Poetry

Epitaph for John Mortimer

Old John Mort. was a rather rum sort.
Politically of progressive bent,
but who adapted Brideshead Revisited
and was faithful to Waugh’s intent.

He gave a neat clinical picture

of one Champagne Socialist mind.

He hated self-made Tories much more

than he did the old landed kind.

More than some, he understood Britain

in its present very weird season.

At least he took on Tony Blair,

and it seemed to be for good reason.

Old-time fox-hunting was the cause

of that nasty little spat.

And though I don’t quite hunt myself

I warm to him somewhat for that.

It was he who whistle-blew and stopped

the government’s lie going free

that the Countryside Alliance

was run by the BNP.

According to John Mortimer’s wife

when the government’s lie was stopped

it tried to brand him as senile,

but that lie also flopped.

His politics and life-style

were full of contradictions,
and he altered legal procedure
in a couple of his fictions.

As a QC he was experienced
on Circuit Court and Quarter Sessions,
however one Rumpole plot presumed
admissibility of induced confessions.

Still, it was good entertainment,

and made him a household name,

and Leo McKern was one of the best

actors that Sydney can claim.

I heard Mortimer at a Bar Dinner once,
and of course he spoke pretty well.
Let him not be with fellow New-Labourites now:

that would be his idea of Hell.

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