Illustrations by Hannah Robinson

(Kipling’s original ‘If’ can be found here)

If you can say you did your best when all about you

Are losing their jobs and rightly blaming you,

If you can lie to yourself and who all depend on you,

And announce lockdowns one, three and two;

If, and only if, you exhaust all time for waiting,

And deal in half-truths or at least deal in lies,

Or prorogue Parliament, to stymie debating,

As you speak Latin to make you look wise:


If you can sell false dreams- and make fantasy the people’s master;

If you can think- and use it for selfish aim;

If you can lead the country to unnecessary Disaster

And treat that outcome as if it was Triumph all the same;

If you can bear to hear those lies you’ve spoken,

Corrected by media whom you call fools,

Or take the country you profess to love and leave it broken

You and your gang of worn-out tools:


If £250,000 is “chicken feed” in the heap of all your winnings

And you risk these peanuts on a Brexit coin toss,

If you stick by your advisor, Mr Dominic Cummings,

As brave nurses watch yet another comrade’s breathless loss;

And this moves not within you, your heart, nor nerve and sinew,

As you blame others, even if they are gone,

And leave a people with little to no faith in you,

Yet stuck with no option but that of carrying on.


If you can deceive crowds, and present it as virtue,

And meet the Queen, and despise those with the common touch,

If you ask friends to hurt foes for you,

If only some people count for you, and one too much;

And if you can speak for a minute,

With sixty seconds of ‘ahs’ and ‘um’ in Westminster,

Yours is Great Britain and everything that’s in it,

And – what’s more – dear boy, you’ll finally be Prime Minister.