Song of a realist

Food bank sign at the Baptist Church

I’m so tired of all the whingeing
From the bleeding hearts brigade
From the moaners and remoaners
On their pointless sad crusade.

They whinge about low pay
They whinge about high rent
They whinge about inequality
They’re just stirring up discontent.

The rich man in his castle
The poor man at the gate
It’s been this way forever
Don’t try to mess with fate.

Don’t languish in the slow lane
Take the fast track to success
Let money be your one true god
Get ahead of all the rest.

Get on the housing ladder
Join the ownership elite
Life’s a postcode lottery
Stand on your own two feet.

The NHS is on its knees
Go private – it makes sense.
Why wait to see a doctor –
It’s well worth the expense.

Let’s cut right back on foreign aid
We can’t feed the global poor.
That charity begins at home
Is an unwritten law.

Beware you freedom lovers
They want to tax us to the hilt.
When you rail against public spending
They just play upon your guilt.

Love thy neighbour, Jesus said
Out of love for all humanity
But when needs must, my advice would be
Turn a blind eye to Christianity.

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. PJ McMullan

    Thank you for your poem. In response I want to quote the words of Oscar Wilde “We are all in the gutter. But some of us are looking at the stars”.

  2. I agree with Oscar Wilde! And I don’t encounter much whingeing in this beautiful little town. I am so moved by the generosity and compassion of people who give and give and give again to help those who, for various reasons, are finding life hard. It’s true, that is what Jesus said we should do. And it’s wonderful to see it lived out amongst us, twinkly stars of hope.

    • It would be a relief if it was! But I’m not sure at all. Its deeply cynical and reflects popular attitudes. I wish the food bank sign hadn’t been used as it’s image :(. Am I overly touchy – yes probably.

      • I think you’re right in regretting that the (out of date) Food Bank image was used, Mags. The poem has no connection with the Food Bank at all, and in most respects the sentiments it expresses are far away from the values the Food Bank hold to. The poet is most welcome to visit on a Wednesday morning when we’re clear of lockdown; a warm welcome awaits.

  3. How very sad, poor editing to allow the use of food bank sign to illustrate as well. But “freedom of speech” and all that !

  4. Gordon Gekko said it more entertainingly, and Margaret Thatcher said it more concisely… But neither with such embittered relish! And how myopically smug to think disadvantage is predestined but success is ordained…
    Thankfully RN purveys some other visions of how society can work – viz the RMA story or those on the Food Bank. Slightly more inspiring!

  5. The unpleasant character I invented to speak in ‘Song of a Realist’ expresses opinions that I personally find totally obnoxious, but as Mags Ivatts says “so many people have these views”.

    I chose to exaggerate such views to focus attention both on the inequities in housing, income, education, health provision etc. within our society and also on the need to maintain levels of foreign aid where urgently needed in places like Yemen.

    I am full of admiration for those who run food banks in their efforts to mitigate inequality. It is deeply regrettable that in Britain today there are some who have to rely on such help because of their straitened circumstances.

    The 2020 Marmot Report titled ‘Build Back Fairer’ tells us that Covid 19 has “exposed massive inequality” in Britain and argues that we cannot return to normal.

    As the report says, average incomes have barely increased since
    2010, with income for those at the top increasing faster than for those at the bottom. The report also reveals that time spent in poor health for both men and women in the most deprived areas of England, has increased.

    Professor Marmot indicated that “we should not be asking if we can afford for our children’s wellbeing to rank better that 27th out of 38 rich countries, or to pay for free school meals during holidays so that eligible children do not go to bed hungry. Social justice requires it.”

  6. Mr McMullan may well tell us that he finds the views expressed in his “poem” obnoxious but the reality is that there are people who may well miss the subtlety of that point and may even sadly agree with what another correspondent here so rightly calls “horrible sentiments”.
    Best left unsaid surely?

  7. I really appreciate PJ McMullan responding and explaining what he has done. We need to do everything we can to ensure improved social justice. It is all our responsibilities.

  8. “There have been several comments expressing dismay at the publication of this poem, and I am sorry if this has caused offence to some of our readers.
    It is perhaps not immediately obvious that the poem is a satire on the selfish attitudes which I regret to say may be found in certain sectors of our society. It is not until the last verse that the writer points up (pretty clearly to my mind) that holding these attitudes is incompatible with Christian teaching and that anyone holding them betrays their hypocrisy.
    Satire and social comment like this has been the business of poets throughout the ages and is a necessary contribution, which pierces the veil of social mores and holds them up to the light. It is regrettable that satire is a genre out of favour with the BBC in recent years. Perhaps that is a comment too upon the state of our society.
    I would not necessarily expect everyone to agree with me, but please be assured that Rye News is acting in good faith. I do believe that the writer had something serious to say and that he or she deserved to be heard.”
    Kenneth Bird
    Director, Rye News


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