Saturday, 19 January 2019

Plan B

Observe. A statue of Christ is helicoptered
in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita to St Peter’s Square.
Meanwhile, in an unproduced screenplay,
a chopper buzzes over the unsexy sprawl
of Grantham bearing an effigy of Thatcher
away from the awayday mob who organised
and travelled and turned up to tear it down.

Keep watching. The entire special effects budget
is about to blow ‘copter and statue to hell.
Panavision’s finest from a dozen angles
have the fireball covered. The footage
is an editor’s wet dream, inviting montage,
slo-mo, the full bag of film-making tricks,
the image repeated into iconography.

Let it go. None of this was ever shot. None
of those who deserved it were ever shot.
Che’s just a screenprint on a student’s wall
while he gets his end away to Nicki Minaj.
The revolution was kicked to the kerb,
social justice pause-buttoned in favour
of a night down the pub and a dirty kebab.

Plan B. A smattering of blue heritage plaques
to mark the murkiest moments of those
who govern us. This is where a shiny suit
bet the country against a losing hand.
This is where a tweed jacket sank a pint
and smirked and bleated about immigrants.
This is where a buffoon with a Union Flag

dangled from a wire like a Poundland Bond.
These are the not-so-big boys who did it
and ran away. And this is the z-grade
Thatcher tribute act clutching the hot potato
as if it were the Holy Grail, endlessly parroting
“The thing means the thing means some
weak approximation of the thing.” And this

is Parliament where the whole edifice is crumbling
even as it takes back control. Placards
jink above the crowds outside. MPs post selfies
from the No lobby. This is Parliament and these
are our honourable friends. This is where
it all went to hell. This is where it all went to hell.
This is where it all went to hell. This is where it all

© Neil Fulwood

Neil lives and works in Nottingham. His first collection No Avoiding It is available from Shoestring Press; his second is scheduled for publication in 2019.