Tag Archives: Boris Johnson

Political poem: appallingly bad verse apparently in favour of Liz Truss

Bizzy lizzy will win by a.mile
She has got a lovely smile
Brians to match her lovely face.
She will win this pm race
Sunaks a snake
A back stabbee he is
He turned on boris
And will turn on liz
She will be a great pm
Not as good.as maggie but no one could be
Mrs thartcher mach 3
Liz will stand proud over our lands
Holdinh out her hand
If we wotk to gether we can
Get rid of the woke
And watch them. Cry into there cornflakes
As liz makes our country great.
In liz we trust god speed to our new pm

*****

In honour of Liz Truss’s trip to Balmoral Castle to be named Queen Elizabeth’s Prime Minister, I looked for poems by or about the new PM. The above is the best I could find, reposted in the Yorkshire Bylines by Jimmy Andrex under the heading Has the emergence of Liz Truss stimulated a new type of poetry?

Jimmy does a good serious job of discussing modern political poetry… sort of. But he fails to note that the quoted “poem” by “Bill Sutton” originated as a post to the Facebook group ‘Liz Truss Supporters (no trolls)‘ which is loaded with sarcastic commentary on the British Conservative Party in general and Liz Truss in particular.

So the answer to Jimmy’s question is No, of course. Scathing poetry, good or deliberately bad, has long been used as a political weapon. Bill Sutton’s post may be amusing, but is unlikely to resonate for as long as, say, Shelley’s rant the year before George III died: “An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king, –

Good luck, Liz; hope you’ve got a thick skin.

Odd poem: prize-winning limerick by Boris Johnson

There was a young fellow from Ankara,

Who was a terrific wankerer.

Till he sowed his wild oats,

With the help of a goat,

But he didn’t even stop to thankera.

To make sense of this limerick, and why Boris Johnson wrote it, and the various reasons that it won a £1,000 prize, we have to poke around the politics of a few years ago. It started when a German video mildly mocked the authoritarian and repressive President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish government summoned the German ambassador to “explain and justify” the video. As Turkey had become extremely repressive to journalists, German TV comedian Jan Böhmermann then decided to show Erdoğan what free speech meant, by broadcasting a deliberately offensive poem.

On a set with a Turkish flag and portrait of Erdoğan, and with subtitles in Turkish, Böhmermann read his poem of twelve rhyming couplets. Here is a rough translation:

Defamatory Poem, by Jan Böhmermann

Stupid as fuck, cowardly and uptight,
Is Erdoğan, the president,
His gob smells of bad döner,
Even a pig’s fart smells better,
He’s the man who hits girls,
While wearing a rubber mask,
But goat-fucking he likes the best,
And having minorities repressed,

Kicking Kurds and beating Christians
While watching kiddie porn,
And even at night, instead of sleep,
It’s time for fellatio with a hundred sheep,

Yep, Erdoğan is definitely
The president with a tiny dick,
Every Turk will tell you all,
The stupid fool has wrinkly balls,
From Ankara to Istanbul,
They all know the man is gay,
Perverted, louse-infested, a zoophile,
Recep Fritzl Priklopil

Head as empty as his balls,
Of every gang-bang party he’s the star,
Till his cock burns when he has a piss,
That’s Recep Erdoğan, Turkish president.

Erdoğan filed complaints with German prosecutors in a bid to have the poem suppressed, and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to investigate, which led to a court injunction, but also to the poem being read out in the German parliament.

Boris Johnson–at the time a backbench Conservative MP as well as former Mayor of London–was interviewed shortly after by The Spectator and a conservative Swiss paper, on immigration, Brexit and related issues. The subject of the poem came up. Johnson–one of whose great-grandfathers was Turkish–called it a scandal that a German court had issued an injunction against the poem being repeated. He said “If somebody wants to make a joke about the love that flowers between the Turkish president and a goat, he should be able to do so, in any European country, including Turkey.” As The Spectator had issued a £1,000 ‘President Erdogan Offensive Poetry’ challenge, Johnson was asked if he had entered. He said no, but when pressed, came up with his apparently spontaneous limerick.

Poetry judge Douglas Murray said the competition received thousands of entries, and he tweeted: “Can I remind entrants that you cannot just make up words. ‘Wankerer’ does indeed rhyme with Turkey’s capital. But it is not a word.” (For non-Brits: “wank” = masturbate, and “wanker” = stupid jerk.) However, Boris Johnson ended up with the £1,000 prize. Perhaps the fact that he is a former editor of The Spectator had something to do with it. (And technically, this is a very limerick.)