Pleasing political poems aplenty

Poems from Mathew Knights and Dr David McKinstry.

Based in Arbroath, Matthew Knights is a writer and creative writing tutor ( and Artistic Director at the Knights Theatre Company (

Jennie Lee

Straight-faced woman

With a magnificent heart

The type to bear arms

In other ages and places

In this

Where she found herself instead

Part of a movement which had finally led

To a stable island of progress

She became a conduit

Between the old socialism and a new

Liberalism resurgent

Young and fresh and carefree, naïve

Nothing like Jennie Lee

History then leaned in

And growled

‘Act now, and institute a lasting truce’

Which has yet turned out to be

A dream just like the one before

And the one before that.

The old ghosts stir,

We do not see her type

They are relentlessly held back

Even as they strain to make

This century the women’s century.

Mary Brooksbank

There is no truth

Just what you believe

And are taught

And she

Was one who knew

And lived and breathed

The workers’ art

Which like the workers’ heart

Is a battered and bruised

And terrific weapon.

Dr David McKinstry Teaches History at Holyrood Secondary in Glasgow.

The Financial Crisis

From Prime Minister

To Downing Street cat,

All could smell greed

From a city rat.

Sell, Sell, Sell

Was the market mantra

On Sub-prime,

But no-one took stock

Until the fall

Of Northern Rock.

The public demanded

That someone had to pay,

So bankers duly served up

‘Fred the Shred’

Then retreated to their old boys’ club

With no blue bloodshed.

Tough talk on bankers pay

Was only government teasing,

Instead they were treated

To quantitative easing.

The financial crisis

Caused by light touch regulation,

Allowing the corrupt

To punt sub-prime,

A system rotten to its core

And living on borrowed time.

Jimmy Reid

Like his ancestral brothers in arms

 James Connolly and John MacLean,

He fought for workers’ rights

And their labour gain.

Their work-in was

Not for luxury to savour,

But common decency

And respect for their labour.

He reminded them

That dignity and discipline

Would get government thinking,

That meant sober purpose

And nae drinking.

He took his authority

From the Upper Clyde community,

But understood the world was watching

A display of workers unity.

Asylum Seekers boating

Across the channel,

Then forced onto a Boeing

Rwanda bound,

Someone pray tell

The home secretary,

Such naked premiership ambition

‘Is not pretty, Patel!’

No space in our sceptred isle

To honour international law

And play fair,

Unless the city can launder

Your dirty money

Whilst you reside in Mayfair.

No room at the inn

In our little Britain

To give the desperate a new start

Unless, ‘Of course come in’

If you are a Russian oligarch.

Post-Brexit Britain

Has shut up shop

And closed its compassion doors,

Unless you have enough dirty cash

To buy at our Oxford Street stores.

Glasgow Sums: A view from my classroom desk

I’m no maths man

But here is my intent

To explain simply,

What is a Glaswegian

Forty percent?

Forty percent

Equals four over ten,

Or approximately

Two score,

Or zero point four,

Or Glaswegian weans

Growing up poor.

It doesn’t matter

If I add or subtract,

Forty percent grow up poor

Is a statistical fact.

That’s what I meant

When I started to

Count a Glaswegian

Forty percent.