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Spectator competition: write a preview in verse of when the lights go out (plus voter-repelling party political broadcasts)

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

The recent call for off-putting party political broadcasts on behalf of the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens or Ukip drew a surprisingly small entry. But the Green party loomed large and Basil Ransome-Davies wasn’t alone in revealing the ruthlessness that lurks beneath its tree-hugging veneer:

The reality is, some of us have been trained to kill with our bare hands. And who knows, that may be necessary unless we can educate the electorate to our level of awareness. It may be the only way to save the planet.

He earns an honourable mention. Adrian Fry, who recruited Jimmy Savile as Tory spokesman (can’t get more repellent than that), also deserves a mention but perhaps that should be a dishonourable one.

The entries that shone brightest appear below and are rewarded with £25 each. Frank Upton takes the bonus fiver.

Frank Upton

Sustainability— the word on all our lips. A Green government will put YOU at the heart of sustainability! We will: grant endangered species the vote; introduce government by video-conference, allowing Westminster to be returned to its natural riparian wetland habitat; enrol willing teens in the Young Environmentalists, with privileged access to higher education and grant funding; provide every person each month with an unbleached linen bag of ‘greenbacks’, recycled plastic banknotes that can be spent on approved sustainable products; reserve the inside lane on motorways for bicycles; repurpose Heathrow as a wind farm with low-impact peasant agriculture; build 200,000 new affordable homes, without using any land or putting them next to anything; appoint a Climate Pontiff, whose pronouncements made ex cathedra on a point of climate science will be infallible; and make all political promises fully biodegradable.

GREEN: the last party you’ll ever vote for! 

Frank McDonald

We are Liberal and we are honest and we want to tell you where your money will go. We are sure you want to make sacrifices for the benefit of others. We already give millions to other countries; we would multiply that figure by ten, for much more can be done and needs to be done. How often have you observed we have too much money? Many come here and meet a frosty reception for their alleged illegal entry but we welcome the needy, even the scoundrel, for who knows when we too will be in need? So instead of insulting the millions who simply want to enjoy our fields and forests, our towns and villages, we will impose taxes to support them as long as we have enough room. Let us show our humanity by becoming poorer to make others richer. 

Bill Greenwell

Never mind Cameron’s attack of totty-mouth. We in the Labour — consider the name — party understand what makes women tick. We want them out of the birthing pool and into the think tank, where they can offer more than gas-and-air or injections of pethidine. Here on the left, we want to beget some new ideas, and we know it’s not here to maternity, but the other way round. It’s time to cut the cord. The economy doesn’t need an episiotomy, but a Caesarean section — a well-timed surgical intervention that will keep the national bikini line secure for generations to come. We cut to deliver a new life, a full life, a life with lungs on it. And we want that woman’s intuition that the world will grow, that suckling is honest, that the national tantrum is best ignored, and that there is more to being post-natal than depression. Woman. Women. Labour. It’s obvious.

W.J. Webster

Hi, my name’s Tansy and I want to tell you about my journey. I never used to think twice about our fragile ecosystem. I flew abroad for holidays. I fuelled my car with a finite resource. I overfilled the kettle. In blind ignorance I was treading my filthy carbon footprints all over nature’s pristine carpet. And then one day I saw the green light. Committed environmentalists made me realise that until cars are abolished it’s homicidal to drive at more than 20 mph on suburban streets, that fracking means driving a stake into Mother Earth’s vital organs, and that only the green flag of nationalisation will make the trains run on time. By tracking back to a simple past, we Greens offer the only safe way into a complex future. So make the X on your ballot paper a kiss for the planet. Vote Green. 

Brian Murdoch

If you vote in a Labour government, two things are certain: Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister and Ed Balls his deputy. Some people have wondered about their images in the world at large, but do not worry. We shall introduce strong measures to control the press, letting us close down papers for showing pictures of Mr Miliband eating anything, and for allowing subs to use Mr Balls’ name in a facetious manner, especially with exclamation marks. But our most important policy is even more exciting. Royalty is clearly an outmoded concept in the modern world, and we need a different Head of State. Accordingly we shall reinstate the ancient office of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. Following the retirement of the Queen, this post will be offered to the most suitable person, namely Labour’s last truly charismatic leader, Mr Tony Blair. He has indicated his preparedness to take it. 

Virginia Price Evans

Only the Greens can save the planet! Pollution of the environment, catastrophic climate change, animal genocide — it’s people who are the problem. So our first task will be to radically reduce their number — women will be allowed one child and then will be compulsorily sterilised. We will reintroduce the death penalty — for those who murder innocent animals. We will close all power stations and, until we are self-sufficient in renewables, will ration businesses and homes to two hours of electricity a day. Communal allotments will be provided and all able-bodied people will be expected to contribute to growing food for their neighbourhood. We will gradually phase out motor vehicles — drivers will be able to hand in their cars at collection points and in exchange receive a horse and cart. Motorways and railway lines will be torn up and the land reforested. Vote Green and live in a new earthly paradise!


Your next challenge is to submit a poetic preview of when the lights go out. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 20 August.

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