27sep04: From Mr Scouser

Take it from the Kop

It's such a shame that hapless Tony
Has to smooch with Berlusconi
For us that stand here on the Kop
In this town that time forgot
This sad betrayal hurts allot

It's not because his politics stink
That makes us old stalwarts shrink
But can the tyrant of Milan
Who bends the rules because he can
Be loved by any English fan


Auntie Jayne writes:

Dear Mr Scouser,

First let me say I don't necessarily accept your alias as accurate. "Such a shame" is not a term commonly used amongst Liverpool supporters - they are typically much more expressive.

Furthermore the "town that time forgot" cannot be applied now it has the epithet "City of Culture". Only recently I was talking to a property developer who had completed on a house near Lark Lane for 1m. Five years ago he had bought a similar one for only 200,000.

So I take it that you are being disingenuous and looking for any ammunition to attack your leader. (Yes, I do believe you are an old stalwart of the Labour Party. But rather less loyal than the term suggests.)

I know that amongst people like you there is discontent. I have seen one email from a constituency chairman that asks "How do we get our Party back?" But all too often people like yourselves muddy the water with extraneous issues and don't give sufficient allowance to your leaders in trying to come to terms with the contradictory demands of us voters.

However I have been concerned by the influence that big business has on our politics. I was especially concerned when your party dropped potential taxes on supermarket parking spaces near the time when, Tesco supported the government's New Deal1.

It may come as a surprise to you but I wish to say something mildly supportive about Mr Berlusconi Yes, he is a Media Mogul, with all the power that the term implies. But standing for election has put him under a certain amount of democratic scrutiny. You can't imagine Mr Murdoch putting himself in the front line in the same way.

As for his 'bending the rules', I understand he has merely postponed the proceedings while he holds his important office of state.

I quite like the "hapless Tony - Berlusconi" rhyme but I suspect this has led you to overdo the insult. But if you want your poems to sound less like doggerel don't rhyme so often and, as a learning exercise at least, use Shakespeare's favourite rythmn - the five-beat line.

You will see that changing

A cart, a horse, a cat, a dog.
A rat, a cat, a mouse, a frog.


A cart, a horse, a cat, a dog, a mule.
A chair, a man, a cow, a log, a stool.

makes the lines so much more magisterial.


Note1:See the following on www.newdeal.gov.uk

Tesco has taken on thousands of people through New Deal, as part of the company's policy of supporting the communities in which it operates. Tesco's UK Regeneration Manager, Martin Venning, says:

"Like most employers who are involved in New Deal and know what it's about, we recognise that its objectives are highly desirable. It's about trying to rekindle aspiration in individuals, who have found themselves in a cycle of no opportunity and lack of ambition."

Sadly for every job that is created at a Tesco store, we should ask how many jobs are lost in smaller local shops that really do serve the local community. I know of a local shop where the proprietor not only delivers to the old and infirm in his neighbourhood but also will perform useful services like changing broken light bulbs.

I have often thought that many of the kindnesses, which make everyday life so much more pleasant, are left out of the consumerist economic model too often followed by the current government. If the "consumerist economists" insist on overplaying their hand (eg. as with the 118 telephone fiasco) they should extend their academic theories to cover more of the real world. A good start would be to recognise that a good local shop can play a part in policing, social work and making our society friendlier and kinder.

But perhaps kindness and friendliness will always be alien to our brand of market economy.

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