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`Major had a little Hogg', and other verse

Many people have expressed interest in the discovery by my friend "Cocker" Leakey, the working-class anthropologist, that children in today's playgrounds are writing nursery rhymes with a political slant. They have asked me to ask him if there were any more where the last lot came from. So I did.

"More?" said Cocker, as we reclined over a pint of foaming best ale in the palaeontology pub, the Skull and Trowel. "I should say so. As much as you like. I mean, I showed you my Jeffrey Archer stuff last time, but there's just as much about Michael Howard. Try this one for starters."

He pulled this out of a pocket full of scraps of paper.

Michael Howard

Coward, coward,

Built lots and lots of jails

But figures for crime

Went up all the time

And that's how prison fails!

"Like it?" said Cocker. "Here's another."

Michael Howard went to court

For making laws he didn't ought.

Michael Howard, the judges said,

Should stand in the corner and hang his head.

Michael Howard shouted: "Fat chance!

I will lead you a merry dance!

Prison works! I'm God! Ole!"

So the men in the white coats took him away.

"Are all the rhymes about the Government?" I asked him. "Nothing about new Labour?"

"Not that many," said Cocker, "but I've found a few. Here's one modelled on Simple Simon...."

Harriet Harman

Met a barman

Out walking with her daughter

Said Harriet Harman to the barman

"Give her a glass of water!"

"Of course", said he,

"And will it be

Tap water from the mains?

Or would you prefer

Something more dear

Distilled from Scottish rains?"

Said she, "Oh no,

My H20

Must always come from the tap.

If I should dare

To go private, then Blair

Would surely give me a slap!"

"Actually," said Cocker, "I think nursery rhymes are like satire - it's always a damn sight easier to write about people in office. But this one's not bad."

Johnny, Johnny Prescott

Said, "Oh, look at me!

I've gone middle class now

- I've joined the bourgeoisie!"

Then the middle classes

Said to him: "You what?

You may think you're middle class

But you're bloody not!"

"Funny thing is, " said Cocker, as he signalled to the barman for another round, "Major and Blair are both so colourless that you don't find many rhymes about either. I've actually found more about Cherie than Tony Blair. Cherie, Cherie, Quite contrary, Which way will you vote? Militant? Old Socialist? Or won't you rock the boat?"

"Not great," I said.

"You don't go to nursery rhymes for greatness, my old elitist mate," said Cocker. "You go for immediacy. Try this."

Major had a little Hogg

For unanimity.

Whatever Mr Major said,

The Hogg said, "I agree!"

Mr Major kept his Hogg

Clean and free from fleas

Said Mr Major, "You mustn't catch

Any mad Hogg disease!"

So when the people saw the Hogg

Out of the bathtub climb,

They shouted out, with one accord,

"Look out! It's Hoggwash time!"

"I quite like that one," said Cocker. "But not as much as this one...."

Michael Michael


Said, "One day

This will all be mine!"

Waited around

For ages and ages

Then said: "Well, maybe

It will all be Major's."

"Are all these rhymes about the famous people?" I asked,

"Not necessarily. I've got one about Julian Critchley somewhere. Yes, here it is...."

Julian Critchley loved to joke

So he wasn't Margaret's sort of bloke

Julian Critchley was never a peer

Major thought it a bad idea.

Julian Critchley was like you and me.

So why did he ever become an MP?

"That's enough to be going on with," I said, but as I left I distinctly heard him singing:

"Virginia Bottomley

Was very comely.

Wasn't she lucky

Her name wasn't Bumley?"