2 JANUARY 1959, Page 34

Wilfred Owen's Photographs

When Parnell's Irish in the House Pressed that the British Navy's cat- O'-nine-tails be abolished, what Shut against them? It was Neither Irish nor English nor of that Decade, but of the species.

Predictably, Parliament Squared against the motion. As soon Let the old school tie be rent Off their necks, and give thanks, as see gone

No shame but a monument—

Trafalgar not better known.

`To discontinue it were as much As ship not powder and cannonballs But brandy and women' (Laughter). Hearing which A witty profound Irishman calls For a 'cat' into the House, and sits to watch The gentry fingering its stained tails.

Whereupon . . .

quietly, unopposed, The motion was passed. TED HUGHES '