Revive – the SNP conference fringe meeting

A guest post by Max Wiszniewski

A couple of weeks ago Paul kindly hosted a guest blog by Revive to discuss the case for radical grouse moor reform. It was the lead-up to the Scottish National Party’s Autumn conference, where members of the party would be able to engage with the campaign to change the face of Scotland.

SNP Fringe crowd 2

Revive met hundreds of enthusiastic supporters of the campaign within the party and well over 200 people attended our fringe meeting which focussed on the intimidation culture of grouse moors, the climate crisis and the untold suffering of Scotland’s wildlife.

Former Environment Minister and chair of the session, Stewart Stevenson MSP, introduced Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland who discussed the makeup of the room which was a strong mix of people concerned about land reform, wildlife and the environment and how Scotland can use our land so much better. It becomes clear that this is a campaign that’s about far more than just animal welfare, as opponents to this much needed change would have you believe.

Libby Anderson presentation

Nevertheless, we offered an exclusive preview of our soon to be published report called Untold Suffering – the story of how untold thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of animals die to increase grouse numbers for sport shooting. The case for animal welfare is something often ignored by government reports so it is essential that we push for those concerns to be included in any future action taken. There was also a lot of value to bringing people from different interests together to see this side of grouse moors – of joining the dots holistically – so look out for this report when we launch it in a week or so.

Julie Bell SNP councillor on intimidation

Councillor Julie Bell (SNP Kirriemuir and Dean) spoke about the intimidation she and people in her local area experience from the industry – the almost feudal-like culture where a few very rich people have the land and therefore the power. Some of the personal tales were quite shocking and are not out of line with many others we’ve heard from elsewhere from tenants, people who live nearby or those just visiting the areas. If you have any of those experiences yourself, please consider getting in touch as we’d be interested in hearing your story (anonymously if you wish).

Finally, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, showed how grouse moors are a prime target for dealing with the climate crisis. The amount of environmental damage done to sustain unnaturally high grouse numbers, like from heather muirburn, mass outdoor medication and the thousands of kilometres of bulldozed hilltracks that scar the landscape, is a huge problem that needs tackled.

Intensively managed grouse moors fly in the face of Nicola Sturgeon’s declared climate emergency. When Revive is successful in its campaign aims our local environments will be much better protected and our carbon sequestration potential significantly increased as part of a ‘Green New Deal’ Scotland. But what is a ‘Green New Deal’ Scotland?

It is a name taken from the famous ‘New Deal’ in America, a series of public works projects, financial reforms and regulations, and is credited with the recovery of America after the Wall Street Crash. A true Green New Deal for Scotland, of which land ownership and use is at the centre, would mean new opportunities for our people, our wildlife and our environment – well beyond anything the status-quo could provide.

That’s the opportunity of Revive – to reimagine our land as something other than a playground for the few but as an opportunity for us all. The membership of the Scottish National Party seem ready to take the next step with Revive as we target the land use that takes up between 12-18% of Scotland. We hope that the rest of the country will join us too.

Max Wiszniewski is Campaign Manager for Revive. Revive is a coalition of like-minded organisations working for reform of Scotland’s grouse moors. The coalition is made up by Common Weal, Friends of the Earth Scotland, League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, OneKind, and Raptor Persecution.

*Many branches at SNP conference expressed an interest in backing a motion to Spring Conference and Councillor Julie Bell has offered to coordinate this. If you and your SNP branch are interested please feel free to get in touch here and we will pass your contact details on.

46 thoughts on “Revive – the SNP conference fringe meeting

  1. Pingback: Revive – the SNP conference fringe meeting | speymouth

  2. Many thanks to you Max for putting up such a great fight to regain our homeland. As we fight for our Independence there are many issues to be resolved when that actually comes to pass, as it WILL DO.

    With the power, total control, that our Independent Government will hold we will bring this assault on our wildlife, environment and country to an end .. FOR ALL TIME COMING. Thank God.

    And by the way you don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but I do know one of your close relatives extremely well. Holly Wiszniewski (sister?). A darling, absolutely beautiful and most hardworking young girl who is a REAL credit and asset to Scotland. You know the Scotland that actually cares about people. Well yes Holly, an empathetic and most compassionate young carer (and then off to University?), has proven to be a hundred times over the type of Scot that we actually want to promote us. She and you Max fit the bill.

