Bridges Not Walls

My neighbours don’t drink at the local

Or have kippers for breakfast like me

The food that they eat smells disgusting

They’d rather drink coffee than tea

It’s true that their kids are respectful  

They gave me their seat on the bus

But it’s just that there’s so many of them

That I fear what will become of us

I’m not racist, all I want is 

To make things how they used to be

But change is strange and

nobody’s listening to me

I cheered when our side won the Cold War

Spread freedom and peace all around

Now there’s folks speaking Russian in Tesco’s

It’s a shame the Wall had to come down

I know some are fleeing from war zones

To keep their young children from harm

But my parents stayed put through the Blitz years

And me? I was sent to a farm

Yeah the sun shines but sometimes 

I don’t feel like this is my country 

But to say so? Oh no. 

I never get no sympathy 

Once we ruled over an empire

So it feels like some kind of defeat

To comply with rules drawn up by strangers

And measure in metres not feet

We don’t want to go but, by jingo,

If we can’t be in charge, then we must

But don’t be offended, dear neighbour

It’s not you: this is all about us

But it’s alright, alright

Think I’ve found a remedy

Yes it’s alright, gonna be alright

It’s a full English Brexit for me

Wouldn’t it be wonderful 

If we could save the world and all

Simply by collecting up 

Tin cans and empty bottles

We all want to believe it’s true 

But it don’t matter what you do

So long as we continue to 

Burn our way through fossils

Now it should come as no surprise

To learn about the ocean’s rise

The polar caps are melting

With every year the planet warms

Now people have to understand

We’re going to feel it far inland

It’s going to shift the seasons

And super-charge the storms

King Tide is a-coming

King Tide is a-coming

King Tide is a-coming

Bringing flooding on a sunny day

King Tide is a-coming

Can’t you hear the melt waters running?

The King Tide is a-coming

Going to sweep everything away

And you know 

The oceans they connect us all

No one can just build a wall

We have to work together

We can’t do this on our own

To think that you can stand aside

Is nothing more than foolish pride

‘Cause everyone’s a libertarian

Until the brown water floods their home

Now you may live on higher ground

Feeling like you’re safe and sound

Thinking as you look around

This is your lucky day

But everyone beneath the sky

Soon be looking for somewhere high and dry

And nothing you can ever do

Will keep them all at bay, because

The King Tide is a-coming

King Tide is a-coming

King Tide is a-coming

Bringing flooding on a sunny day

King Tide is a-coming

Can’t you hear the melt waters running?

The King Tide is a coming

Going to sweep everything away

The King Tide is a coming

And we have to act today

Be nice if we could have our cake and eat it

Though that’s impossible to do

But too many have invested in this outcome

They simply can’t afford for it not to come true

We’ve ceded too much power to the market

Let it decide what’s right or wrong

Now everyone seems willing to lend credence 

And truth is so devalued that it’s going for a song

Not everything that counts can be counted 

Who holds the markets to account?

Not everything that counts can be counted

Not everything that can be counted counts

People have had enough of experts

And their inconvenient facts

And here’s what the media really won’t tell ya:

Exactly who it is that’s taking control back

All opinions are equal

In the free market of ideas

And truth is nothing more than an opinion

That’s garnered the most likes, provoked the loudest cheers

Not everything that counts can be counted 

Who holds the markets to account?

Not everything that counts can be counted

Not everything that can be counted counts

There isn’t really any room for dreamers

If you have principles that’s nice

The market isn’t interested in values

Except for those it can define as price

All bow to the power of the market

Till it throws up a different face

If you’re not white or male or compliant 

The system is designed to keep you in your place 

Not everything that counts can be counted 

Who holds the markets to account?

Not everything that counts can be counted

Not everything that can be counted counts

Angry white men dressed like Elmer Fudd

Shouting something about soil and blood.

A woman of colour steps out from the crowd

And does something to make us all proud

Just like Victor Hugo told

‘To love is to act’ and her act was bold

Bold as love, she made her stand

And with a smile, she took power from the man

Oh don’t you know 

We come together when Saffiyah smiles

All round the world

People come together when Saffiyah smiles

Cosplay Nazis marching in file

Hitler’s haircut is back in style

Resistance on the streets of Birmingham

And with her smile she disarms the man

Oh don’t you know 

We come together when Saffiyah smiles

All round the world

People come together when Saffiyah smiles

This is what solidarity looks like

One by one the stars grow dim

And fall out of the sky

And we gather round our shiny screens

To say a last goodbye

In communion with a bunch of folks

That we don’t know or see

In the hope that we might feel something

In place of empathy

And so it goes….sure gonna miss them

Is it wrong to cling to the past

When life comes at you so fast?

And the sleep of reason produces monsters

Lies ride in style on a big red bus

While you walk into town

And surrogates keep their cap locks on

To shout each other down

And the levies that protected truth

Can no longer hold the flood

And expertise and experience

Get trampled in the mud

And so it goes….guess they had it coming

Now there’s nothing that you can do

To convince them that it’s true

And the sleep of reason produces monsters

It’s over now, you lost, my friend

Move on, just let it go

Says a man who flies a Confederate flag

On his profile just for show

And when he hears someone point out that thing’s

Are much too male and white

He eases off the safety catch

On his Second Amendment rights

And so it goes….and the kids are alt-right

Giving licence to all this hate

Is gonna make our country great

And the sleep of reason produces monsters

In this constant state of what the heck 

Just happened? you feel woke

But through it all you treat it like

It’s just some kind of joke

But in the end, the greatest threat

Faced by democracy

Isn’t fascism or fanaticism

But our own complacency

And so it goes….best pay attention

For there’s simply no guarantee

Of a happy ending to history

And the sleep of reason produces monsters

Why do we build the wall?

My children, my children

Why do we build the wall?

Why do we build the wall?

We build the wall to keep us free

That’s why we build the wall

We build the wall to keep us free

How does the wall keep us free?

My children, my children

How does the wall keep us free?

How does the wall keep us free?

The wall keeps out the enemy

And we build the wall to keep us free

That’s why we build the wall

We build the wall to keep us free

Who do we call the enemy?

My children, my children

Who do we call the enemy?

Who do we call the enemy?

The enemy is poverty

And the wall keeps out the enemy

And we build the wall to keep us free

That’s why we build the wall

We build the wall to keep us free

Because we have and they have not!

My children, my children

Because they want what we have got!

Because we have and they have not!

The enemy is poverty

And the wall keeps out the enemy

And we build the wall to keep us free

That’s why we build the wall

We build the wall to keep us free

What do we have that they should want?

My children, my children

What do we have that they should want?

What do we have that they should want?

We have a wall to work upon!

We have work and they have none

And our work is never done

My children, my children

And the war is never won

The enemy is poverty

And the wall keeps out the enemy

And we build the wall to keep us free

That’s why we build the wall

We build the wall to keep us free

We build the wall to keep us free

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© Billy Bragg 2019