Billy Bragg: Between the Wars

I was a miner
I was a docker
I was a railway man
Between the wars
I raised a family
In times of austerity
With sweat at the foundry
Between the wars

I paid the union and as times got harder
I looked to the government to help the working man
And they brought prosperity down at the armoury
“We’re arming for peace me boys”
Between the wars

I kept the faith and I kept voting
Not for the iron fist but for the helping hand
For theirs is a land with a wall around it
And mine is a faith in my fellow man
Theirs is a land of hope and glory
Mine is the green field and the factory floor
Theirs are the skies all dark with bombers
And mine is the peace we knew
Between the wars

Call up the craftsmen
Bring me the draughtsmen
Build me a path from cradle to grave
And I’ll give my consent
To any government
That does not deny a man a living wage

Go find the young men never to fight again
Bring up the banners from the days gone by
Sweet moderation
Heart of this nation
Desert us not, we are
Between the wars

 

Billy Bragg works and sings with grassroots and socialist political movements.

He says in an interview: “My theory is this; I’m not a political songwriter. I’m an honest songwriter. I try and write honestly about what I see around me now.”In another interview, he says: “I don’t mind being labelled a political songwriter. The thing that troubles me is being dismissed as a political songwriter.”

The singer is an outspoken opponent of fascism, racism, bigotry, sexism and homophobia, and is a supporter of a multi-racial Britain. As a result, Bragg has come under attack from far right groups such as the British National Party. He founds the organization Jail Guitar Doors, which supplies instruments to prisoners to encourage them to address problems in a non-confrontational way.

Billy Bragg is a regular at the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival, an annual event celebrating the memory of those transported to Australia for founding a trade union in the 1830s.

 

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