  3. And just to add, as I left it out previously, that Holly Wiszniewski. absolutely beautiful, hardworking, empathetic and compassionate is also highly intelligent. The epitmone of the youngsters that we need now to secure our Independence.

  4. “Councillor Julie Bell (SNP Kirriemuir and Dean) spoke about the intimidation she and people in her local area experience from the industry…”

    We should not delude ourselves about the nastiness of such people and their preparedness to be mercilessly aggressive when they feel that their interests are under significant threat. Shortly, we are to see an example of this with the court case against Mr Andy Wightman MSP for exposing the smoke and mirrors on which their claims to ownership lie.

    The are also not averse to using proxies to intimidate physically those who are opposing them. This can be sen in their treatment of hunt opponents.

  5. The SNP have not pursued land reform and it is clear that many within the party hierarchy actually support the super wealthy landowning interests.

    Lower down the scale Scottish Enterprise under the hand of secretary Derek Mackay are quite happy to sell over 44 acres of iconic land on the southern banks of Loch Lomond to a theme park operator for the minuscule sum of £200,000.

    You really couldn’t make it up. More Tory than the Tories, it’s like Thatcher’s give away years – and it chimes perfectly with land ownership in the hands of a very wealthy few.

    And with the land held by companies in the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, and beyond so much for an independent Scotland where the mass of the country’s land ownership is in the hands of offshore companies.

    High time therefore for a land tax. Make them pay their just dues. How we use the land is important. Crucially important and our government in Scotland is not their to feather bed the super wealthy landowning fraternity.

      • No it wasn’t hit on the head.

        The theme park operator Flamingo Land ( real estate magnate Gordon Gibb ) withdrew their application the day before it was due to be determined.

        The exclusive deal signed with Scottish Enterprise to gransfer 44 acres of the shores of Loch Lomond for £200,000 is still in place as the company consider how they can amend their development.

        So no, Flamingo Land is not ‘ hut on the Heid’

    • The SNP tax the landowners Willie. like they do the fee paying schools. The landowners pay rates on their land and the money goes into the Scottish Land Fund for community buyouts (Ulva and NW Mull the most recent – 4.4 million they needed to buy it). Inheritance law was changed so that adult children and spouses and civil partners are entitled to a share when the landowner dies or passes on his property.
      They’ve also created a welfare system from scratch that is now paying out some benefits (190million so far I hear quoted) to recompense struggling folk who have been docked under westminsters finance bills (Citizen Corbyn waved some of those through if I recall).

      More tory than the tories? Pish.

      • And they reformed inheritance law which is the slow burn thing. Unfortunately the owners have property rights under HRA so this is the solution. No more ‘an heir and a spare’ and forget the daughters. Now all are heirs and must have equal shares in part or in kind. This will break up the big estates.

        Where the SNP feel down was in banning non human ownership and requiring a beneficial owner to be identified for taxation purposes. So no hiding behind a Trust (looking at you Buccleuch). The EU was about to support that when they balked.

        Maybe it’s something we can do in when we’re Independent. No anonymous trusts or companies and we can copy NZ and require government sign off for foreign purchase. So if an estate is sold it makes it much harder for a foreign owner to buy it. Might not have worked against Paulsen (one of the better ones it has to be said) but would rule out the Sheiks and Russians. EU citizens are at least subject to EU courts.

        It is hard to justify compulsory purchase beyond what community buyouts enable so the slow burn of inheritance law will have to do.

        Except there’s another way I almost forgot. Land Value tax. Set right an LVT could make it unviable for all but the deepest pockets to run a grouse moor. It will have to be set very carefully to avoid the three sheep on a hill and it’s a farm rort which happens at the moment but the SNP do want this post Independence.

        Then there’s a licensing system with targets for zero wildlife persecution or you lose your target and limits on stocking density. Much like the environmental stuff farmers have to do to get subsidies.

        Oh and investing in alternative jobs in rural areas to make it hard for them to recruit locals, like the Hotels etc.

        So we hit them from multiple directions. Death by a thousand cuts.

