Works in the Herald 1931
(Australian Variety)
Once upon a time, in days remote,
A politician bought a vote.
   The price he paid is not quite clear,
   But probably a pot of beer
Secured his end.  But he got in;
So folk excused this venial sin.

Now if the thing had stayed right there, We might have dodged a load of care. But pots of beer soon failed to serve The candidate of dash and nerve; And, with cold cynicism, came The urge to organise the Game.
Soon the political machine Beheld the profit it might glean Thro' gifts spread thro' electorates To help the "Outs" the "Ins" frustrate; While shrewd "Ins", not to be outdone, Increased the offers two to one.
Later, the craftiest M.P.'s Perceived that loans from overseas Might help them hand out cakes and ale Upon a most colossal scale; And Parties with each other vied To spread their largesse far and wide.
Railways were built from here to there That served no purpose anywhere, And public works that did not pay Like mushrooms, sprouted in a day, With promises were issues fought, And whole electorates were bought.
Millions and yet more millions flowed To go the same old easy road. . . . Till, with a dearth of easy cash The game was up; and came the crash. 'Tis pitiful; but there you are. With pots of beer in some back bar This evil had its genesis And it has brought the land to - this.

Herald, 13 February 1931, p8

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002