Laughing at the Union gates the lads Are out in suit and tie to see the show - To shove through to a vantage from to view The writhed infernal forms of protestation.
Speech is placid now; speech has been tamed, Rolls to be pet the belly of its meaning And the few who're scared are weak To weep to see the soft chimera.
But words have not been dead though they have slept. They seep in speech, glutting saccharine and seeming truth. They catch conscience as it sleeps, Buoyed up by the belief that rationality is pure and possible.
Their ripostes are practiced and prepared, And their faith is in bluff blue Reasonableness To puncture fascism in its first flowering. The upper lip stiffens and stays that way, As playing with power, they put on the national front.
This poem concerns the visit of Marine Le Pen to the Oxford Union on the 5th February 2015. I attended a protest outside the venue, as convinced then as I am now of the necessity to stand up to far-right ideology and policy.