        • Good post.

          The land owning class Anglo and anglicised Highland Chief and their fee paying schools(with only a few noble exceptions) have provided cover for the British state for centuries, joined now by the media, and the Anglo British political parties they act as a buffer between the punters in Scotland and democratic power in their own country. The state provides cover for these groups and these groups and their networks do the bidding of the state. Colonialism will be over and it will be sink or swim depending on the merit of their record. Take the British state out of it and they are on their own arguing their case against an informed public. Many will find themselves outnumbered and on the wrong side of history in my view. Sure there are some excellent people who are landowners (i.e MacKenzie at Gairloch,the Dane in Glenfeshie who deserve respect and accommodations will be need to be made) but the underlying principles of land reform will hold sway. It will be very interesting to see how things develop over the next 20 or 30 years. I suspect killing for sport has no future but there will be plenty of work on the land.

    • “Iconic Land”?

      A few acres of ex railway sidings more like – and the development wasn’t a theme park.

      A fairly tasteful lodge and hotel development that would have employed people in an area badly in need of jobs.

      Most of the people signing the petitions didn’t really even know what they were opposing.

      • So loch Lomond shores are a dump J Galt.

        Yeah we’ve all heard that one to justify the selling off of iconic land for buttons.
        And the fabled jobs – toilet cleaners, chambermaids – all on seasonal zero hours contracts.

        No wonder the real estate – theme park operator wad asked about why it needed to own the land replied . ‘ that’s the way our business model works ‘

        Maybe like Valley Lane Football Park the the Loch Lomond lands can be held in the developers pension fund

        But aside the decision by the SG to sell is considered to be seriously compromised. There are public value tests that require to be done before disposing of public assets.

        The murky disposal of assets is not an unknown phenomenon – and you may not know it J Galt but Scottish Enterprise together with Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and other senior SNP and Tories recently stayed in the Uber expensive Cannes at a property developer funded meet and greet juncket.

        With no notes kept it is extreme example of how the Trump’s and David Murray’s of the world like to get close to the politicos.

        Money talks J Galt and their are stones in our eyes.

        Junckets to Cannes, a huge swathe of Loch Lomond for £200k,your having a laugh J Galt.

        And there’s another proposal for ‘ Bearsden on the Loch ‘ a bit further up at Tarbett…….a property developers dream eh what!

        • So, all hotels/holiday accommodation anywhere near the shores of Loch Lomond is bad.

          Should they all be closed and demolished?

          Jobs are jobs – who are you to deny an unemployed person the chance to earn a living?

          Yes the property business can be a bit murky, however if you’re waiting for that business to become super squeaky clean, hell will freeze over first!

  6. I married a game keepers son and learned a lot about the mentality of (some )game keepers, for instance this family would set snares to catch a wide variety of animals from birds, foxes, badgers, rabbits, and family pets, yes family pets of those that lived in the countryside, they considered these vermin too, as cats and dogs often disturbed grouse and pheasants, when they caught someone’s pet, if it was not dead when they checked their snares, they would kill it, and either bury it in the middle of nowhere or throw it on the road for traffic to run over so that it looked like their pets had been hit by a car. I was appalled at the dissociation they showed. It was even worse listening to them speak with sympathy to the owners of these missing pets and saying if they saw their pets they would let them know. This is only the tip of the iceberg.some are just crazy killers, they shoot anything that moves, I personally have seen them finding no so called vermin, so for shooting practice shoot blackbirds and other small mammals. Some gamekeepers just do what their employers tell them to do, so they have work and can house and feed their families, But their are those that enjoy the kill and still do it even after retirement.

  7. The SNP Gov has help buy back more land than was taken. £Millions of public money has been spent buying back land for communities. Some more successful than others. The problem is the depopulation of people from the land because of Westminster centralist policies. The Scottish population has remained the same since 1900. 5Million people. With a dip in the 1950’s (War dead)

    Scottish resources and revenues have been spent supporting London S/E until it is chronically congested. Affecting the economy. Stalemate. It is not the Scottish Gov it is Westminster policies that have caused the problem. The Scottish pop only increase since 2000 and Devolution.

    The Scottish land is being used for tourism, turbines and renewables, Farming is successful. Food, whisky, fish drink etc major exports.

