Life Support

by Derek Morrison

The anxious gathered near the leader’s bed
Machines pumped air and tubes they fed
She who had once been so strong and stable
Was now on life support and no longer able 

Boris sobs loudly and weeps his loyal tears
Michael’s reassuring hug amplifies Boris’ fears
David is stoical gazing down at Come What May

While eyeing the exit and who’s in the way
Philip though stands alone on the ‘other’ side
He remains, and that they can’t abide
The doctors ask, should we switch it off?
The anxious gaze at feet, then jointly cough
Boris blows his nose and then declares
Let’s just wait;  see how she fares?
Philip is silent, his thoughts racked with doubt
For by supporting ‘in‘ they would have him ‘out’
But all the anxious know the risks they face
If they bring forth another succession race
So Michael gives Boris and even bigger hug

Then David smiles, and his shoulders shrug
It’s better that we partially resuscitate
Than party is terminated by the electorate.

[To listen to this verse select below]

[See also enhanced multimedia version on YouTube] (


The 8 June 2017 election result caused a loss of the UK’s Conservative Party majority in Parliament and seriously undermined the position of the Prime Minister, Theresa May. Under normal circumstances she would have resigned and been quickly replaced by someone judged by the party management initially –  but ultimately by the membership – as being most likely to rebuild the party’s electoral position. The situation in the UK, however, is far from normal. Two inter-related factors are keeping Theresa May on ‘stand by’ power or ‘life support’. First, Brexit negotiations with the EU are now underway and a change of leader risks further destabilising the UK’s rather shaky start to the process. Second, the UK has a major dose of voter (and politician) fatigue. Another Conservative Party leadership farrago, therefore, is likely to trigger another general election at which point the voters may choose to exact punishment upon those who continue to indulge in internecine conflict and so fail to put their own internal houses in order, never mind the country’s. And so the putative ‘alphas’ dare not launch explicit leadership bids but can merely circle around each other (and their stricken leader) wondering when, and how, they can engineer the power cut that will turn off her life support without damaging their own health. Meanwhile, the hyenas, wolves, and vultures outside the intensive care unit simply watch and wait.

Dramatis Personae

  1. Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  2. Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
  3. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  4. David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
  5. Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Dramatis Personae (YouTube version)

As above with the following additional cameo roles (blink though and you may miss them):

  1. A doctor, and bed decoration – Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party
  2. A doctor – George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and now editor of the London Evening Standard
  3. A nurse – Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
  4. A doctor, and skulker at the beside – Nigel Farage, controversial former leader of UKIP
  5. In bed with Theresa May – Arlene Foster, First Minister of the Norther Ireland Assembly and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who struck a deal with the UK Conservative Party so that the latter could stay in power after the loss of their parliamentary majority in the 8 June 2017 elections.
  6. Skulker at the bedside – Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) who argues that the Brexit referendum should have required a majority vote from each country of the UK and so will view a poor result from the Brexit negotiations as a potential catalyst to another referendum on Scottish independence.
  7. Facing the other way – the chair
  8. Skulker at the bedside – Vladimir Putin- President of the Russian Federation
  9. Skulker at the bedside – Donald Trump – President of the United State of America, deal-maker extraordinaire, slayer of evil tyrants everywhere, and putative builder of the Great Wall of America .
  10. Ghost 1 – Sir Edward Heath, Late Prime Minister who took the UK into the EU on 1 January 1973.
  11. Ghost 2 – Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Late Prime Minister of the UK whose turbulent engagements with the EU were considerable, but usually successful,
  12. Ghost 3 – David Cameron. Still very much alive although apparently now politically dead. The former Prime Minister of the UK who asked the question that should never have been asked and so created the Brexit crisis.
  13. Ghost 4 – Sir John Major. Still very much alive former Prime Minister of the UK (1990-1997) who suffered so grievously at the hands of the nascent Brexiteers embedded within the heart of the Conservative Party.
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