It was thus in the beginning: With a sporting chance of winning,
Jones contested an election years ago.
He was young, enthusiastic, and maintained that measures drastic
Were imperative to save the land from Woe.
For the laudable admiration of this budding politician,
Who with zeal to serve his bleeding country burned,
Was to make a reputation as a saviour of the nation,
And a clean and honest statesman – if returned.
The electors took a fancy to the youngster, and the chance he
Had of winning was improved where’er he went.
His high motives were respected, and, in short, he was elected;
And an Honest Man went into Parliament.
Went in to strive for glory where there held a system hoary,
Founded on the good old English party plan.
Wherefore Jones, half understanding things, submitted to the branding,
And became, perforce, a solid party man.
But when he heard a mention of the Whip –
He gave answer, as he curled a scornful lip,
And his honest zeal upbore him,
That his course was plain before him,
Just the clean, straight course of earnest statesmanship.
For young Jones held notions utterly absurd;
And the old campaigners sniggered when they heard
That young patriot unfolding
His stern views, and Truth upholding,
But he meant it, when he said it, ev’ry word.
For a time, in all debating, Jones was famed for boldly stating
Plain, blunt truths and keen uncomfortable facts;
Till his colleagues grew uneasy, for, in fashion bland and breezy,
He proposed to back his burning words with acts.
And they told him, with much cunning, that he might be in the running
For the leadership if he’d consent to hedge.
He was bold, ambitious, clever, but advance, they said, he’d never
While he clung to childish notions of his pledge.
Brave young Jones at first was scornful; but, ere long, with visage mournful,
He sat down to think on what he stood to lose.
And his party friends, with caution, hinted honours were his portion
If he’d but consent to water down his views.
And they e’en suggested slyly that, although they valued highly
His great services, defiance was not meet.
Till, his splendid dream departing, Jones saw plainly that a parting
With his party meant a parting with his seat.
It was then he heard the cracking of the Whip –
And he found the System had him in its grip,
On the one hand was devotion
To his duty, with promotion
On the other, and the hope of leadership.
For he’d come unto the parting of the ways,
And he hearkened to the voice of fulsome praise –
To the promise of preferment,
And – there happened the interment
Of the self-respecting Jones of other days.
Step by step he climbed the ladder: now a wiser if a sadder
And a meaner politician, till he led,
And his party, though erratic, was lukewarmly democratic;
Thus he strove to soothe his conscience on this head.
But there came a day of clamour when his colleagues vowed the glamour
Of his visions was all bunkum and a myth;
For these champions of the nation had perceived their sole salvation
Lay in fusing with the Tory leader, Smith.
Jones at first held out, refusing all suggestions of his fusing
With this person he had hitherto abused.
But he marked his sullen backing, and he heard the whip a-cracking,
Then he abjectly surrendered all, and – “fused” …
Jones is now a semi-leader. O, consider, gentle reader;
Think, how many politicians can you name
Who, though starting straight and cleanly, have surrendered weakly, meanly,
When their party bid them fuse and “play the game”?
How they shudder at the cracking of the Whip –
How they tremble lest the slightest fault or slip
Should offend their august master,
And upon them bring disaster,
And deprive them of their cherished membership.
‘Twas to save their bleeding country in they went,
And to bleed it save themselves in Parliament;
Ev’ry worthy cause neglecting,
Their own worthless skins protecting,
And a fig for all the “views” they “represent.”
O, the “freedom” of the Fusion Party man!
Abject creature of the grim old Tory clan,
Waiting, watching, shuffling, veering,
Scheming, plotting, engineering –
Sorry product of the “Good old Party Plan.”
(C J Dennis)
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