    The hunting and fishing mod take up precious little of the land. Crofters have more rights and title. Much of the hilly land is barren. Sheep farming is the only usage, The scenery lends to tourism. Worth £Billions. The renewables worth £Billion.

    Scotland has a ‘right to roam’.

    How much can the Scottish Gov spend buying up the land? To what purpose. It is people that are needed. Brexit will be a disaster,

  8. Scotland needs facilities for tourism. At Loch Lomond and elsewhere. Otherwise tourists will not come. A £Billion industry. Raising revenues to develop the land use.

  9. I share most of the arguments about driven grouse moors but I am concerned at what Revive would seem to want in their place. Moorland is a valuable habitat for many kinds of fauna and flora, not just grouse. I should hate to lose these to blanket trees which would not only destroy these things but would make access to our hilltops much more difficult. Admiring our heathery hills and climbing our mountains bring many tourists to Scotland as well as being dear to native Scots and it would be wrong to destroy these just because we dislike toffs wanting to kill birds.

  10. oh deary me ,thousands of km of tracks really? or was that just comic effect?
    so what are you going to do to the moss ?drain it and plant sitka spruce and totally destroy the land scape ,let every man and has dog run free all over it ? just look at the mess wild campers have made of loch lomand
    this is more lets get at the rich than lets protect the landscape
    foxs magpies hoodie crows are the biggest takers of ground nesting birds like curlews ,you like curlews dont you,skylarks , song thrush, lapwing them as well
    more types of bird are found on grouse moores
    look at the whole picture not just what you dont like
    ,think about it next time you pick up your chicken from tesco .the only time that bird had sun on its back was in cage on a lorry going to the slaughter house and you created that birds life

  11. Scotland has ‘a right to roam’.

    Landownership will never be a major issue in Scotland. People roam all over it. The people own the land. Anyone can buy a bit of land in Scotland and put a hut on it for a nominal sum but they do not have to. For a minuscule sum they can roam all over it.

  12. Required reading.

    But the deepest change since 2016 is the weakening of the United Kingdom’s inner bonds. Theresa May went around preaching about “our precious, precious union”. This puzzled me, given massive English indifference. Ask somebody in Durham or Exeter why the union matters, and you get a blank stare, a shrug and perhaps a mumble. Then I understood: it wasn’t Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland that was “precious” to her, but “the union” in the abstract – a sort of legitimising halo hovering over Westminster’s anointed. It’s a cult confined to Britain’s ruling caste and, of course, to Scottish and Irish unionists who genuinely have something to lose.

    The “great rest of England” seem to have felt for many years that if the Scots want to leave, “it seems a pity but it’s their right”. Few southerners would feel diminished. Many believe, incorrectly, that England subsidises Scotland. Since 2016, Scotland’s heavy vote to stay in the EU, and the SNP’s incessant campaigning against any sort of Brexit, have become a severe irritant to “British” politics. Devolution is working more scratchily month by month, and the common English assumption for the past few years has been that Scottish independence is inevitable. Curiously, this is not how it looks in Scotland, where minds change slowly and where it’s far from certain that the next independence referendum will drag the yes vote over the line.

    In the union of four nations, one – England – has 85% of the population. What the past three years have shown is that the big partner is no longer concerned to put its own interests behind those of the others. A poll this year showed that Tory voters would be ready to “lose Scotland” (revealing words) if that ensured Brexit. In turn, devolution only made sense when all four nations were inside the European Union. If England in 2019 can no longer remember why the union with Scotland and Northern Ireland once made sense, Brexit has delivered the United Kingdom to the hospice of history.

  13. Good article.
    Having travelled extensively in Scotland in the last couple of weeks it set me wondering on ownership and what had happened to land reform legislation in my beautiful land.

  14. Good article, Mark, and makes me wonder how many of the Tory voting Scottish land / estate owners are ready to “lose Scotland.” Give up their playground?

  15. Thatcher secretly and illegally took £Billions from Scotland to fund London S/E. Built Tilbury Docks and Canary Wharf. Funded deregulated banking with Scottish funds. A Ponzi scheme. The bankers funded the Tory Party. Thatcher had unemployment in Scotland 15%. Interest rates at 17%. The only place where unemployment was under 10% was London S/E.

