Financial and political

The taxman
I hate you Mister Taxman,
I hate you more each day.
Each year I work much longer
To keep your hounds at bay.

It’s bad enough in winter
Long nights, cold winds and frost.
And then I get my tax bill
To tell me what I’ve lost.

I know we all must pay some.
But blood you squeeze from me.
Although I am a tough stone
You do it easily.

So in my dreams I wonder
Where I should live next year.
The Channel Isles, the Isle of Man
Bermuda, just not here!

Minister sinister, James Gordon Brown,
Destroyed our economy with lies so obscene.
Now we’re recovering, ‘cos we’ve got rid of him,
But he has disappeared, never is seen.


Our students believe when they get a degree
To much higher earnings it’s some kind of key.
Bright eyed and note-taking, they write down the words.
If only they knew that it’s all for the birds.
If you think you learn more, it’s usually less.
Designed to rake fees in, be quick to assess.

The Profs flaunt their titles, to claim that they’re wise,
But their wisdom is foolish, the wisdom of flies.
Their titles are given by more of their kind
And do not imply a rare kind of mind.
Today they just want to bring in more money
By publishing rubbish - it’s really not funny

Pity students who want to learn at their feet.
Best give up all hope and learn how to cheat.
They use lots of software to see if you copy
But any detective will tell you it’s soppy.
Just buy lots of essays with strong guarantees
To pass all the checking and get your degrees.
The essays are good, and some of the best
Are written by dons, so they must pass the test.
A famous example of how this can work
Is a don who marked one of his own – what a berk!
He wrote them in hundreds, he was such a fibber.
He gave a good first to the student, the cribber.

Where is the learning of yesteryear
When we taught our students to think without fear?
We taught them how to bare their souls,
We flagged their thoughts upon high poles.
We told them it was not too late
To make their mark, to show their weight.

Powerful folk
Who lie, cheat and steal,
Just broaden the scope
Of their earlier sins.

The evil they do
Emerges in youth
It flowers with power,
And grows in effect.

But does it live after them?
No, it dies soon
For they learn very quickly
To bury their tracks.

City analysts
They sat in a row, across the table.
They wanted to know what I knew.
They looked for an edge, a nugget of info
To give to their clients something new.

On my every word hung millions of pounds.
They wanted to know what was hot.
For in the world of the Internet
It’s when you know , it’s not what.

They rushed away from the meeting,
Mobiles red hot with my news burst.
The next day the prices of tech stocks
Showed my views on the best and the worst.

Disgraceful ageing
There are two types of people,
Those who can count and who can’t.
Each year that passes I’m more like the last.
It’s just as well because if I can’t count,
I won’t get worried by my pension fund.

If I stay completely sane and accurate
I might get the shock that hit a friend
Whose pension fund collapsed,
Making it wiser to live shorter.

Saying no
The more you work, the less you’ll live,
The less you’ll earn, the more you sweat.
Learn to say no, and be the best.
A premium price is your reward.
But if you say yes, you’ll never have time
To build your brand and your quality.

French villa

Business was good, my bank balance fat,
My pipeline crammed full to the brim.
I turned to my wife to ask her to think
While she thrashed herself at the gym

Should we get two new cars, another house,
Start a new business. No chance!
We’d read all the books and seen the TV.
For us it’s a villa in France.

And so began our journey to hell,
That was to break us in two.
It all looks so easy when seen on TV,
But it’s tougher when all up to you.

We looked for a villa we could easily reach
From an airport connected to ours
A low cost airline would keep down the cost
And allow us to reach it in hours.

We found no villa, but bought the right land,
And planning permission we sought.
We had local lawyers, not cheap of course.
They’d sort it all out, so we thought.

Two years later, planning permission came through
And we looked for a builder to build.
We found one that seemed good and set him to work,
He ensured that his pockets were filled!

A further two years full of anger and stress
Saw our villa all fixed and complete.
The budget was three times what we had thought
While my business was feeling the heat.

We never had time to go down to our dream
And the airline had cancelled the route.
It took more than a day to get down there
And the cost was four times as much loot.

To cap it all, a forest fire came
And turned all our dreams into ash.
The insurers paid out but it wasn’t enough
And it took them a year to give cash.

We sold the land with tears in our eyes.
We’d lost all our hopes and our dough.
So when you see dreams like ours on TV,
Remember our story of woe.

Money emotions
Green and gold, crinkly and clinky,
Piles and stashes, come and go.
Loved and hated, saved and wasted,
Motivating but corrupting too.
Numbers, symbols, dollar signs,
LSD drug, cushioned prop.
Years of making, then of breaking,
Years of taking, then of shaking.
Money box, heavy, full.
Final box, no room for you.

