Once Upon a Unicorn



We will negotiate a rainbow backstop,

Our own trade deals, a customs unicorn,

We will above all else protect the Union,

Keep the unicorn in hoc to the lion

For Thou Shalt Not Have a Second Referendum

Is carved in Scone: applies both sides

Of the rainbow border; no worries about

A hard or soft border on the island of Ireland,

Nor hard- or -soft-boiled rainbows, those

Are rumours of unicorns -but not the kind


Of unicorns that we intend to chase and catch

In the coming weeks and months,

Which is another unicorn entirely,

The unicorn of Conservative conception,

The unicorn of conspicuous consumption

Amidst mass shop depletion, empty shelves,

The unicorn of phantom speculation,

The unicorn of coupon rationing,

The Eurosceptic unicorn, the unicorn

Of obscure opportunity cropped to purpose

Of microscopic prosperity for the top

1% per cent -Let us be clear: opportunity

To trip back in time down the primrose path

To halcyon Shropshire Lad days of hazy

Summers and cricket whites and rainbows

Beaming in glorious Technicolour

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

Because he was doomed to lose to Tudor,

So much for caparison my horse, it bolted

At the pitched brutal moment -so much for

Bosworth; O with Henry the Eighth

Powers she’ll make England grate again,

Gaunt Greensleeves -now it’s caparison my

Unicorn come cantering into Camelot,

No place for the Woke or Snowflakes,

Only snow lions, white witches, ice queens,

This sceptred isle, this demi-monde, no props

Apropos we’ll trip back to a mythical past,

A fantasy island, a theme park for solipsists,

Misanthropes and xenophobes, pomp

And diminished circumstances, lucky dips,

Riddling idylls, Morris Dancers waving

White handkerchiefs and little strips

Of paper -cryptic receipts, or scrolled

Price tags strung on inscrutable antiques;

A tinpot utopia, raffle-ticket Uchronia


Where, according to folklore, once were unicorns,


Only, contrary to accounts, none had actual horns…



Alan Morrison
Illustration Rupert Loydell


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