The Minister glosses
a point from the Chair.
He is on form, selling dummies;
splitting the opposition
with unexpected tangents.
He manages the language
without effort. His smile
is simply the place in his face
where the bone shows through.
By a programming fluke
the whole nation is watching.
The boom-mike dips
into the fidgety audience,
and, just this once
the woman in the third row
does not try to say everything;
does not panic, or glance
at the notes in her lap.
It just so happens
that small corners
of the vast fields of knowledge,
rhetoric and experience
overlap with such precision,
such economy,
in this one person, that it occurs to her,
off the top of her head,
to speak a sequence of sentences
which not only render
the Minister’s immediate remarks
laughable and shabby,
but expose the first principles
of his reason, proving
as a necessary truth
the structural conspiracy
of maintained advantage
which intends his policies.
In the moments before
the Chair restores normality
with “You should be in politics, Madam”,
there is a functioning democracy,
and the Viewers at Home
blink, and partially rise from their sofas.

Alan Dewar