Summer 2007
I dreamt that for every drop of rain
That fell upon my head today
I had a pound safe in the bank.
To add to my meagre pay.

For as I worked it out, it seems
That while I waited by the road
For a bus that never came,
A million pounds or more fell.

For every second five hundred drops
Soaked through my hair into my brain
So thirty thousand pounds a minute
Would drop into my pocket.

One million eight hundred thousand pounds
Would fill my bulging bank account.
I’d leave my job and change my life
For years of chilled out, sweet bliss.

The deal that broke
It was all done and dusted, or so we thought.
We were rich, heads well above water.
Then unity broke, sellers pulled back,
Saying “The money’s too little”.
So here we are again, grinding away
In the office, more years of servitude
Until we retire, but I would have liked
To put my feet up now!

My bank
Last year, I went to my bank.
My company needed funds to grow.
I printed out my business plans,
Sales, investments and cash flow.

The banker tore my plan apart.
He told me I was born to bust.
He said, “You’ve never made a cent.
What makes you think you’re worth our trust?”

I showed him what my clients say.
I explained my strong pipeline.
He argued it would never work,
That winning was not in my line.

I walked out saying that never again
Would I ask a bank for money.
I’d make what I needed all by myself
And never share the honey.

On country builders
Country builders
Build by bodging,
Expert bluffing
And tax dodging.

Growing up
Please grow up, my father says. He doesn’t know.
Please grow up, my mother pleads. She doesn’t know.
I thought about it long and hard, some time ago.
I weighted it up, the pros and cons. The answer’s no.
Cooking, washing, pampered life and taxis free,
The hotel room that’s always clean, no dust to see.
The listening ear, the cried-on shoulder, just for me,
The clothes and music, all my wants with no fee.
So when I hear “Please grow up, dear”, the answer’s clear.
Not today, nor next year. Never, never, no fear.

Minsky’s market mantra
Fools rush into markets when all the angels leave,
It’s a normal cycle, we know it all too well.
Yet it seems to catch us with our trousers firmly down
So here’s a little guide for you, explaining when to sell.

It’s Hyman Minsky’s theory that shows you how each stage
Of booms and busts develops, ending in a crash.
And once you’ve understood this, and learnt to heed the signs
You’ll never curse your broker, and always have some cash.

The start is called displacement – it’s when a big event
Makes people shift their thinking, convinces them they know
That there’s a big boom coming, that they can see just where
There’s serious money to be made, if they’re not too slow.

The banks then rub their hands and see how they can make
A few more hundred millions, straight to their bottom line
By giving credit far and near, to anyone who wants
And everybody takes it, when markets seem benign.

Then starts the overtrading – it’s when the fools arrive
The slightest scheme or silliest scam absorbs their funds with ease
It’s now that angels leave, and so my friend should you
To miss a nasty cold when the market starts to sneeze.

The next stage is euphoria – it’s when the doltish fools
Start laughing at the angels, and say they left too soon.
They bring in further fools, so the market spirals up
Powered by so much hot air, just like a big balloon.

Then starts a nasty trend as, closest to trough,
Insiders take their profit – they know a crash is near.
These pigs leave mud behind them, and if you haven’t left
You will take a filthy bath, as you bring up the rear.

Finally revulsion– why were we all such clots?
We should have known our Minsky – and got out long ago.
I blame you and you blame me – but all to no avail,
By next time we’ll all forget, and have another go.

Money, money, money
The root of all evil? Is that money?
To me the idea is quite funny.
The stuff is not good, nor so bad
That its use always makes the world sad.

And of course when you check what was said,
It’s love of the stuff you should dread,
But used well, with good sense and some care
The treatment it gives you is fair.

In fact most would say that it’s lack
Of the stuff that will set you right back.
It’s only when cash takes your heart
That you’ll find that your soul’s ripped apart.

These lines give you ways to explore
How your money affects you, and more.
If you work with the stuff in some way
Please read on and learn more – it may pay!

When Josie was born, surrounded by love
And good fortune around, she was blessed from above.
Her father was monied, a powerful man.
He worked in the City, a large bank he ran.
You’d have thought such a girl would always be rich,
But her dad didn’t know that she was a witch.
When it came to money, she could whisk it away.
From her earliest years, every hour, every day,
She’d want something new, it never came cheap,
The best she could buy, at prices so steep.

