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POEMS IN PARLIAMENT

A growing collection of found poetry using the Hansard - the edited verbatim reports of proceedings of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them.

Each poem aims to distil and reflect upon the original parliamentary debate, giving readers an emotive peak inside our government proceedings (in under five minutes).

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WITH PERMISSION

The situation is,
51 cases confirmed. 
Though, relatively small,
People are understandably concerned.
But, we cannot build a wall,

Or an iron curtain around these islands.
Disease knows no borders.

This outbreak, is about timing. 
Getting the timing right.

Ask people too early, 
Ask them to move too soon,
They may question, 
Intervention.

With permission, Mr Speaker, May I apologise,
For being a few minutes late?
I bring forward, crucially 
A most important debate.
 
My bigger anxiety is Buxton,
To, minimise economic disruption.
I love going to Buxton,
Britain’s best spa town.

It will not be a surprise to people,
Buxton is a great place to visit.
Will he join me in encouraging people to visit, Buxton?

With permission, Mr Speaker, I am slightly worried,
That he just does not get it.
Something has changed overnight, 
Surely we must put that right?
And, I would like to highlight,
We have a massive hole in the plan.


And the single most important thing,
Much more than travelling,
Is we still do not know,

What can we best do,
To get ourselves best through? 

As cases escalate,
The Secretary of State,
To delay, contain, and mitigate
Avoid, widespread, transmission rates,
Wishes, you, to, self-isolate.

We need everyone to listen and act, 
And, take account of that fact,
That the NHS must do business as usual.

But, by the way, we do not wish to pay
And 
-urgent care may be delayed.

 

Coronavirus

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Volume 672

Find the original debate transcript here.

WITH PERMISSION
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EIGHT

I was surprised to see the bus drivers, 
Sitting in the front seat in shirt sleeves,
Besides someone in full hazmat gear. 

A belt-and-braces approach.

Eight people in England have tested positive for coronavirus.
But, to demonise or abuse anybody of Chinese or east Asian origin, 
Is completely wrong.

China is now not the only lexicon.

We have laid an instrument,
A publicity campaign.
Simple but effective;

It’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

Our thoughts, should things get worse here, 
Should this outbreak turn, rather strange,
The advice remains absolutely clear;

We simply do not know.

And, to answer the point about the bus drivers,
All went smoothly…

… touch wood.

Wuhan Coronavirus

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Volume 671

Find the original debate transcript here.
 

EIGHT
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IN THE EVENT OF THE VIRUS

The lunar new year in Wuhan, 
Manchester’s sister city,
Could not have come at a worse time.

11 million people,
5, 7, 14 days,
571 cases.

But, as far as we know,
The risk moves,

“Very low” to “low”.

17 fall,
To a flu.


The nature of this virus
Is under review.


Avoid undue, anxiety.

Wuhan Coronavirus
Thursday 23 January 2020

Volume 670

Find the original debate transcript here.
 

IN THE EVENT OF THE VIRUS
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THE PEOPLE IN THE CONTAINER

Loved ones, on a journey, 
To a better life, they seek.
Spent many hours, days, weeks,
Smuggling their wildest dreams,
In the back of a steel box.

The pressure, in hiding, 
In metal containers.
We are inside, I echo,
There are barely words available. 

1.40 this morning,
39 loved ones, have gone 
To a better, beyond.

It is with a sore heart, 
A raw nerve,
I echo the words, 
We hope.


Nobody leaves their home,

On a whim. 
 

Major Incident in Essex
Wednesday 23 October 2019
Volume 666

Find the original debate transcript here.
 

THE PEOPLE IN THE CONTAINER
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I BEG TO MOVE

I beg to move to, 
Leave, this mitigating air,
It is only fair.

Clean Air

03 September 2019
Volume 664

Find the original debate transcript here.

I BEG TO MOVE
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VERY PROUD INDEED

The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson)

Before I begin,

To restore trust in our democracy,
There’s far too much negativity.

Have confidence in this great legacy,
A can-do attitude, positivity,

A new golden age of our economy,
An absolute priority, I think you will agree.

Our country will boast, competitiveness and productivity,
Improved quality, right here, right now, imagine the trajectory!

The greatest place on earth I say,
“the greatest place on earth”,
The greatest and most prosperous,
place on earth!

[Interruption.] I respect your passion,

But I do not respect your delinquency. 

Calm yourself, man; take some sort of soothing medicament,

And you will feel better as a consequence.

THE GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH I SAY
THE GREATEST P
LACE ON EARTH!

The greatest opportunity, energy, security,
The greatest connectivity, broadband and 5G,
The greatest place for friends and family, after, industry. 

The greatest set of systems, the greatest politicians,
The greatest place to invest and set up dynamic business.

The greatest transport and fisheries, healthcare and crops,
The greatest settlement and spirit, the greatest power and flip-flops.

The greatest faith and values, the greatest place to live,
The greatest national Government, under the Conservatives.

The purpose ? Our mission ? Unequivocally,
All be very, very proud, 
Very proud indeed.


