Between The Wars EP

Turned Upside Down/Which Side Are You On/It Says Here (solo)

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 draftsmen
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

This government had an idea
And parliament made it law
It seems like it’s illegal
To fight for the union any more

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

We went out to join the picket line
For together we cannot fail
We got stopped by police at the county line
They said, “Go home boys or you’re going to jail”

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

It’s hard to explain to a crying child
Why her Daddy can’t go back
So the family suffer
But it hurts me more
To hear a scab say Sod you Jack

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

I’m bound to follow my conscience
And do whatever I can
But it’ll take much more than the union law
To knock the fight out of a working man

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

WORDS & MUSIC – Florence Reece
Adapted 1984 by Billy Bragg
© 1946 Stormking Music Inc assigned to Harmony Music Ltd. Reproduced by kind permission of Harmony Music Ltd

In 1649
To St George’s Hill
A ragged band they called the Diggers
Come to show the people’s will
They defied the landlords
They defied the law
They were the dispossessed
Reclaiming what was theirs

‘We come in peace’ they said
‘To dig and sow
We come to work the land in common
And to make the waste land grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it can be
A common treasury for all

The sin of property
We do disdain
No one has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Rise up at their command

They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feeds the rich
While poor men starve

We work, we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to masters
Or pay rent to the lords
We are free men
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now

From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers’ claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed
But still the vision lingers on

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
Al people one
We come in peace –
The order came to cut them down

It says here that the Unions will never learn
It says here that the economy is on the upturn
And it says here we should be proud
That we are free
And our free press reflects our democracy

Those braying voices on the right of the House
Are echoed down the Street of Shame
Where politics mix with bingo and tits
In a strictly money and numbers game

Where they offer you a feature
On stockings and suspenders
Next to a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders

It says here that this year’s prince is born
It says here do you ever wish
That you were better informed
And it says here that we can only stop the rot
With a large dose of Law and Order
And a touch of the short sharp shock

If this does not reflect your view you should understand
That those who own the papers also own this land
And they’d rather you believe
In Coronation Street capers
In the war of circulation, it sells newspapers
Could it be an infringement
Of the freedom of the press
To print pictures of women in states of undress

When you wake up to the fact
That your paper is Tory
Just remember, there are two sides to every story

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© Billy Bragg 2019