    Scotland was asset striped. Every manufacture facilities was shut down. A civil war with the miners was started. The Poll tax was introduced, The Thatcher times were violent times with civil unrest and protest. Poverty increased.

    Other Tories got rid of Thatcher. Geoffrey Howe because they wanted closer ties with the EU. Deja Vu. It was only closer ties with Europe that improved the UK economy.

    Thatcher came to Scotland and stated, ‘We the English people are generous to you Scots’. A total lie. The sermon on the Mound. The Church Assembly.

    Thatcher handed the Press to the right wing. Murdoch. Without a free and fair Press there is no democracy. It is supposed to be ensured by Westminster. The Leveson verdict not implemented,

    The loot of Scottish revenues and resources was kept secret under the Official Secrets Act. Scottish Ministers sworn to secrecy. One resigned.

    Iraq, Dunblane, Lockerbie kept secret for 100 years. Scotland has has taxes and conscription imposed by Westminster for illegal wars for centuries.

    Devolution 2000 has changed Scotland, improved the economy. The Tories held it back 20 years. Independence would improve it even more. Similar to other small prosperous countries. The most successful. Scandi countries etc. New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland, Singapore etc.

    If Scotland gets better off so does the rest of Britain.

  16. I was at that fringe meeting and, yes, it did touch on cruelty to animals, degradation of the landscape, and the intimidation of residents but…

    It failed to mention the fundamental underlying problem of land ownership, land use reform and the failure of the Scottish government to do much about this. Yes, I know there is yet another issue, the incomplete register of land ownership and the cautious approach being taken to this.

    The meeting did briefly mention in the passing the Verritty Grouse Moor Management Group which was supposed to have produced its report this summer (2019) though, if it has, it is probably sitting in the ‘pending further consultation and prevarication’ pile such is the Scottish Government’s, yet again, cautious approach.

    And no one mentioned the glaring irrationality of the Scottish Government as managers of the Crown Estates in Scotland actively promoting, via the Crown Estates web site, grouse shooting which, it claims, is done under ‘nest practice’ (the best practice would be no to). I tried, but my MSP chose to ignore me.

    Maybe the guests did not want to offend their hosts, but it deem seem to be a missed opportunity.

  17. I submitted a comment yesterday and, not unreasonably, was told it had to be cleared before being put on this site. Although the comment expressed agreement with much of Revive’s campaign against driven grouse moors it also expressed concerns about the blanket forestry they seem to want to cover moorland which is a valuable habitat in itself. My comment has not been included in the list despite the fact that it was made politely and seriously. Can you please explain why this censorship has taken place?

  18. From WGD in the National:-

    ”This week Ruth Davidson created a PR disaster by taking a PR job. We shouldn’t have been surprised. PR disasters by self-professed Unionists is what has got all of us into this mess in the first place. That’s what counts as getting on with the day job for them.

    So can we stop pretending now, please? Or rather, can those who claim to support a strong place for Scotland within the UK stop pretending? The rest of us have already long since been seeing things clearly. What the entire past three years of the Brexit process ought to have taught anyone who has been paying attention is that the British Government has precisely zero interest in listening to Scotland. And if you have been paying attention and haven’t learned that lesson, then do us all a favour and stop telling people that you’re a Unionist, because that creature is every bit as mythical as a unicorn. But rarely as cute and never as appealing. According to legend, unicorns have the magical powers of healing any wound. The only magic power that Scottish Unionism possesses is creating open wounds. They possess the powers of disappointment and charmlessness.

    If you oppose Scottish independence and support this Conservative government, you are not a Unionist. What you really are is an incorporationist, you’re a Greater England nationalist, you’re someone who denies that Scotland has a right to have its say as a distinctive entity within this supposed United Kingdom. When you argue that every individual each gets one vote and it’s merely unfortunate that England has 10 times Scotland’s population so we need to suck up whatever is decided south of the Border, you’re not arguing for a union, you’re arguing for Scotland to be nothing more than a glorified English county council. That means you’re failing as a Unionist. You’re failing Scotland. You’re failing as a self-professed opponent of nationalism, because you’re merely opposing Scottish nationalism in order to facilitate English nationalism. You can continue to fool yourself if you want. The rest of us are increasingly no longer listening. Scottish independence is going to happen because Scottish Unionists are not capable of being honest with themselves or with the people of Scotland.

