picket line
The Picket Line by Max Ginsburg



Voltaire never said it,
But that matters not a mite –
He meant it, to his credit,
And he calls on us to fight.

The words may change, but we all know them,
Paraphrased through many pleas –
When times are tough, it’s time to show them,
Speshly to our enemies:

“I cannot stand the crap you spew,
I find you ignorant and vile –
But I will pitch my life for you,
To keep you free to spread your bile.”

We do not have to like it,
But by deuce! we must allow it !
Let us strike at those who’d strike it,
Vow to never disavow it.

(Except perhaps when it’s horrific
Vi’lence that’s incited there –
But then those times must be specific,
And they must be bloody rare !)

So however hard they’re hitting,
We must build our hearts of granite –
Though we’re still, of course, permitting
Ev’ry speech that calls to ban it.

Rights aren’t only for the nice,
Or those with better words and clout –
So come on now and tell us twice,
And we shall smile and tune you out.

So say it with me, all of you,
And say it always, come what may –
So Voltaire never said it, true,
But we shall say it, ev’ry day !



Not saying I think strikers are ‘ignorant and vile’ – I just like the painting’s mood of conflict and speech.




God Save the Queen by Jamie Reid (though not the actual version used on the single cover)



Yours are the breaks
And ev’ry advantage,
The lowest of stakes
For the richest rewards.
Handed the world,
As you took it for granted:
Benighted and Earled
As miladies and lords.

It’s sad but it’s true
That we’ve little democracy,
You’re all that we’ve got
To break your own power.
We’re looking to you,
The old aristocracy:
Excise the rot,
And descend from your tower.

For better or worse, you are,
Blessing and curse, you are,
Dated, perverse,
When ennobled and crowned.
But leave it behind, will you
Open your mind, will you,
Maybe combined,
We can reach common ground.

Surely it’s common sense ?
History teaches us
Not be the leaches,
Or sponges or midges.
Give up your influence !
Give up your privilege !
Let’s not mend fences;
Instead, let’s build bridges.

Don’t be a traitor
Betraying your nation,
For we are your nation:
Each pilot and waiter.
So be a creator
Who levels the score,
To make Britain greater
Than ever before.

For better or worse, come on,
Balance your purse, come on,
Then reimburse
For each corgi and glove.
Pay back your debt, my friends,
Pay back in sweat, my friends;
This is no threat,
But a chance to show love.

Break with your ranks,
And roll up your sleeves,
Where ev’ryone cranks,
And ev’ryone heaves,
Where ev’ryone plays,
And ev’ryone learns,
As ev’ryone pays,
And ev’ryone earns.

Come quarrying stones,
Or burying bones,
Or manning the phone-lines,
Or polishing brass.
Come digging the spuds,
Or squeeging the suds,
Regardless of bloodlines,
Regardless of class.

For better and worse, we are,
Plumber and nurse, we are,
Truly diverse,
And yet wholly alike.
Won’t you engage with us,
Sharing your stage with us ?
Open our cage,
And then turn up the mic.

For richer or poorer,
In grandeur and squalor,
In blue and white collar,
Let’s see the day won.
Whatever the weather,
In ev’ry endeavour:
Let’s shoulder together
To get the job done.



Royal Peculiar

georgie porgy
A Voluptuary under the Horrors of Digestion by James Gillray


Royal Peculiar

Open our swimming pools, open our shopping malls,
Hold no opinion and smile at the crowd.
That’s what you’re paid for, so you can’t complain;
Walking and waving, that’s all you’re allowed.
We care what you think, just never express it;
Never forget that your shame ain’t our prob.
The good and the bad and the downright carbuncle,
Open them gladly or get a new job.



To the Future British Republic

Republic by Alan Coleman

To the Future British Republic

A republic will not magic’ly make ev’rything benign,
Or even-out the wealth,
Or make your children genii, or cause the sun to shine,
All by itself.
It cannot bring you justice, set you free, or stop a war,
Just because it lacks an heir –
It cannot make its citizens all love their nation more
Just by being there.
But what it can achieve is just to give a little heart
For you all, not just the few,
And lift your heads a little as it gives an even start –
The rest is up to you.

The Singalong Song



The Singalong Song

We are not the greatest people,
That this world has ever seen –
Others will be worse and better,
We fall somewhere inbetween.
We could lie and claim a greatness
No-one would believe,
Or swear undying loyalty –
But none of us is that naive.

We ain’t gonna lie:
We do okay, we sometimes try,
We kinda manage to get by,
And do our thing.
Let’s cut the hype and tell the truth,
That we exist – we have the proof !
So doctors, welders, grans and youths –
Altogether, sing:

We are us,
And we are we,
And we ain’t you,
Cos you are you –
So you be you,
And we’ll be us,
And neither side will make a fuss,
And if you ever ask us why we sing,
We’ll say it’s just the way we swing.

We are not the oldest people,
Other folks have come and gone
Many nations came before us,
Others joined us later on,
We could lie and claim a legend
No-one would believe,
Or swear eternal destiny,
But none of us is that naive.

We ain’t gonna cheat:
No time to boast, no time to bleat,
We’ll keep our heads and keep our feet,
And take our chance.
Let’s cut the crap and ditch the doubt:
We’re here today, and that ain’t nowt !
So teachers, parents, guides and scouts –
Altogether, dance:

We are here,
And we are there,
And so are you,
And others too,
And ev’ryone
Is ev’rywhere,
And nobody will even care,
And if you ever ask us why we cheer,
We’ll say it’s just because we’re here.



Value Added Tax

Hector the Tax Inspector by Snowden Fine Animation


Value-Added Tax

Every pound that I pay
Has purchased a share in my nation.
I’m part of the budget, I’m part of the say
Of the flashiest, costliest product around:
A civilised civilisation.

Income and Council and Capital Gains,
Sell me a future with teachers and trains !
Bring me some hospitals, bring me some parks !
Streetlights and windfarms and paintings and quarks !
Make my tomorrows that little bit better,
And p’raps I’ll remember when I get your letter,
And grumble a little bit less as your debtor,
Amidst all my curses to Keynes, Smith and Marx.

But every hour I slog,
Has paid for another back-hander or bullet –
I’m part of the problem, a complicit cog,
An atom of grease on a lever of power,
That’s slightly my fault when they pull it.

Yet still we must pay up, for bad and for good,
To give unto Caesar, and not Robin Hood !
From windows to sugar, from breathing to beauty,
While exiles and pirates find loopholes for booty.
Yet still I believe that the wars and the royals
Shall wither away in the face of our toils,
So earn hard, oh Britain !, and fair-share the spoils –
For these are our Customs, and this is our Duty.







Georgie Porgy, little piggie
Got his fingers in the pie
But won’t pull out a plum to help
The hungry hordes get by.

You know full well that ninety-five
Is only for your grossest grosses
Else you’d blow the lot on wives
And truffles, booze, and overdoses.

For all your gurus, chants and lamas,
Still you stash in the Bahamas,
Cheating hospitals their due.
It’s time to hang a sign on you.

You love to drive your DB5
On roads you hate to pay for,
Or sit and sulk in Friar Park
And wonder why you stay for –

Yet stay you do, while John and Ringo
Languish in their funky Swiss bliss.
(I wonder what they have to hide,
To cause their monkey business ?)

Georgie Porgy, whinging still,
While boasting ‘look how big’s my bill’.
They’ll never tax your feet, though –
You’ll be fine.

Georgie, Georgie, we were talking
’Bout the folk who gain the world
But lose their soul to I Me Mine.