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.
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...."
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,
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
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...."
Said, "One day
This will all be mine!"
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:
Was very comely.
Wasn't she lucky
Her name wasn't Bumley?"
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