    This week we are approaching the end of the beginning for Brexit. We’ve seen a Scotland that has been marginalised and ignored, treated with contempt and disdain. In the past week the Prime Minister announced loud and clear that there is no role for Scotland’s Parliament in decisions about Brexit. How dare we stand in his way. Holyrood’s consent is neither to be sought nor to be welcomed. Yet according to the Scotland Act, the UK Government must seek the consent of Holyrood for any provision that affects devolved matters, but that doesn’t matter to this UK Government. They could simply rule, as they previously did, that express consent from Holyrood counts as consent, that saying nothing counts as consent, or that saying no counts as consent. Holyrood’s consent doesn’t matter to Westminster. What mattered was the contempt that oozed out of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson for anyone or anything that might try to interpose itself between him and his blind blond ambition.

    We saw that same contempt in the deliberately orchestrated walk-out of Tory MPs as the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford rose to stand and speak in the Commons. It’s not just that the Conservatives are not listening to Scotland – they want us to know that they are ostentatiously not listening, that they are doing it deliberately. They want Scotland to understand that its place is silence, obedience and the tugging of the tartan forelock. They want us to understand that they can do whatever they like, and Scotland counts for nothing. Then they tell us how precious the Union is to them, but what they mean is that they value what Scotland gives them: a site to park missiles, all that oil, the grouse shooting and the territory that makes little England that much larger. They don’t value any sense that they could possibly owe Scotland anything in return. Worse than that, they have no concept at all that Scotland might be owed a hearing. This is the Empire 2.0, and the imperial possessions will do as they are told. Alister Jack will be along shortly to tell us how lucky we are.

    There’s been a distinct change in the air in Scotland over the past couple of months. There’s been a shifting, a slippage, a sense that things have changed. The old certainties of Britishness have proven themselves to be a sea of quicksand, and the Empire’s castle is sinking. We haven’t yet achieved a new firm surface, but we can never return to the days of the 1980s or 90s when it was unthinkable that Scotland’s future could be anything but British. The good old days that the Labour Party in Scotland longs for have gone and will never return. Irn-Bru can bring back the old recipe, but the UK will never be palatable again to hundreds of thousands of Scots no matter how much Westminster tries to sweeten it.

    People who previously would never have considered independence as a serious possibility are now looking to it as the sole escape route from the madness of a senile Britannia. Brexit is going to continue to deform and debilitate Britain for decades to come, even if by some miracle it can be avoided this time. We are at the tipping point for independence now. There’s no going back.

    This coming weekend Glasgow will host an independence rally organised by The National newspaper. The rally in George Square will be addressed by Nicola Sturgeon, who will most likely use the occasion to renew her call for an independence referendum in 2020.

    It is vital that we fill the streets of Glasgow, that we take advantage of this opportunity offered to the people of Scotland by The National and send a message to Westminster that they can’t ignore. Scotland has had enough of being treated with contempt. Scotland has had its fill of Conservative disdain and marginalisation. The people of this country are going to decide their own future, and we will do so with or without permission from a Conservative PM.”

  19. Dearie me. LBJ’s no happy noo. Is going in a huff because he disnae want 3.5 million EU citizens who can’t stand him voting in the forthcoming GE. He’s also trying to block 16/17 year olds voting too, when it was alright for 15+ year olds, here and abroad, to vote for him.

    ”Boris Johnson to abandon snap general election if 16-year-olds and EU citizens given right to vote.”

  20. Everyone should be voting SNP even after years of criticism. Some people will have to apologise when the SNP helps delivers Independence.

  21. The Tories will need to have an election they can lose to get them out of their mess. Deja Vu. Who wants the poison chalice.

  22. I see that Paul is back, so I’ll post this on here, in full in case you can’t see it.

    Great poem by Kevin McKenna? in the National.


    ”How a country having passed the point of no return was driven by scoundrels to the cold Country of Isolation towards a perpetual state of fear and loathing; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Cayman Islands; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Brexiteer shunn’d reason and charity.

    With apologies to the family and estate of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

    It is an ancient Brexiteer,

    And he stoppeth pork and brie.

    With coupon puce and witt’ring lies,

    Was e’er one posh’r than he?

    For Eton’s doors were opened wide,

    For his stout, anointed kin;

    The guests are met, the feast is set:

    ‘Ne’er foreign chap ich bin’.

    His cane he held with skinny hand,

    His lips seem’d drained of blood

    His neck didst glint with brasso

    And good folk yelled ‘What a fud!’

    He holds you with his watery eye—

    Like a Wedding-Guest all howlin’,

    ‘We mustn’t let the French forget

    Or the Germans get their towels in’.

    Oh Albion, oh land so fair

    You once broke Hitler’s barrage

    Why now permit the jackboots

    Of Robinson and Farage?

    Beloved green and pleasant land,

    Now lonely as a cloud

    Replacing truth and beauty

    And kindness with a shroud

    And now this ancient Brexiteer

    Of England strong and stable

    Did not thou preach of fealty

    And reject the Tower of babel?

    Was Dulce et Decorum est

    Your Eton recitation?

    Your pure Pro Patria Mori

    A fanfare for this nation?

    In Flanders fields the poppies bow

    In sweet, silent adoration

    A witness to the sacrifice

    Of a golden generation

    Drums beat slowly, fifes play lowly

    Fields shine with poppies’ raiment

    The deeds of heroes now betrayed

    By Brexit’s shrill lament

    We venerated Passchendale

    And the sweet rebuke of Spitfires

    Yet now forsake once loyal friends

    In the flames of Brexit’s pyres

    You hatched your lies and stratagems

    Reviled Turks and NHS

    In shady Caribbean havens,

    Dark profits of the ERS

    Then enter right your blond Messiah

    Your bumbling Enfield gig’lo

    This Central Office Pennywise

    This concupiscent buff’lo

    To make your dreams of av’rice fly

    You poisoned those reviled

    With tales of immigration

    And xenophobic bile

    The Ancient Brexiteer proceeds

    And good folk peer beneath

    This cursed brew; this toil and trouble

    Of England’s Brexit heath

    To slake your greedy, corp’rate donors

    Your tax-shy acolytes

    You beat a path from decency

    And sacred human rights

    In Scotia bides a canny breed

    Still seeking bright redemption

    They’re battle-harden’d to the fibs

    Of Brexit’s spun deception

    Those stubborn and rebellious Scots

    Ne’er quite know when they’re beaten

    At once both thrawn and faithful

    And ever European

    This land has been a haven

    For immigrants and races

    Providing truth and succour

    In its bleak and pure, safe spaces

    While England yearns to expedite

    A boot to Europe’s jacksie

    The Scots know well the Union’s dead

    Enough! Let’s hail a taxi

    It is an ancient Brexiteer

    And he seeks a backstop greasy

    By the light of Ulster’s bonfires

    He conjured something sleazy

    No depths exist he won’t descend

    To quench the banker’s whim

    No avenues go unexplored

    In sev’ring Britain’s limb

    He told those Lords ‘I won’t obey,

    You’ll pay a price right heavy!’

    Round Bercow’s chair his zealots throng’d

    All howling with the bevvy

    ‘If families have to go without,

    If stricken patients wither,

    Twas European perfidy

    That made me not deliver.

    But listen not to those foul fiends

    Don’t let your spirits sicken

    In yonder sea a ship’s jam packed

    With chlorinated chicken

    In Africa where once we roamed

    And oil-soaked southern Asia

    We’ll build a trading company

    And drain them at our pleasure

    It is an ancient Brexiteer

    Some thought him double-wide

    Yet in his desiccated soul

    A hard resolve did bide

    ‘The false accusers of Remain

    May don their gilets-jeune

    But never fear, I’ll smite them all,

    With water-jets and guns’

    And lo it came to pass indeed

    That Britain rued her folly

    Sold by Bullingdon’s elite

    On a sea of vintage Bolly

    Ah! well a-day! what evil looks

    Had I from old and young!

    Instead of the cross, the Albatross

    Round Britain’s neck was hung.

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