SHARERS OF THE FLAME
                              (4th June, 2003* )

There's a breathless hush in the House tonight -
   A case to make and a vote to win -
A well-spun brief and a dirty fight,
   A pose to play and the lies begin.
And it's not for the sake of a Front bench seat,
   Or the selfish hope of reflected fame,
But the PM's hand on each shoulder beat -
   "Shut up! Shut up! and share the blame!"

The sands of the desert are stark and bare -
   Bare of the arms that we went there for; -
No weapons found and no trust in Blair,
   And our ranks are thinned by a wicked war.
The numbers dead we'd rather not quote,
   And the UN's mocked and Honour a name,
But the voice of the Chief Whip calls for our vote:
   "Suck up! Suck up! and share the blame!"

This is the word that year by year,
   While in 'This Place' the Party's set,
Every elected one must hear,
   And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all, once honest of mind,
   Hide in their hearts like a guilty flame,
And failing fling to their voters blind -
   "Shut up! Shut up! and share our shame!"

                    (Apologies to Sir Henry Newbolt)


*The day of the second vote in the House of Commons on the legitimacy of the
war on Iraq, after it had become apparent that no Iraqi WMD, Prime Minister
Tony Blair's justification for the war, had been found.

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