The good looking, charming man Margaret
always had a soft spot for, pinstripe smoothie
Cecil, with his boyish smile, brylcremed hair,
and a side-parting you could set your watch to.
A Carnforth railman’s lad, hauled himself up
by his eh-bah-gum braces, grammar school,
Cambridge, millionaire, Tory MP.
Then Chairman of the Party v Arthur Scargill
on Question Time. King Arthur, the Cossack-quiffed
syndicalist from nah-then-lad Worsborough Dale,
President of the NUM via White Cross
Secondary Modern, Woolley Pit and the diehard
red-raggers of Yorkshire, the real Yorkshire,
where we lived, with pit tips, comprehensive schools
and sideburned Tetley bittermen,
not the sheep-spotted, cowpat Dales, beloved
of Southerners and the Yorkshire Post,
home of Tory farmers and fleece-topped
middle-class hikers; the real Yorkshire,
red or dead in tooth and claw,
in Docs and denims and donkey jackets,
the Yorkshire that flew into lines of coppers,
the Yorkshire that took down a Government;
there before us on TV, taking them down once more.
There are five points I’d like to make in response
to that frankly, preposterous assertion …

—and in our flat South Riding vowels
he reeled them off, one after the other,
fluent as the Dearne, consonants blunt
as cobbles, arguments sharp as a diamond-bit,
each word a slap in the face, a punch
to the stomach, flustering Parkinson’s
brilliantined cool, stammering
his learned RP. One of us. Inspired,
we were off, into CND, Anti-Nazi League
and the Socialist Workers Party,
NME reading fifth-formers, fighting fascists
in Leeds, selling papers on the market corner
debating Toryboy Hague on Radio Aire,
taking to the streets in Blackpool,
Liverpool, London and Hull, for jobs,
against racism and nuclear missiles,
building barricades, daubing graffitos,
getting clubbed by the SPG: then ’84,
the Alamo, labour’s last stand: the call went out
and his people answered: Arthur Scargill,
we’ll support you evermore.