The Third Leader: Poets' corner

Share

Goodness me, this election campaign is beginning to turn really nasty: the candidates have started trading poetry. And worse than that, some of it's their own. Yesterday, the BBC's Today programme, relentless as ever in its quest to raise spirits over breakfast, featured Peter Ains-worth with an offering of surprising quality from a former Tory arts spokesman; and David Blunkett, making a bid to become the Milton of our day with a bit about a wall.

Goodness me, this election campaign is beginning to turn really nasty: the candidates have started trading poetry. And worse than that, some of it's their own. Yesterday, the BBC's Today programme, relentless as ever in its quest to raise spirits over breakfast, featured Peter Ains-worth with an offering of surprising quality from a former Tory arts spokesman; and David Blunkett, making a bid to become the Milton of our day with a bit about a wall.

Personally, I have considered walls a no-go area for politicians ever since the unimproveable comment of Richard Nixon after visiting the Great Wall of China: "It's a great wall." And if this wasn't the Third Leader Department, I might also offer some pithy thoughts on the differing approaches to liberty of the former Commonwealth secretary and the former home secretary; as it is, I shall leave that sort of thing to those above me.

Here, we will concentrate on an ominous emerging pattern: first, what George Bush has on his iPod; now, poetry. We are talking the importance of the hinterland, or in George's case, apt reference approaching, wasteland: how could any sort of Texan not have Peter Kay and Tony Christie doing "(Is This The Way To) Amarillo", or, indeed, that country classic, "I Still Miss You, Baby (But My Aim's Getting Better)"?

Let me outline the nightmare scenario: Tony Blair at Agincourt, C Kennedy growling about wee timorous beasties, and Michael Howard Under Milk Wood. And that's before they shyly produce a small notebook.

Oh, yes: as many a mournful publican has muttered of many a coach party: they'll be singing next. Ladies, gentlemen, on behalf of the electorate, can I just ask you, please, to stick to the issues? I've always wanted to say that.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Seven per cent of young men have recently stopped using deodorant  

‘Sweaty-gate’ leaves a bad smell for PRs and journalists

Danny Rogers
Alison Parker and Adam Ward: best remembered before tragedy  

The only way is ethics: Graphic portraits of TV killings would upset many, not just our readers in the US

Will Gore
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory