Born in the 1950s I grew up in hope
in a 1960s that promised much,
a break with stodgy McMillan and Home
into a white heat of technology
Socialism and Science leading us forwards
into the bright sunlit uplands.
There was no hope for those who yearned,
for whatever bizarre reason
for Victorian Values, for hate over love
for the resurgence of VD
to punish indulgence, by which,
they meant enjoyment
formerly reserved for the few.
A yearning for war that made us great,
for an austerity that tested will.
No hope of a return to that world
where welfare was stigma
where looking after the poor
was the act of lady bountiful
on a church parade of doom.
But it was a flash.
A flicker of time when we could laugh
when we could know that
old orders were changing
love and welfare would enrich us
would let us grow and know
our real place in the world.
A meritocracy where those
Privileged through ability
would look after the rest,
appreciate everyone’s contribution
we really would all be in it together.
Gone in a flash too,
sparked by those with power,
who knew already the war of the flea
better than the guerilla,
retreat, regroup and wait
until the party rolled and then
Where are we now boys?
Mines gone, Factories gone.
Peace gone. Europe gone.
The City, ah the City.
Still reigns supreme but not for Britain
Not for Britain, boys
Not for Britain, Maggie
Not for Britain.
The City as ever reigns for the City
but as the deregulated behometh grows
we will lose even that.
No longer a back door to Europe
dealers and brokers and financiers
and the Gods of modern globalism
the entrepreneurs will depart
leaving a hollow little shell
of third world, low rent service jobs.
Would you like fries with that?
and my sister is very clean and cheap
I can get you boys if you like that mister.
What a great nation we are
saved from equality and socialism
and joy and wealth by politicians
pulling levers no longer attached
to anything but panic buttons
and a rapacious global capital.
I’m glad I didn’t have too much hope.