Then her dad lost his job, for his bank had gone bust
His career had been trashed and his dreams turned to dust.
He pleaded to Josie, he begged her to stop.
She screamed at him, “Never! You sad, useless pop!”
Before he could stop her, she’d used all their dough,
And then disappeared, to add to his woe.
Just a few days later, her father was dead.
A heart attacked killed him, the newspaper said.

So girls, please remember, you’ve one father each.
Don’t drain his resources, suck his blood like a leech.
For when you have children, you’ll need him so much
As a friend, as a helper, a bank or a crutch.

John’s a financial adviser
We don’t think we’ve known one much wiser.
We clients are such a tough bunch
That its him that takes us out to lunch,
But still we all willingly pay
His fees or commission, and say
It’s because he handles us well
And never seems avid to sell.
Instead, he stays closely in touch,
A counsellor, even a crutch.
He’s always holding our hand,
Drags our heads from deep in the sand,
To explain all the options we face,
With no jargon, at just the right pace.
So even when markets are poor
Our spirits don’t drop through the floor.
He’s trained us to draw a deep breath,
Not sell, but hang on like grim death.
At the end of each tunnel’s a light.
At first it’s a far, distant sight.
But all tunnels they come to an end.
Just as all downward curves upwards bend.
And we look at results over years.
Conclusions? No reason for tears.
For our piles have all steadily grown.
We now reap what we’ve carefully sown.

It seems like only yesterday
That 60 marked a distant measure
When work would gently fade away
Replaced by endless hours of leisure.

I’ve found that time accelerates
As it nears each decade’s end.
It’s when it gets close to the “eights”
I realise just how strong’s the trend.

I start to worry, for I’m not sure
If my cash reserve’s enough
Of if my pension fund’s secure,
Or whether markets will turn duff.

My spreadsheet tells me that I’m fine
In euros, dollars, pounds or yen.
But when I get to sixty nine
I fear I’ll have to think again.

Cash, dosh, spondulicks, mezuma,
It’s king when the markets are falling,
A clown when prices are rising
But rarely rejected completely.

When we’re young we get the message
From our parents – immense respect for the stuff.
When we get our first pocket money
We learn of the power it brings us.

Later in life we learn it confers
Responsibilities, not just rights.
We balance debit with credit
And work hard to stay solvent.

It’s at the end we learn the truth.
We can’t tsake it beyond the grave.
We leave it to our loved ones.
A temporary bonus tll their turn comes.

Double glazing
Our house looked sad, its windows wept.
Condensation valed its panes.
Time to double glaze – let’s get quotes.
Three small guys, two big firms,
The latter with prices that reached for the skies,
Then pressured us with false discounts.
Their salesmen quaked for fear we would not sign.
Lies, lies, lies – we’ve had a cancellation,
We’ve a special discount budget,
If you advertise for us you’ll get it cheap.
The small guys were stars,
Less than half the big guys best offer,
No pressure, and the one we chose
Deliver the quality fast, yet the big guys
Went on calling.
“So you bought cheap?” asked one.
“Yes” I replied and put down the phone.

The lawyer
I dreamt I was a lawyer,
My client in distress.
He needed urgent action.
His marriage was a mess.

My client had loads of money
And threw it all at me.
I sorted out his problems
And billed a massive fee.

This case has made me happy,
My bank account is fat.
I’ve slimmed it down a little
By buying a Hampstead flat.

But then I woke in sadness
And looked around my house
Then thought, “This life quite suits me.
A writer, not a louse!”

New car
I did very well in the market.
I had too much money by far.
So I started an interesting journey
To get myself a new car.

My kids said, “You must get a Beamer,
It shows that you earn quite a sum.
My wife said, “No, better an Audi.
It’ll show how mature you’ve become.

My dad said “You must get a Volvo.
It’s safe and it’s neutral in style.”
“How boring you are!” said my mother.
“An Alfa’s more you – by a mile.”

But in the end I ignored them
And settled for a special car.
A second-hand Roller, my baby,
Majestic, more splendid by far.

I put my hand out and
You are here,
There and everywhere,
Inside buildings and
In the open,
In dark forests and
In waving corn-fields
In high penthouses
And deep cellars,
In darkened rooms and
Sunlit courtyards.

Your skin is smooth,
Sliding from reassuring
To slimy,
And emitting a smell
That first is sweet
Then soon metastasizes
To stifling stench
Belying your protestations
Of childish innocence
Expressed in dulcet tones
With darker notes.

Your taste was sweet,
Now sharp and sour
Upon my tongue that
Tries to lick you off,
And when I reach out
To touch and hold you,
You are unseizable,
Slipping to the floor
From my fingers and arms
Where you bounce softly
And slip away.