10 NOVEMBER 1990, Page 60


Prejudice rules OK



In Competition No. 1650 you were in- vited to describe in amusing verse the qualities of a nation that you do not love.

In matters of commerce the fault of the Dutch Is offering too little and asking too much,

wrote our Foreign Minister, Canning, in 1826, to the Ambassador at The Hague, though he took care to write it in code. Like Canning's your prejudices rarely strayed far from home, which is probably where the most informed prejudice comes from. Nobody had a go at my unloved Turks. But there was a good anti- Trinidadian calypso, and Basil Ransome- Davies, Will Bellenger and D. A. Prince gave the Belgians, the Taiwanese and the Welsh, respectively, a sound drubbing. There were some fierce Anglophobe pieces, but they were, I suspect (typical of that hypocritical nation), by English hands. Yorkist P. I. Fell's target was perhaps just coVAS REGAL


out of bounds, but I enjoyed his feline scratch:

The Lancastrians' character, say what you may About west of the Pennines, has one saving trait: They endure, with commendable absence of fuss, The great disadvantage of not being us.

The prizewinners, printed below, get £15 each, and the bonus bottle of Chivas Regal 12-year-old de luxe blended whisky goes to D. Shepherd for his Frog job.

French knickers, French horns, French per- fume, French farce - These things are all typically French. The world knows no Frenchman will ever let pass The chance of a pass at a wench. Addicted to love and obsessed by l'amour, With even their words being sexed, One petite amie hardly closes the door Before it is time for the next.

Their language indeed is designed to confuse, Which is why it's what diplomats speak; Non sequiturs, which they so frequently use, Are dismissed by the words 'C'est logique.' Such people can never be worthy of trust Who use not their heads but their hearts, Enjoying the intricate intrigues of lust With Feydeau providing the parts.

(D. Shepherd) Adapting Goethe, do you know the land Where lemons bloom, and so do blood and sand?

Mother of anarchy, Loyola and machismo, Friend of the bull-ring, Franco and Fascismo? Know where I mean?

0 Motherland! What virile sons you bore, Each with the other ceaselessly at war Batista, Noriega, lovely guys,

Their faith too strong ever to compromise. You know the scene?

Sailing to where the South Atlantic tosses, Telling their heads and brandishing their crosses, The pioneers opened enchanting vistas — Sendero Luminoso, Sandinistas - Know what I mean? (Richard Blomfield) The citizens of Liechtenstein May be your kind of folk — not mine!

I'd always thought the stolid Swiss Had bottomed out the fell abyss Of humourless complacency: They've merely got a pass degree - The Liechtensteiners have a Master's.

These Mitteleuropean disasters Parade a prosy smugness which Appals. Besides, they're stinking rich: And though I won't contend the wealthy Are never ethically healthy, The way these burghers flaunt their lucre Would make a Rockefeller puke. A Dreary duchy, Liechtenstein, Its populace — sleek, unctuous swine.

(Martin Fagg) People of Argentine, try to be sweeter, Less foolish and credulous. Look at Evita Could an idol be any impurer?

She slept her way socially upwards, right on Till she captured your President, Juan Peron, A struggling, elderly Fiihrer.

Yet, after you Argies were rid of that curse, In frenzied excitement you opted for worse, A government even uncleaner, Who snatched at the Falklands, but didn't succeed.

If you suffer a bit for your folly and greed I shan't cry for you, Argentina. (Paul Griffin) Switzer! Switzer! lurking dim In office drear and bank vault grim, What strange passions wander free Behind your grey banality?

What fevered native quirk decrees The holes in your aberrant cheese? What wayward lust to chill and shock Finds issue in the cuckoo clock?

When Britain sank towards the floor, And still you dully griped for more, Did you gloat the pound to sell? Did manic yodels softly swell?

Switzer! Switzer! lurking dim In office drear and bank vault grim, What strange passions wander free Behind your grey banality? (Chris Tingley)