So, outgoing Poet Laureate Andrew Motion says that the job of writing verse for the Royal Family is “thankless” and gave him a case of writer’s block. I’m not surprised. Where is the inspiration of an outmoded monarchic system that only serves nowadays as a tourist attraction? What he should have done is never accept the ‘job’ in the first place. Ted Hughes made a pig’s ear of it – his Royal verses are worthless, as Motion admits his are too. And the poetic impulse has left him, much as it left Philip Larkin, although he (Larkin) admitted it was more as if his gift were taken away.

The publicity would have sold him a lot of books, but at what cost?