daughters
Who, to a better dawn than I, can turn your heads.

Think of me sometimes in your quiet mornings,
Watching the magic of your living sky;
Live joyfully – but listen to my warnings
Of those who’d put you, too, where I now lie.

Watch for the talk of power, the xenophobic,
The cult of war, ‘my country right or wrong’;
The mantle of the brave and patriotic,
Worn for a vote by cynics far too long. Continue Reading »

Carter Quadrille
Published CategoryBertie in Politics

Carter Quadrille


Will you, won’t you; will you, won’t you;
will you, won’t you join the dance?
Just a little something, Teddy, in the present circumstance !
Just a little kiss-and-make-up, for the TV boys to take up,
And I’ll even reconsider restituting Cyrus Vance !
Just a little insky-binsky hug – O.K.
I’ll sack Brezhinzsky !
Anything to let the voters see your smiling countenance !

Just a little teeny-weany something,
Teddy, don’t be meany –
Let’s forget what’s gone before ! Continue Reading »

Chacun a son Poll
Published CategoryBertie in Politics

Chacun a son Poll

In days of yore, they tell me, an American election
Was to find the nation’s leaders by some process of selection;
But it’s pretty clear by now that that’s the secondary answer –
It’s a pick-me-up for Pollsters and an Analysts’ bonanza !

There’s Yankelovich and Skelly doing Time or on the telly
Crawling out from every profitable stone;
And from Jacksonville to Paris there’s a Gallup or a Harris,
Dissecting every segment to the bone !
And it’s all so scientific (and the profits so terrific),
That the candidates have even got their own ! Continue Reading »

Published CategoryBertie in Politics


I used to wander like a cloud
That floats on high o’er fields and hills;
But ten wild horses wouldn’t drag
Me now among the daffodils !

Not since I learned that flowers and trees
Are nature’s wicked machination,
To spread pollution on the breeze
And blame it on the corporation !

But rather I will get me hence
To where the noisome plant dispels,
Beneath the sulphurated smog,
Fragrance of petrochemicals !

And breathe me deep of that sweet air,
That cool ambrosial water taste,
Which dumb ecologists declare
The distillate of nuclear waste. Continue Reading »