The Night They Buried Labour

They dug up John Smith and Clement Attlee
Bevan, Barbara Castle and John Wheatley  –
They put their  heads on pikes to mock
On the night they buried Labour

They buried the Levellers and Chartists
The Diggers and Tolpuddle Martyrs
They burned the radical history books
On the night they buried Labour

They buried the General Strikers
The steel workers,  dockers  and miners
They gagged the trades unions workers’ voice
On the night they buried Labour

They buried the Rochdale Pioneers and shops they made
The dividend, honest measures and fair trade –
They looted and burnt down the co-op stores
On the night they buried Labour

The nationalists laid the body in its grave
And grinning Tories sold them the spade –
They robbed the corpse and stole its clothes
On the night they buried Labour

They buried our past comrades good and true
And with them the bond between me and you –
They strangled solidarity with a saltire
On the night they buried Labour

They trampled on the red flag and set it alight
But we’ll not stay down without a fight –
Because unity is always strength
Even though they’ve buried Labour

They can’t bury the NHS and Welfare state
Council houses, Minimum Wage and equal work for equal rates
As long as we achieve more together than alone
They’ll not yet have buried Labour.

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3 thoughts on “The Night They Buried Labour

  1. “They dug up John Smith…………”
    I am well aware that poets are allowed something called ‘licence’, but to begin a piece of poetry with such a provocative untruth demands a response. Why?
    Because first of all he’s not been dig up and. Two, the resting place of John Smith’s choice, amongst the Kings of Scotland, on Scotland’s sacred island Iona offended many of his fellow Scots. Nothing was said when a unionist politician of little significance chose such a place to be laid to rest. Take my word, it was deeply offensive to the nationalist community. But we have accepted this last wish of a fellow Scot and moved on. The author of this piece should do the same.

    Reply

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