I am conscious that some may accuse me of hyperbole,
But on this I must, I am afraid, respectfully disagree.

The greatest United Kingdom, entire and whole,

The greatest trade and environment, 

The greatest control.

Priorities for Government
25 July 2019

Volume 663

Find the original debate transcript here.

VERY PROUD INDEED
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FIVE-MINUTE MENTAL STATE TEST

This is not an exact science,
This is a complex exercise,
This cruel and discredited PIP assessment.

Taking 25p away from £1, adds anxiety. 
Spell “world” backwards, and be able to go forward. 
Conditions can fluctuate and isolate socially,
And, those who are affected had not been awarded.

Vulnerable people, fight through the courts, 
60,000 appeals, inadequate support.
Government failed 72%,


How long it will take for any back payment?

A serious wake-up call, 
PIP needs to be overhauled,
Are we not determined, 
To get it right for all ?

 

It is now clear that PIP not fit,  
Will the Minister commit,

To an urgent audit ?


We made a real commitment,
To the Supreme Court Judgment,
To work carefully, through the detail
Of draconian assessments, which often fail.

We wanted clarity, the judgment is welcome, of course.

We will be looking carefully,


Surely, fully and fairly, 


To ask, who has responsibility,
For peoples' respect and dignity?



But, I am just a, proud, Minister of State,


Conditions, potentially, may fluctuate,


A menu of health conditions to navigate,


To estimate, how long it will take, 
To go forward and fully integrate,
To initiate, update, appropriate, 
The highest, possible, support rate,
Through what can be a very difficult and complicated,
Application system.

 

Please answer the question.

While, totally inadequate,
The process, is to, discriminate.

Personal Independence Payments: Supreme Court Ruling

23 July 2019

Volume 663

Find the original debate transcript here.
 

FIVE-MINUTE MENTAL STATE TEST
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THE GOOD PARLIAMENT

Time bombs in all the political parties,


Ticking away, under house authorities,
Fully aware of the responsibilities, 
Cover these things up.

In the dark corners and closed offices,
Unacceptable employment practices,
Know that their service is,


Founded on fear.

Shout at, sworn at, scandal and shame, 
Demean, belittle and humiliate, 
Who could blame them, doing the same?
Coming forward to participate.

What goes on in this place, comes through in the training,
Sometimes grossly, accompanied by touching,
We knew there was a problem.

A toxic culture of insecurity, sets the legislation,
With little thought and consideration, a dedicated implementation,
Alongside the will and determination,
To cover these things up.

True justice, left this place and gone,

And so on and so on.
We have no one.

The biggest elephant in the room,


Muzzled from ever talking.

We must stop dragging our feet,
Stand in my shoes,

Proceed at pace.



Policies and guidelines,


Dignity and understanding,
It seems, to me, to be, the simplest thing of all.

Today, I echo that call.



Today, I echo.

echo.

echo. 

Bullying and Harassment of MPs’ Parliamentary Staff 
17 July 2019
Volume 663

Find the original debate transcript here.
 

THE GOOD PARLIAMENT
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THE ISSUE OF ANONYMITY

Social media gives a great platform,
To the perfect, poisonous storm.

On the dark, cyber alleyways, in the tsunami of the internet,
A cruel, concealed mass-market,
A toxic, glitch.

In the spun shadows, silhouettes, keyboard warriors, loons and nom de plumes,
They type, “I hope she dies soon,
The Dumb bitch”.

It stalks, withdrawn, 
Creeps into every crack,
With a cloak to conceal,
Its anonymous attack.

Trolls troll the street, And lurk in our phones,
As pseudonyms, begin to Tweet, following people into their homes,
Leaching into our offline world.

Polluting public space, entrenching divisions and trashing our democracy, 
The phenomenon of flashing GIFs targeting children with epilepsy.
Trolls targeting epileptic kids,
With, no, consequences.  

Let that sink in for a moment.

“Ass licking vile piece of slime”,
“Wrinkly, pedo-lover”,
“Shit-stirring…cum buckets”,
“Nasty”, “greasy bender”.

A person, a machine, 
Or something in between?
Robust and swift intimidation,
Propaganda, abuse, misinformation,
Hiding behind a screen.

God knows, reporting does not work,
They have weaponised free speech.
Ofcom’s hands tied behind its back,
Legal remedies are out of the reach. 

Social Media companies,
wash their hands of responsibility,
If people want to be nasty,
They have the right to amnesty.

This is about free speech, free speech is crucial,
But these are crimes, 
of hate and lies, 
wrapped in the veneer of being ‘social’.

Anonymity can give voice to the voiceless,
And empower the oppressed,
But whose free speech we are protecting,
And how it is being harnessed ?

We feed the big tech’s businesses, 
Through spiteful, dangerous practices,
used for harmful purposes;
Misogyny, Homophobia, Racism, 
Death threats, Violence and Antisemitism, 
All shielded by a virtual world,
and an extremist algorithm.

Online Anonymity and Anonymous Abuse

24 March 2021
Volume 691

Find the original debate transcript here.
 

THE ISSUE OF ANONYMITY
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