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Rishi the Third

Image: Grace Gay for Research Professional News

Ivory Tower: a new Shakespearean tragicomedy is discovered through literary scholarship

1.1 A hall in Westminster


Now is the winter of our discontent,

Made much worse by this MP from Yorkshire;

And all the schools in our catchment area

Like the university departments are closed.

Now are our Brexit woes still at the border;

Our interest rates going up further;

Our energy bills causing conniption;

Our weekly food basket filled with inflation.

Oven-ready deal hath unravelled at first touch

And now, instead of buccaneering on the high sea,

To undercut our European adversaries,

We limp from strike to strike

In a cost of living crisis.

But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,

Who was top of math camp

And drinks of Coke for fun;

With a house in the Americas and a card of green;

I, who made Eat Out to Help Out;

Chancellor of furlough and Lord of Instagram;

Promoted, unfinished, sent before my time

Into the Treasury when the Saj resigned,

And so lame and unfashionable

That I do think the new Star Wars good;

Why, I, in this time of recession,

Have no delight to pass away the time,

As the first chancellor,

To obtain a fixéd-penalty notice for eating cake.

And therefore, since I cannot prove a chancellor,

To level-up this broken country,

I am determined to become prime minister

And hate the idle pleasures of government.

Plots have I laid, leaks to the press,

Briefings against cabinet colleagues,

To set the public and King Boris

In deadly hate the one against the other.

And since this earth affords no longer joy to me,

As a giveaway chancellor,

During a time of pestilence and press conferences,

I’ll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,

And while I live, to account this world but hell,

Until I have a photo opportunity

On the steps next door of number 10.

But yet I know not how to get the crown,

For many townhouse meetings stand between me and home;

And I, like one lost in a party of chaos,

Do tell the members that the money tree

Of Lady Liz is rent with thorns.

But they do cheer Elizabeth

And calleth me a maker of gloom and ‘no-votes Rishi’,

So the crown remains further off.

Although I am the favourite of MPs,

The members want tax cut and do call for growth.

I know ’tis mad and will crash the pound,

But I can smile, and lie while I smile,

And cry “content” to that which grieves my heart,

And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,

And say I hate the woke and small boats,

Just as much as the agéd members do.

I’ll be more Brexit than Farage,

I’ll go to wars for culture sooner than Nadine,

Speak more falsely than Rees-Mogg,

And, like a Boris, repeat-visit Ukraine.

I can teach colours to the chameleon,

Change shapes like Starmer for advantages,

And set the devious Mandelson to school.

Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?

Tut, were it farther off, I’ll pluck it down.

But hush, here comes the Lady Liz.

Prey good Truss, how goes the day?

2.1  Another hall in Westminster


’Tis like total wack, my Lord.

Once more we must debate with members

For them to choose who will wear the crown.

But I so vibe the rounds that I do pity you

And cannot find words to say sorry not-sorry.

For when I sit upon the throne

With the Quasi Lord on my right,

You will be cancelléd and we will lol.

Liz will slay the day and be adultin’ in number 10

While you will be nought but a non-dom.

Laters, Rishi, tempus fugit;

I will away, to dream of mini-budget.



Were ever members in this humour wooed?

Were ever members in this humour won?

The Lady Liz speaks of tax and woke and growth,

Yet I too have designs just as good for freeports and extra maths.

I will tell the members what they want to hear

And thus I clothe my naked villainy

With old odd ends stolen from the TaxPayers’ Alliance;

And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.

But lo, here cometh the Lord Shapps and the Lady Keegan.

Hail fellows well met, what news from court?


Why my Lord Rishi, no news but of the election of Elizabeth

Who is fawned upon by the members

But hath not the love of us who sit in the chamber.


’Tis over Lord Rishi, Elizabeth hath the crown,

She is the second premier to sit this year,

You shall not be the third.


So unwise so young, they say, do never last long.


The Lady Liz hath offered me transport but no more.

What bounty wouldst thou bestow upon this head, were you king?


Thy talents speak to more. Why I would give you business,

And with it domain over all of space and what the scholars call research.


And what of me, my Lord? Wouldst thou find service for me?


The Lady Keegan I would set to school and give her education.


If such a day were to dawn, ’twould mean that we three

Would hold in our hands the fate of every university.


And so, with the crown, Lord Rishi’s dream of maths for all will see the day.


A course! A course! My kingdom for a course!

But your wit does you no credit, my Lady Keegan.

There be less chance that you two the universities sequester,

Than I meet my end in an NCP in Leicester.


My Lords! The Lady Liz hath resigned.

Long live King Rishi, the third prime minister this year.


And so am I business.


And I to school.


Extra maths for all! Hurrah!

[Exit pursued by a Boris]


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