LONELY OF LANGLEY

Dear Katharine Gun, sweet Katharine Gun,
Linguist distinguished by Durham 2:1,
What 'Magic'-like transcripts we both used to see,
Me, here in Langley - and you, at GC.

From Hong Kong to China and on to Japan
Your faithful translations I'd eagerly scan,
Your mandarin's Mandarin so neatly done,
I am hooked on your language skills, Katharine Gunn.

Dear Katharine Gun, sweet Katharine Gun,
How mad I am, sad I am, shocked that you've won.
My super-hot e-mail is there in the Press,
For my flaxen-haired reader, felt moved to confess.

Her colleagues' examples hung over our mail,
A burden of consciences, hearty and hale,
From Sarah and Cathy who dared to be heard
To Clive Ponting* on trial and the jury's last word.

The smell of the cordite, the shriek of men's pain,
The view from the TV of war's empty gain,
As I joked about two-faced Republican tricks,
Premonitions of conflict with love could not mix.

On the floor of her office lie e-mails galore
And her newsagent's walls await tabloidy gore,
While even Observer hacks question the Sun
On the Bush an' Blair Axis, brave Katharine Gun.

The Humvies are waiting, the script's on the wall,
And Palestine's pictures show what's to befall,
Frank Kazo** is standing in Belshazzar's place
To find that Her keystroke has sealed his disgrace.

With votes "not adopted", by devious ways,
We drove for our war through the oil-fields' dark haze
Into last-minute UN, now heavy with fear
Where honest Mohammed and Hans Blix appear.

Dear Katharine Gun, sweet Katharine Gun,
I can tell from the protests, hearts have to be won.
Oh! key swing six voters! unbiddable band!
I long for my translator's transmitting hand.

Around us are "Nons"' and "Nyets" and vetoes,
Above us, the judgement that Nuremberg knows,
And there, in Chelt'nham, is the girl of my choice
With the GC's bold buggers, exposed by her voice,
For the source is her leak, and the tale's at last said,
Now the ominous, ominous voting's ahead.

We had to tell lies about One Four Four One -
But Truth is still wedded to Katharine Gun.

                    (Apologies to John Betjeman)


*Sarah Tisdall and Cathy Massiter, Whitehall whistleblowers, on the FO
and MI5 in 1984 and 1985. Clive Ponting, a FO civil servant whose
leak on the sinking of the Belgrano, led to a failed prosecution under
the Official Secrets Act in 1985.
**Frank Kazo, the US official whose e-mail to GCHQ, asking Britain to
spy on fellow UN Security Council members in the run-up to the UN
vote, Katharine Gunn had sent to the Press.

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