A somewhat clumsy attempt to entwine Budget Day, International Women’s Day and Lass War in last minute Radio 5 Live commission to write an alternative budget poem.
Today, three Northern girls fates
rest on the contents
of Philip Hammond’s red box.
His budget unlocks
or closes off an alternative future.
Rewrites the story that could be written
for a post-Brexit Britain.
Imagine Sarah-who will invent
the world’s cleanest ever bio-power
but only if she gets out of that Gateshead tower
block, and can stop being her Mum’s carer,
if she gets treated for chronic stress,
on a cash-boosted NHS.
who would solve the Riemann Hypothesis,
if she wasn’t a late bloomer,
who’ll fail a reinstated 11 plus
and become the fastest ever stock taker
at Stockport’s Toys R Us.
Think of Georgia
who would teach the founder of the most popular band since the Beatles
to play guitar,
if only music degrees weren’t too expensive
and far away.
And if her parents shop in Kendal
didn’t go bust after the hike
in small business rates.
These three aren’t sole steerers
of their fates.
They’re bulbs not flowers,
they’re pure potential,
some social investment,
their growth would be exponential.
They wouldn’t even become anything
that would annoy people,
like a female Dr Who.
No pressure Philip Hammond,
these unsung future heroines hopes
for a world we can’t yet imagine,
rest on you.