A Cautionary Tale
with acknowledgements to Hilaire Belloc
Since the millennium began,
Blond Boris was Tomorrow’s Man.
He’d worked his way up to this spot
By means that many have forgot:
Eton and Balliol, The Spectator,
Building up credit to use later.
A few years at the Telegraph
Showed he at least could raise a laugh.
When he was sent to work in Brussels,
He flexed his Eurosceptic muscles
In making fun of Jacques Delors
— Though Conrad Black thought him a bore.
He tried to be an MEP,
Stood for a Welsh constituency;
Two failures forced him to desist
And to remain a journalist.
Black moved him on to something greater,
The editor of The Spectator.
His stunts drove them to desperation,
But raised the paper’s circulation.
Finally tiring of these tricks,
Boris went back to politics,
And easily secured a seat —
Henley, where even the tramps are neat.
He talked the talk and pressed the flesh;
His views seemed radical and fresh.
His reputation as a clown
And cocksman could not pull him down.
Just then another prospect beckoned:
The Mayor of London. As he reckoned,
The post would raise him to a star;
A stepping stone, then he’d go far.
And so it seemed. He beat Red Ken,
Pinched his idea for bikes, and then
Commissioned an iconic bus
— Both of which bore his name — and thus
Became a major national figure
Renowned for fun, and words, and vigour.
When he got stuck on a high wire,
Somehow it raised him even higher.
But time was passing. Once so nifty,
He now was balding, jowly, fifty.
Two terms as mayor had let things slide;
He was about to miss the tide.
He hastily secured a seat
In Uxbridge. Prospects were less sweet,
And only a Spectator reader
Would think him fit for party leader.
A last chance shone before his eyes
To win his coveted life’s prize.
A referendum in a year —
Gosh! It was time to get in gear.
But which to choose? He thought Remain
Would win the day. But yet again,
The voters never would believe
One who was once so strong for Leave.
He dithered for a fatal age
About which way to take the stage.
The voters noticed. When at last
He plumped for Leave, his hour was past.
When on the day, the Brexiteers
Had won the vote, the nation’s cheers
Were all for Farage. Boris then
Tried to gain plaudits — but again
He blundered, trying to suggest
Associate membership as best,
While the momentum was to make
A clean, irrevocable break.
And now he’s missed the bus he made,
Through having fatally delayed.
We pity him — but not a lot.
Moral: strike when the iron is hot.